|Pen and Ink Reflections||
How do you regard dragonflies? In the poem we heard earlier (As Kingfishers Catch Fire), the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins not only encourages us to be like them, but, in so doing, to be like Christ. Not everyone has always agreed however. In early colonial Australia for example, white fellas tried to kill dragonflies, just as they/we tried to kill so many other life-giving things that they/we did not understand. Those early colonialists saw dragonflies flying around and landing on their valuable horses, and they saw the horses moving and flicking their tails. So they thought the dragonflies were biting and making them crook. The colonialists were making things worse. The dragonflies were actually eating the mosquitoes and the gnats that were troubling the horses. They were life-givers, saviours even, not devils in disguise. In so many positive ways, dragonflies are thus evocative symbols for transgender people today. For, on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we do well to attend to how bearers of light have been treated as embodiments of darkness. We do well, as our Gospel today (Luke 23.32-43) reminds us, to remember how Jesus was not crucified alone, and how others are also crucified today. And above all, we do well to affirm that it is only in recognising the light, in strange places, that we find salvation and hope for us all…
Exploring ways into the tearing of hearts and suffering of our lives and world...
by Penny Jones, for Good Friday 2015
They crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
When we think of Jesus hanging there on the cross, I think the picture that most often comes to mind is the classic icon of the crucifixion, with the body of Jesus flanked by Mary and John – his mother and his most faithful disciple. It is the picture of course from the Gospel of John, which tells how Jesus gives His mother and His friend into one another’s care. Iconographers chose that image because it allowed them to place three holy figures, Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John in the one composition. As viewers we are drawn into this holy triad of figures, mutually supporting one another around the cross that brings salvation to the world. It is, like John’s gospel as a whole, an expression of the glorification of Christ on the cross. While it challenges our faithfulness, our ability like Mary and John to dwell with and in Christ in His moment of greatest need and greatest triumph, it does not fundamentally unsettle a view of the world in which good triumphs and evil is punished.
It is a picture very different from that which we just heard in the gospel of Luke. Throughout his gospel Luke tells of a God who, like the father in the story of the prodigal son, does not wait for reparation, does not demand punishment, but overwhelms his wayward child with love and forgiveness, no matter what. So here, as Jesus is nailed to the cross, he prays, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” They do not know what they are doing’...
for Good Friday 2014, by Jonathan Inkpin
Throughout the Christian centuries, artists have created many moving images of the Crucifixion. One of the most powerful recent examples is found in the work of the Scottish artist David Mach. I first came across this two years ago in the wonderful Galway Arts Festival in Ireland. It was part of an exhibition entitled Precious Light, which was created as part of the celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. This exhibition included a whole series of large and hugely dramatic collages based on many of the great stories of the Bible, each transposed to one of the great cities of our world. The centrepiece however was ‘Golgotha’: a massively arresting larger-than-life sculpture of the Crucifixion, made from steel girders and re-shaped coat hangers. By its sheer size, its searing suffering and sharp sensation, it challenges us and calls forth response: what do we make of Crucifixion? It is the challenge and call of Good Friday...