Friday, April 22, 2011
Drawing in Church- Holy Week Edition
My favorite Gospel story is, by far, the account of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. It seems every year I've tried to do a sketchbook drawing on Lazarus, and never get a good page out of it. Probably because I'm pressing hard to do 'a good page' (always a doomed pronouncement.)
Part of my affection for this story is the parallel to the coming resurrection of Jesus himself, but more of it has to do Jesus's reaction to death and doubt. If I were inventing the narrative of the perfect 'God-Man' character I think he'd look more like Superman than Jesus. But, confronted with the death of a friend and the anger and disappointment of his disciples, instead of acting like a Messiah-of-Steel, we see just how human Jesus was. Even with the knowledge that he can beat death, Jesus cries. Gone, but not lost, the ending of the life of his friend overcame him. I love that he looks right in Martha's face and refused to let her spiritualize the loss. If you read the account, what he says is, essentially, "Stop thinking about Pie-In-The-Sky! Stop pretending that God is far away! ... look at me, in my face, I AM the resurrection. It is me."
This week, Christians celebrate Easter, Jesus's stunning reversal of decay and death. Lazarus is who I think about before Easter. (Though I'm guessing he didn't look exactly like the friendly mummy I've drawn when he came out. Or, maybe he did.)