Friday, 22 February 2013

Tempation of Christ

 Pictures sometimes convey more than words and this depiction of Christ in the Wilderness by Eric Armusik is one I find compelling. As a child, I had an illustrated bible with a fantastic picture of Jesus and the devil. Jesus, blond, blue eyed and clad in white robes was standing on top of a cliff looking very disapproving and the devil, a magnificent winged creation, was hovering in the air, gesturing to all the dominions of the world, or perhaps making the suggestion about Jesus chucking himself off the cliff. The devil really did look to be having more fun, and maybe that was partly the point of the picture! The more subtle depiction of the devil in this picture is as a dark and corrosive presence whispering in our ear, more like the brooding inner voice, an aspect of ourselves, than a discrete enemy we can easily banish. This picture also has strong connotations of death, the hooded figure, the ravens in the background, the darkness with only streaks of light. It makes me wonder how much the wilderness is about God coming to terms with mortality and of the ways in which Lent and Easter asks us to look at our mortality, and then perhaps beyond it. The temptation Christ rejects in the wilderness is the temptation to cast off mortality, the choice he makes is to embrace the human condition fully, and all it says about hunger, insignificance, vulnerability, failure and death.

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