Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rood Pix!

Rood Awakenings is series of events as a fringe contribution to the Perth Festival of the Arts this weekend. The uniting theme in all their events is the spiritual conception that creativity is a God-given (and I would want to add God-reflecting) capacity. One of the events is a photography competition looking at everyday images of the cross (hence 'rood'). Unfortunately my Skye trip meant I missed the entry date so can't add my pictures to their gallery, so I've posted them here as my own fringe contribution to the fringe, sort of 'beyond the fringe' I suppose.

"Crown Him with Many Thorns"

This photo is of part of a fence near my house. The barbed wire that makes up the cross-piece is supposed be a challenge to the traditional golden, gilted cross seen on church buildings and altars. These domesticate the cross and rob it of it's rightful brutality. The popular hymn 'Crown Him with Many Crowns" asks the congregation to imagine the risen, exalted Christ - Philippians 2 reminds us first to look at the crown of thorns.

"Like a tender shoot"

This photo I took because of the way that the shoots of the plant growing around the frame resembled a twisted, crucified form. I hoped it would capture Isaiah's prophecy of the coming Messiah:

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

"Receive Me"

This one is based on the sorry pun about reception. The TV Aeriel on a local hotel is distinctly cruciform and makes me recall Jesus words in instituting the bread and wine as remembrances of his crucifixion, "this is my body, broken for you, ....take" He invites us to receive him.


Jesus' last recorded words from the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" have long been known as the "cry of dereliction". I went out looking for a suitably derelict cross and found this forlorn attic window on an abandoned hospital site, awaiting demolition. The sanitised crosses of cathedrals need to be balanced by cross images of abandonment, dismay, confusion and destruction to remain meaningful. I once heard a worship leader quoting the words of Jesus that 'people would be drawn to him' when he was 'lifted up' - and from this talked about the importance of worship. The irony of course is that when Jesus was 'lifted up' it was not in adoration, but on a Roman executioners gibbet.

A familiar gilded cross might speak of the deity of the Christ who saves us, but these images hopefully also speak of the human Christ who suffers with us and for us.

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