Holy Week: An Artistic Journey
March 22, 2016
It is the day after Palm Sunday. The dust has settled and Jesus is squarely in both a comforting and discomforting situation. Comforting because he grew up celebrating the High Holy Days in the “City of David.” Discomforting because Jesus knew something was very different; this was not the city of his younger years. He had seen the Roman grip on so many in his travels and now Jerusalem was riddled with the challenges of being just another platform for Rome . . . or something else. Jesus starts his week prayerfully considering what it means to discomfort the comfortable, and comfort the discomforted.
Jesus overturns the tax collectors’ tables. Have they not seen? Have they not heard? There are people suffering because of the extreme poverty. They are hungering for more. They need to keep what they have in order to survive.
Judas has done it. He had to. Judas had to protect what he and Jesus and all of the disciples had built. The good will. The peace. The Love. Jesus is throwing it all away. Maybe if Judas gives the authorities money, they’ll let Jesus cause some trouble and he’ll get away with a misdemeanor. Judas sets up the entire rouse. Thirty pieces of silver, kiss on the cheek in the cover of darkness. What started as protection is now an all-out betrayal. Judas is decimated. He loses himself in guilt and shame. He doesn’t have the clarity to even face the resurrection. Silver returned. The kiss, the kiss? It is the kiss of death.
Jesus in the round. He can see everyone’s face; and, he’s facing the door. In/out. Hungry/fed. On this night, Jesus washes the feet of those he loves. (Preparing them for his death or their own?) Then, he feeds their bodies. While feeding them, he feeds their souls.
Can Jesus still smell the costly nard? Is it in the air? Is it the last thing he smells? We know his last words, but we don’t know that. Those who removed him from the cross, can they smell the perfume? The perfume from Mary? The perfume meant for his burial? Can you smell it? It reminds us of his living. The perfume reminds us of the sweet aroma of God. It reminds us of the possibility of celebrations to come.
Silence. Absolute and utter silence. It was the Sabbath after all. Silence was about entering into mindfulness. Mindful of God’s mercy and grace for generations, Jesus would have wanted the focus to be on the generations. The Shema. The Law, the Prophets, and Tradition. Beyond mindfulness there were certain behaviors that the faithful could not perform. They couldn’t touch the dead. They couldn’t do any work. Only Praying, waiting. Praying. Waiting.
It is finished. Really finished. Death has been defied. Life has been made abundant. All that Jesus had said he was and what was to become of his essence was true…is true. Easter morning is about the life we have in and through Christ. All that is, was and is to come is evidenced from the empty tomb. The void, the question, the mystery. As we stare into it, Life stares back. Easter is not finished; it’s only just begun. The Christ event is happening within all of us. If we stop awhile, the void has fullness. The question has an answer. And, the mystery gains clarity. Happy Easter!
To learn more about the art featured in this post, click on the daily titles of each post.