Jesus enters Jerusalem – 11 April 2022

 

In the centre of this picture Jesus rides on a donkey, holy and humble. Light shines around him in a gateway to a city. He is flanked by crowds and there are angels overhead, with the heavens above them all. The picture as a whole is made up of disparate elements, together giving the picture the feel of a ‘retablo’ or shrine.

The picture is Guatemala: Procession (1978) by Betty LaDuke (1933-), where the artist imagines Christ entering a Mayan community. About the inspiration for the picture Betty La Duke writes:

‘Before Christmas, at the Mayan village of Chichicastenango in Guatemala, statues of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints are . . . carried aloft in an annual procession. In my painting Guatemala: Procession, Christ appears on a donkey surrounded by the masks worn by the Mayans who dance to honour and celebrate their indigenous roots. They also dance a re-enactment of the brutal Spanish invasion, with satirical masks representing conquistadores. Inside the church many candles are lit and prayers are offered.’

On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem. This picture encourages imagining him entering every city, coming in compassion to die for all in every place.

 

 

Then they brought the colt to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the it they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Luke 19:35-40

Blessing of Palms

This blessing
can be heard coming
from a long way off.

This blessing
is making
its steady way
up the road
toward you.

This blessing
blooms in the throats
of women,
springs from the hearts
of men,
tumbles out of the mouths
of children.

This blessing
is stitched into
the seams
of the cloaks
that line the road,
etched into
the branches
that trace the path,
echoes in
the breathing
of the willing colt,
the click
of the donkey’s hoof
against the stones.

Something is rising
beneath this blessing.
Something will try
to drown it out.

But this blessing
cannot be turned back,
cannot be made
to still its voice,
cannot cease
to sing its praise
of the One who comes
along the way
it makes.

Jan Richardson   Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons