Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jesus | Laid In The Tomb

Jesus | Dies

Jesus | Speaks To John And Mary

Jesus | Promises Paradise

Jesus | Crucified

Jesus | The Women Of Jerusalem

Jesus | Simon Of Cyrene

Jesus | Made To Carry His Cross

Jesus | Scourged | Crowned With Thorns

Jesus | Condemned To Death By Pilate

Jesus | Denied By Peter

Jesus | Condemned By The Sanhedrin

Jesus | Betrayal | Arrest

Jesus | Agony In The Garden

Jesus | Stations Of The Cross

I wanted to piece together a series of images representing the Stations of the Cross. The fourteen stations, traditionally depicting scenes from the last week of Jesus’ life through sculpture or painting, form a spiritual pilgrimage in preparation for Easter. Some variation exists as to the scenes, and I’ve chosen a list created by Pope John Paul II, which limits itself to scenes recounted in the New Testament Gospels and eschews stations inspired by extra-biblical church tradition. I’ve also chosen to let the images stand alone, but to offer a short commentary in the form of a comment to each post.

, ,

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Cross Of God

The shadow of the cross encroaches upon Lent, as the shadow of the earth encroaches upon the surface of the moon.

Because Jesus’ anguish is, at least in part, corporeal; because we can depict his Passion, and gaze upon our depiction; because we are young enough to believe we can imagine what it felt like; we have constructed a Christocentric cross.

But for Trinitarians, a Christocentric cross alone is an inadequate representation. Indeed, such a representation may contribute heavily to erroneous theology, such as Jesus as victim of a malevolent, vengeful, abusive patriarch; or Jesus as a masochistic uber-male ideal.

At the cross, not just Jesus’ physical body, but the Trinity is shattered; its persons dispersed:
The Father, in his heavenly palace; his radiance shrouded in grief; his face turned away from the prolonged death of his Son, as King David did before him…
The Spirit, brooding over the chaos of a satan-smashed earth, as at ‘the beginning’; watching, waiting (for the moment when she will breathe into Jesus’ nostrils, re-animating this adam who has returned to the dust from which he was made)…
The Son, laid low in Sheol, the shadowy grave…

…The central unity of the universe, scattered to three corners, to the margins.

But the Trinity is not a community that has been touched by loss, and carries on diminished, in a lessened form, growing weary unto death by implosion or explosion. Through the communitas forged in response to the cross, the eternal community of the Trinity is re-imagined, re-configured, renewed:
The Son now keeps his (transformed) bodily form, to intercede for those who share it; whereas he has pointed to the Father, now the Father exalts the Son; the Spirit will now be poured out on all flesh, young and old, male and female…

And it is precisely because the Trinity has been shattered and marginalised by hatred and re-membered anew by love that we, who have been shattered and marginalised, can be re-membered anew by that same love; and, in being re-membered, have hope to hold out to those around us.

, , ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Celestial Bodies

The moon, as I don’t recall seeing it before. Whereas usually light from the sun illuminates the surface of the moon from one side across its face to the other, at the moment sun, earth and moon are lined up in such a way that the moon is being struck ‘from below’ by sunlight bouncing off the earth.

The bright dot beneath the moon is Venus. It looks like nothing in the photo, but it was stunning to the naked eye this evening…

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Hen | Mothers Day [UK, Yesterday]

Mothers are a nuisance. Mothers can be really embarrassing.

Mothers have stood up to political authorities, making a nuisance and embarrassing them into doing what is right. Or, if not, embarrassing the wider world into saying, “What you are doing is wrong, and we are watching you.” Or, if even this does not happen, staying anyway…

Mothers have stood up to boy soldiers, embarrassing them, causing them to think twice before carrying out illegal and unethical orders. Or, if not, being beaten, even beaten to death; cut to pieces; (rarely shot – who would waste a bullet on a mother?). But staying anyway…

It will be mothers who take the lead in making a nuisance of themselves and embarrassing the community – if that is what it takes – into addressing the issues behind the recent spate of teenage gang murders in London…while resigned teenagers tell reporters that this is just how things are now, and we just have to live with it; and politicians call for legislation that will reactively address the symptoms, not proactively address root causes.

In his book Exiles [pp. 118-120], Michael Frost writes about the Four Mothers Movement in Israel; Nobel Peace Prize winners Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan from Northern Ireland; and the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina – as just some examples of the lead that women have taken in forming communitas, or purpose-intentional community. And while each example embraces women who aren’t mothers, and men, when it comes to social justice, mothers often stand up to be counted first, and stay after everyone else has gone home. Not superwomen. Certainly not porcelain saints. Just tenacious, flawed mothers.

Mothers are undervalued by male-dominated society: in the ‘Developed Nations,’ not least because they generate no immediately obvious economic benefit (of course, neither does the teaching profession – both invest in the future – but that’s a double-standard that needs confronting). Ironically, mothers are equally undervalued by the feminist movement, which insists that the primary context in which women should find fulfilment is through their career, through economic independence, rather than (for men and women) through the quality of their relationships. Mothers have little military-economic power. But, at their best – and we can all tell stories of when mothers fail, at least in our opinion – mothers exert a moral authority that no politician or general or corporate CEO can match, or, with a few notable exceptions, come close to.

Mothers are a nuisance. Mothers can be really embarrassing.
Thank God it is so.

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day – for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Jesus, Luke 13:31-35

Friday, March 09, 2007


The pond at the Botanical Gardens is full of frogs at the moment...