It was Saturday – that strange day, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In the past I have spent it in prayerful reflection – waiting and watching, though some years it has come and gone, and hardly been noticed. This year was spent at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, with even the weather was totally in between – winter and summer, wet and dry, sunshine and cloud! Here I was, staring at works of Art by sculptor, Tony Cragg, trying to make sense of it, trying to see what the artist is portraying – even looking into and through the Art to find an inner meaning. Aren’t these the questions we ask about life and death, and very much in the struggle to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus. Tony Cragg takes a portrait of someone and shapes it into a sculpture that reveals the essence of the person. I couldn’t help be struck by the subject of this one – being “Tommy,” for in the resurrection narrative it is Thomas who struggles to “see”, to understand, to believe that Christ has risen. Now I am looking at the man, and trying to understand him!
‘Tommy’ by Tony Cragg
For me Art is the in-between world – linking the spiritual world and the material world. It either tries to represent the material world in a way that transcends the physicality to express the inner spiritual reality, or else it tries to express the spiritual dimension in ways that we can relate to in our world of matter. It is liminality – to see beyond the edges of our experience, into a new world – new creation, new opportunity, new hope. This was happening to me on Easter Saturday – having arrived at the Sculpture Park with the death of God behind me, surrounded by all the people indifferent to the existence of God, let alone, his crucifixion; and all of us overwhelmed by talk of war and rumours of war, death and violence. And yet – could I see through this to see the reality of “Christ is risen” and respond with “He is risen indeed.” For when I can, then the world looks a very different place – the world where Love is triumphant and Love rules, where sin is overcome and sins forgiven, where death is not an end but an invitation into Eternal Life. I left the Sculpture Park with my spirit crying out “Come, Lord Jesus”.
Denholme Shared Church – the transformed Easter garden, where I visited last week