We’re living in a very different America than the one from 30 years ago, so we need to be different; to do different things if we’re going to make a difference. But even though learning new things is hard, it turns out that it is fun!
The Bible was intended to be read in a community of Christians who preserve the memory of what God has been doing and saying for generations, so that it can be understood fully. Here are some resources that I have found valuable for both small group and personal Bible study.
In contrast to the other images in our Lenten series, this work (by multiple artists) depicts a kingly Christ surrounded by all creation. This week, we reflect on Jesus' last words, "It is finished" as we celebrate the beauty (or "Ubuhle", in Zulu) of Christ's victory over death.
Bearden's painting captures both the anger and suffering in this moment on the cross and the joyfulness of Christ's victory over death and oppression. This week, we consider how Jesus' words "I am thirsty" mark both the fulfillment of Scripture and the beginning of a new Covenant, written in his blood.
In Eakins' work we see Jesus, not in a kingly or triumphant moment, but with head bowed, shrouded in shadows, and in pain. Uncomfortably realistic in its depiction of Jesus, the painting drives home the weakness and vulnerability of God on the cross. This week, we reflect on the words he cried out from the cross: “My God, why have you forsaken me?”, and consider how this moment on the cross challenges our ideas of what love and strength are.
In this etching, Rembrandt uses the visual impact of light and dark to show the contrast in Jesus' interactions with the two criminals. This week we reflect on "Paradise" as we consider the powerful depiction of forgiveness and hope amidst the frenzied activity at the foot of the cross.