We promised to get this painting from Libbie’s+ Easter sermon posted — here it is, finally, as we look toward celebrating the final Sunday of the Easter 2018:
And the accompanying meditation by Sr. Wendy Beckett’s Sister Wendy’s Bible Treasury, 2012:
The crucifixion is the great Christian emblem. It marks out the presence of a church, it hangs on the walls of Christian homes, it is printed on prayer books, it is held to the heart of the dying and needy and believers generally. In art, the tendency is often to make very vivid the terrible suffering so willingly undergone for our sake.
There are a few crucifixions that stress the inner truth of this death. Shortly before he died, Craigie Aitchison painted this most extraordinary of crucifixions. The earth has become desert, yet from the desert Jesus is drawing new life, the scarlet of a poppy. The very presence of the cross has already created a strip of living green against which we can make out the tremulous figure of an animal, Aitchison’s beloved Bedlington dog.
But above these regulated strips of land, into the immense darkness of the night of our evil, soars Christ on the cross, a luminous body blazing with the fire of love. His features are consumed in the intensity of his passionate sacrifice. Over his head hovers the outline of the Holy Spirit. There are stars in the sky catching fire from the fire of Jesus, and we see the great curve of the rainbow, which God promised would be a sign of his covenant with humankind. Aitchison is showing us not what the crucifixion looked like, but what it truly meant.