Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

3/19/2005

Bethlehem and Calvary

Tomorrow morning in worship, we will read the Passion (a word which here means suffering) of Jesus according to Matthew. One question we can ask of ourselves is what implications does the cross of Christ have for us as we see others who are suffering. Are not we called to follow the example of The Good Samaritan when we see others in need?

The Rev. Kenneth Leech, in his book We Preach Christ Crucified writes this,Crucifixion at Barton Creek Mall
The cross of Christ then is not a call either to resignation in the face of unutterable pain or to a life of masochistic pursuit of suffering, often called "the way of the cross." It is a call to recognise solidarity with the Christ who has confronted pain and death once for all, and a call to minister to the wounded Christ as he is found broken and bruised on the highways of the world. And here we see both the concrete significance and, in a profound sense, the irrelevance of Bethlehem and Calvary. Bethlehem and Calvary were the concrete, historic locations, the "sites of significance," chosen of God and precious, the redeeming places. Yet Bethlehem is wherever there is no room; Calvary is all sites of cruelty and oppression. "Just as you did it to the least of these...you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40).
The image here is James B. Janknegt's "Crucifixion at Barton Creek Mall." It is jarring, almost blasphemous, to see the crucifixion depicted in such a setting. Yet, if Leech is on to something in the quote above, then Christ's crucifixion has profound implications for every place we see someone suffering and in need. Not only the mall, but also our classrooms and workplaces—everywhere we go—have the potential to demonstrate what we believe about Jesus' suffering and death, if we show in those places that we learned the lessons of Bethlehem and Calvary.

You can see more of fellow Episcopalian James B. Janknegt's artwork online at his home page and at the Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts website and his art for sale at Brilliant Corners Art Farm.

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