Lenten Vespers

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them “Here is the man!”  John 19:5

By tradition Lent is the 40 days before Easter.  It is when we hold on most dearly to the mysterious nature of Jesus, fully human-fully divine. The stories in Lent give us an opportunity to see his human side.

When Pilate says to the murderous crowd who will kill Jesus, “Here is the man,” the author of the Gospel of John focuses our attention like a laser on the incarnational humanity of Jesus, not as the remote creator of the universe, not as the Spirit that sustains us, but as a flesh and blood human being.  It sets the stage for all the human suffering that follows: the crown of thorns, carrying the cross, the wounds, and finally a very public human death.

There is a long history in art portraying this human suffering, not only the suffering of Jesus but also his family. One of the most famous sculptures in Western art is Michelangelo’s Pieta. Sculpted in beautiful white marble, Mary holds the body of her dead son. This image is not found in scripture. But a mother’s grief over the death of her child has become an iconic way of connecting with the human suffering at the heart of the Easter story.

On these three Thursday nights in Lent we will use some of this art as part of vespers services to deepen our understanding of the humanity of Jesus before the transforming joy on Easter Sunday.

~ Jerry Hancock

 

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 8:44 am in Featured Content.

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