The Four Evangelists
The Book of Revelation (4:7), with its highly symbolic language, describes four winged creatures around the throne of God. The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third has a face like that of a human being, and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight.
As early as the second century these figures were used to symbolize each of the evangelists, based on how each began his Gospel.
Lion -- Mark because he begins with John the Baptist crying out in the desert, the abode of wild beasts.
Calf -- Luke because he begins with the Jewish priest Zechariah in the Temple where such animals were sacrificed.
Human-Faced Figure -- Matthew because he begins with the genealogy of Jesus.
Eagle -- John because of the soaring flight of the first words of his Gospel: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God
They said to him, The thing that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel. Luke 24:19-21
Its interesting to listen in on two disciples talking about Jesus to Jesus.
They talk of him in the past tense. Theyre disappointed. They miss Jesus.
Of course, they dont know about the resurrection and the sending of the Spirit. They know only about Jesus death, which is why theyre so gloomy.
Somber Christianity is a contradiction, which is why the Church spends 50 days celebrating the joy of Easter.
We dont preach the death of Jesus. We preach the death resurrection ascension. Those who preach gloom and doom have missed the point. Theyre like these two disciples on the road to Emmaus before the learned about the resurrection and its implications for us and for all creation.
There are times of sadness in life and suffering too. And death. But not pessimism.
Sometimes I need to check the gloom and doom factor in my life.