Thirteenth Station: Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross

March 25, 2016 § 1 Comment

The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother

Artist: Doug Blanchard

Today is the Third Sunday in Lent, and I am preparing my spirit, heart, and mind to write my Lenten reflection. I am sitting in the chancel across from the painting from which I am supposed to write a meditation. I sit with it, and let my senses tell me what they experience.

I feel weight,

gravity,

being pulled down,

and darkness on darkness.

 

The white elements of the painting

are pregnant with darkness,

wounded with death and dying ̶

brutal death, bloody dying.

 

The dark skin of Jesus is a painful reminder of who gets killed in our society, and I think to myself: “Black lives matter!” The dead, black body of Jesus comes to the forefront of the painting, and the white spectral figure of the mother moves to a second plane. How can this possibly be, painting-wise?

 

I tell myself,

“Keep looking!

There is more there to see.”  

Besides the excellence of artistry of the painter, there is a socio-political-spiritual statement pointing out to us the poignancy of this moment.

 

The dead body of Jesus is being dropped

on Mary’s arms ̶

not placed,

not given,

not carefully arranged ̶

just dropped

with all its weight.

Yet, this is the Jesus story:

He died on the cross to redeem our sins and save the world. Meanwhile, the countless dead bodies of our black and brown brothers and sisters have been left on the streets for hours, have been hidden in a jail cell, or have been hung in the trees, as our shameful history of the lynching era reports.

This modern day Jesus,

with his Hanes underwear and a white mother, makes me think of our brother President Barack Obama and the irrational hate and rejection he continues to receive from those who are so afraid of losing their privilege, and, who like the Romans in Jesus’ times, want everything just for the 1% only.

This cross, made out of modern day’s regular lumber and the hanging sign with the star of David and the note “King of the Jews,” written with a modern day marker, make me think of the horrors of the Holocaust, and the constant attacks I hear day after day against immigrants, Muslims, the LGBT community, and my black and brown brothers and sisters.

This hanging sign, and this dead body, remind me of the many unnamed Trayvor Martins, Michael Browns and Eric Gardners of our most recent collective sorrows and social wounds. My heart breaks open and a river of despair and sadness comes out of it as I remember the unnamed Matthew Shepards and Sakia Gunns of the past twenty years or so.

This modern day sign is hanging with the same disdain, hatred, and scorn as the one directed at Jesus when he was hung on the cross. This modern day disdain, hatred, and scorn are the same as the one directed at Jesus when he was hung on the cross. This modern day madness is leaving me speechless, almost paralyzed.

The man in the back, holding the ladder used to untie Jesus right hand as he is about to untie the left hand, reminds me of today’s mobbing as I watch on TV during the mockery of primary elections for presidential nominees ̶ all those angry faces with angry slurs and angry thoughts.

The man in the background who is about to untie Jesus’ left hand is not a friend, he is not Joseph of Arimathea; he is rather someone saying to his mother: “Here is the dead body of your son; here is the body of a thug; here is the body of a transgressor; here is the body of your black son whose black life does not matter to me.” All the life that was there is now shattered; all the dreams and hopes are crashed forever.

The woman in the background to the left is crying. She is the real deal, yet, she is ignored ̶ she is sobbing and she is small like our outcry for justice and peace.

I see all of this and I tremble.

I am frightened.

Today

is not a day

in which I can think of

the upward movement of the resurrection.

 

Today

I face the brutality

of an unjust world

that grows even more unjust

by the minute.

 

Today

I go down

to the depth of Hades;

today there is

no notion of hope.

 

Today

I only see the blood shed:

I am stuck

in this everyday

Golgotha.  

 

Today

I shiver

and cry.

– Anahi Galante

§ One Response to Thirteenth Station: Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross

  • kittkatt123 says:

    Beautifully observed and well written! I especially appreciate this because have looked closely at the 24 paintings in Doug’s Passion series to write the book about it: “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision.” I plan to blog about this new painting in the future and will include a link to this post. Have a blessed Easter!

    You can see his Passion series at this link. It does not include a scene of the Descent from the Cross like this one, but shows before and after: http://www.passionofchristbook.com/

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