Sunday, July 13, 2008


Sunday Reflection: Jesus among us

[You can click the image to make it larger]

I've been lucky this quarter to have the help of Nicole Tingelstad in pulling together some art to serve as the basis for a lecture on my book. One of the images she found that I really like is this painting by Joey Velasco. It's the Last Supper, but in place of the apostles, Velasco has Jesus breaking bread for Filipino street children.

It's kind of shocking at first, if we are used to the more traditional versions of this scene. But it gets me asking the right questions, too-- who would Jesus go to now? What would he be doing? If I am to do the work of Jesus, should I be there doing what he would want?

Sometimes, that is what art does best-- knock us off center a little, so that we can see something in a fresh and challenging way.

I think he would be in Africa. AIDS, war-torn political structures, and consistent lack or misappropriation of resources continue to ravage the continent and enslave its people under the heavy weight of famine and poverty.
I think Jesus would be, and is, with my kids at the Albany United Methodist Center after-school program on first street in Albany.
What a beautiful painting. And I think it shows well that He is still among us and loves all of us, especially the innocent children.
I once saw a production of Antony and Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC. The end of the first act finished with a scene of all the actors at a meal before the battle (I think . .) and it was very obviously an allusion to the Last Supper. Incredibly rich, and powerful, and added a lot to the meaning of the play.
I would hope he would be in Darfur
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