In the foreground of Eugène Delacroix’s classic The Entombment of Christ is a poignant image of the disciple John sitting, bent forward, contemplating the crown of thorns. By painting John and the crown alone, Ebenezer Sunder Singh shines a spotlight on this pregnant moment, offering a chance to ponder the wisdom of God which seems like folly to human beings. “The image of the thorn crown is a recurring phenomenon in my works over many years,” says the artist. “I use it as a compulsive pictorial symbol, and at the same time I revere it as the symbol of pain, shame and hope. I think John in Delacroix’s painting knows this secret, so he is contemplating this symbol of recreation and regeneration.” Singh’s work is shown frequently in galleries in the U.S. and India.
has a way with a sneer. Nineteen times in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul mentions
wisdom, and each time we hear a growing sneer in his voice, until he nominates
Christ as the wisdom of God. The word "wisdom" is distasteful to him because it
is wooing the Corinthians to pursue a dead wisdom when they might turn to a
wisdom he calls the "source of life"--and come alive.
Paul writes that Christ is the wisdom of God, he's tapping into an ancient way
of speaking about God. He's drilling down into proverbs, where wisdom plays the
part of the creative spirit of God. Wisdom is begotten of God, the firstborn of
all creation, the very spirit alive in Creation, a feminine expression of God.
This isn't just some hocus pocus
stuff from the Old Testament, either. The New Testament writers are so
influenced by this thinking that they pay homage to Lady Wisdom everywhere.
A year before my ordination I shadowed a seasoned pastor as he visited some of the saints of our church at a care facility in Austell, Georgia. We went from door to door and sat and listened and prayed.
"We have one more to see," said my companion as he stepped into the elevator. "Miss Fraser. She's normally unresponsive, but we'll check on her."