When we think of the blood of Christ, we think of the unnumbered insults; the five wounds; the blood beading from the thorn incisors encircling his head
But what if, instead, we thought of the blue and red twining vessels of the umbilicus, what if we pictured the roseate and warm web of nutrients we call placenta?
Why not envision the body of Mary her autonomic brain as it was building, creating a network of feeding and growing: caring and corpuscle, healing and hemoglobin, making a mammal’s four-chambered heart, fed by the rich cake we call placenta, shaping salvation’s vascular system?
Christ’s heart took shape in Mary’s body. His blood first coursed her valves and veins. It was made with her womb’s weaving, overcast by heaven’s venture, manifest through serving love, cell by alizarin cell.
Wes Sherman's abstract work, inspired in part by Olivier Messiaen's La Nativité du Seigneur (The Nativity of the Lord), is on exhibit at Grace Church in Newark, New Jersey. In January this piece of art was rearticulated musically, as organists Joseph Arndt and Michael Hey played Messiaen's work and invited the audience to engage both visually and musically. Sherman's collaboration with Grace Church is one in a growing number of cross-genre collaborations taking place in arts and faith communities. Sherman's nativity scene is informed by Piero della Francesca's The Nativity (1475) but rendered in an abstract and contemporary vision—something like Messiaen's music, which gives traditional musical forms contemporary and mystical expression.