Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Jesus' Trial: Ian Green

'Surrendered' by Sieger Koder
Matthew 26.57-75

Three characters from the Trials of Holy Week are in this painting by the German priest/artist Sieger Koder: Pilate, Caiaphas and Jesus.

I think we communicate a great deal with our hands; I noticed in Venice recently that Italians appear almost unable to speak without moving them!

In Koder’s painting Pilate is washing his hands and Caiaphas, the High Priest, is hugging the Torah.  They are busy – possibly busy doing the wrong things.

Pilate’s handwashing is surely his way of clinging onto power because in getting rid of Jesus he keeps his job.

Caiaphas’ handwashing is probably a way of clinging on to tradition because in ignoring Jesus he keeps his holy book free of any different interpretation from his own.

What they both share, in being busy with their hands, is that neither of them seems to be actually SEEING who is before them.

They look above and through Jesus, virtually ignoring his presence.

For his part Jesus seems resigned to their indifference and maybe this is why Sieger Koder entitled this painting ‘Surrendered’.

Are we, I wonder, so busy with our hands that we too fail to see who or what is really before us and merits our attention?

Today’s painting calls us to notice the Jesus, the friend, the family member or the stranger who is before us and to stop what we are doing with our hands and give attention to both God and one another.

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