Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remembering the Week that Changed Everything

Remembering the Week that Changed Everything

By Tom Wachunas

    “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”  - John 12:32

    It’s Holy Week. I’ve come to savor it as a time to consider and celebrate exactly what Jesus meant when he uttered his last words before dying – “It is finished.”

    Notice he didn’t say, “My life is finished.” “It” was his purpose on earth, the culmination of his incarnate walk among us. It was his design for all of humanity – an immutable, perfect design. It was the invitation to step into everlasting communion with him – our destiny, which he planned before any of us were here.

    In the crucible that is my still-evolving understanding of his very real, living presence, Jesus continues to make an eternal future with him accessible by dwelling in me. I am, to be sure, an imperfect abode for his Spirit. I am corrupted and corruptible, yet miraculously and progressively renewed as I am caught up in the throes of transformation.

    And so here I get around to offering for your consideration a 2013 work of mine that was included a short while ago in the Sacred Voices exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art (pictured above). Titled Drawn Clothes to Him, this mixed media (paint-stiffened clothing, graphite, 48” x 48”) wall piece is an ancestry totem of sorts. In that it takes a form suggestive of Jesus crucified, it is intended to declare my identification with him. This spiritual self-portrait is a meditation on New Testament writings by the apostle Paul, specifically those which describe believers as new beings, immersed in a spiritual process of complete identification with Christ crucified and risen.

    Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Particularly inspiring and relevant are these words from Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” and again, from Galatians 3:27, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.”

    These cathartic verses would be meaningless were it not for what transpired in the last earthly days of Jesus – what we now call “Holy Week.”   Drawn Clothes to Him was made to be a physical expression of these verses – a tangible prayer of surrender to, and gratitude for what Jesus made possible.

   Finally, and with my deepest thanks, consider these additional words as Easter approaches:

   Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 4-7)

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