The Stations of the Cross

In a couple of week I will be a part of The Stations of the Cross exhibit in Madison Wisconsin.  It is a collaborative effort among 15 artists and musicians to create a week-long art exhibition as an experience of the 14 stations of the Passion of Christ in the final days of his human life.

This is something I wrote considering the Stations.

For the project seven visual artists have each taken two Stations of the Cross and have created something within their medium (paint, photography, glass mosaic, cloth, sculpture, etching).  Each was considering the suffering and resurrection of Jesus as they interpreted it visually.  Then musicians responded.  Each artist had the freedom to choose the “lens” or perspective through which they interpreted the journey of Christ.  Over a period of several months, they internalized and stewed on their stations to discern and recognize its gravity, complexity and significance.  Then they reacted in a concrete form.

It isn’t often as a visual artist, that I choose to  actively express a part of my faith through my photography.  This project was an exception to that. 

The Christian life is often described as a road walked with Jesus, ever cognizant of the suffering that surrounds us every day.  If we were able to walk with him through those days and hours, two thousand years ago, even the moments before his death, how might that change us?

Someone once said that much of the spiritual journey is being stripped of all that we tend to put our trust in. Life is found in losing it for Christ’s sake; life itself and that which God has prepared for each of us, if received fully, deeply, viscerally, into our dna, will teach us what it means to walk with Jesus today.

The object of the Stations historically is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating on the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death.

We invite you to walk with us back to those days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday if you are local to Madison:

The Stations of the Cross exhibit will take place at the Common Wealth Gallery in the Madison Enterprise Center, 3rd floor, at 100 S. Baldwin St, Madison, WI (map).

The exhibit will be open during the following times.

  • Fri Mar 30, 2012
    7:00pm – 8:30pm exhibit opens
    8:30pm – 10:30pm reception, live music, meet artists & musicians
  • Sun Apr 1
    2:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Wed Apr 4
    3:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Good Friday Apr 6
    4:00pm – 10:00pm

The Bible says that there is no human pain or joy that Jesus has not taken on to himself when he lived and died two thousand years ago in Palestine.  From the Garden of Gethsemane to the Cross he died on.  Because of his sacrifice, we are able to see the world differently and experience the highs of love and joy, as well as the lows of suffering and sorrow.  This is in and through Jesus.

As Henri Nouwen said: “Jesus died and rose for all people with all their differences, so that all could be lifted up with him into the splendor of God.  There is immense pain in the wide world around us and there is immense pain in the small world within us.  But all pain belongs to Jesus.”

Walking these stations is an opportunity to pause, set aside the distractions of your life, in order to listen and remember Jesus of Nazareth.  What you suffer he suffered.  Experience the redemption and good news.

God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks to us in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains;
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

–C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Walk with us.  Walk with him.

 

What Is Most Personal Reveals What is Real: transparency pulls me toward God

The way we experience God every day is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We can’t help but respond by changing — some call it growing.  This is individual.  It is personal and it is communal.  The Holy Spirit is present, leading us deeper into the wisdom of God through our honesty and openness with one another.

Even if we choose not to reveal ourselves it is evident through our life.     Don’t you think?

One of my favorite quotes is by Lev Tolstoy is

“A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure of which he reveals to us the inner workings of his very soul.

I believe it.  I believe that is what makes writing such a healing and positive thing for me and for those that follow along — the openness.  The honesty.

Henri Nouwen put it this way in Bread for the Journey:

We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, “Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.”  But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal.  What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.

Jesus says, “No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). The most inner light is a light for the world. Let’s not have “double lives”; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public.

I do believe transparency within (trusted) community is crucial to the spiritual life.  Keeping our private lives full of secrets only encourages more secrecy.

I have experienced that transparency pulls me toward God. He longs for us.  And by doing so, often it throws me down on my knees.  Humbles me. And within a community where there is mutual dependence, it draws others in thus allowing space for their own transformation.  That is the miracle.  That is it.  The moment in which the attributes of God are seen us.  That is everything.  That is the resurrection and atonement all over again.

Has this been true in your life?  You don’t have to tell me of course, but I urge you to tell someone. And if you find it difficult to reveal yourself — your true self — to others ask yourself why?  And what are you going to do about it?

Be well friends.