Today’s News in limerick form, #2

January 9, 2009 at 12:43 am Leave a comment

“The manner in which Jesus died
was brutal, it can’t be denied.
To Gentiles it’s foolish
to Sussex folk, ghoulish.
So… let’s not preach Christ crucified.”

Actually, this news needs a bit more comment. I mean, I can understand – sort of – the nervousness of the church concerned that their sculpture of the crucified Christ might be just so stark that it puts people off, and their impulse that an empty cross might direct people more towards resurrection hope. Part of me is sympathetic to the concern not to “put people off” by having such a “scary” sculpture in the equivalent of the shop window.

But… well, part of me says no, if we are to recognise the depth of God’s love for us then we must allow it to confront us in the fulness of Good Friday’s agony.

The first time I visited Rome and the Vatican was as a teenager. I don’t remember much about the visit, but I do recall the one piece of artwork that struck me more deeply and immediately than any other, from the busts to the Sistine ceiling. It was a small and simple desktop crucifix – wrought iron I think, certainly not gold or silver – upon which the figure of Christ was seen not hanging serenely but jutting his chest forward in agony.

I’d go so far as to say that the image was formative for me. I was strongly reminded of it years later in ministerial training, when I encountered some very similar renditions in the set of images “The Christ We Share”.

An image of Jesus on the cross may well be unpleasant. It may well send shivers down the spine – indeed it surely should. But where will such an image testify more strongly to the truth it depicts: at a church, or in a museum?


Entry filed under: church, culture, current affairs, faith, limerick, poetry. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Today’s News in limerick form, #1 Today’s News in limerick form, #3

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