Reflections for

Good Friday, Apr 14, 2017

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42

On Art

Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water); detail from Lamentation for the Forsaken

Coexist House in London has organized a citywide Stations of the Cross exhibition. Viewers travel to 14 different locations throughout the city to see works by Jewish, Muslim, Chris­tian, and atheist artists. Cocurator and writer Aaron Rosen reports that those making this journey encounter art that’s meant to provoke them artistically, spiritually, and politically. Station 11 is the video installation Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), by Bill Viola and Kira Perov. Station 13 features Michael Takeo Magruder’s Lamentation for the Forsaken, which takes names and images of Syrians who have died in the current conflict and weaves them into a contemporary Shroud of Turin.


On the occasion of the release of the Senate torture report

        In Piero della Francesca’s
“Flagellation of Christ,”
            The room is needlessly spacious

        For the blunt work at hand.
Three figures in the foreground
            Take no notice of the violence.

        Except for the purpose
Of composition,
            They are superfluous.

        Some critics argue these three
Are Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea
            And the beloved disciple John,

        Who will later bribe the authorities,
Claim the body of their friend,
            And bury him in a borrowed grave

        Once the humiliations,
Beatings, and execution end.
            At this distance, Jesus

        Appears to console his tormenter,
Whose right hand is raised
            As if in protest

        (One can barely see the whip.)
How hard it is to do my job,
            He complains, and not feel put upon.


Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.