I am often thinking about the speed with which time seems to pass, but here we are more that half way through Lent. I was drawn into this weeks image where time seems to have stopped, and voices seem to be heard in whispers. Our lives seem to be led in exactly the opposite, in the brightest of lights and an ever turning travellator. So take a moment to reflect upon this image. What would you say if you had precious moments with Jesus?
From James Tissot’s famous Bible illustration series, the Interview between Jesus and Nicodemus strives to depict with careful attention to period detail the scene from John’s Gospel in which Nicodemus seeks out Jesus at night to learn more from him about his teaching.
Tissot researched his Bible series by traveling to the Holy Land, and the details in clothing, furnishings, and domestic life all help transport the viewer into the world of the Bible, or at least the Middle East at the turn of the 20th century. Even more compelling than the setting, though, is the intimacy between the figures of Jesus and Nicodemus. The image communicates the hospitality, warmth, and friendship that are available to us no matter who we are or when we arrive at Christ’s door.
Jesus and Nicodemus are seated close to one another. One can almost hear their hushed tones, their low voices so as not to disturb the sleeping world around them. Jesus embodies hospitality—he looks squarely yet kindly at Nicodemus as he explains to him what has become the most quoted passage of the New Testament: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” Jesus reaches over with one hand to reassure Nicodemus and invite his friendship. There is no sense in Christ that Nicodemus is intruding at this late hour, but he welcomes him and meets him where he is with kindness and truth. Nicodemus leans in and looks down; he is listening intently and seems deeply moved by the words.
With this understanding, the removed shoes in front of the mat, a sign of domestic tradition, here become symbols of something more: the holy ground of encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, a holy ground for friendship and reconciliation, for healing and finding truth.
Commentary is by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis, and evangelization at Loyola University New Orleans.
The Reverend Anne Price
- Communion at 3: is going to be a little different today. Meeting for a social get-together at 4:00 pm before going to the Cathedral at 5:00 pm to support Revd Anne who is preaching there at Evensong. Evensong at S. Michael’s as usual at 7:00 pm.
- Stations of the Cross: Sundays at 5:00 pm during Lent.
- Bible Study Group meets weekly during Lent, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Meditation Group meets in the Lady Chapel on Wednesdays at 12 noon. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
- Parish Trust meets Wednesday 5:15 pm in the parish lounge.
- Lent Study Groups: Thursdays at 11:00 am and 6:00 pm in the parish lounge.
- Vicarage Building Fundraiser: the Women’s Fellowship will make available takeaway soup and home baking once a month in the hall after Mass, in return for a generous donation to the Vicarage Building Fund. This will begin next Sunday—please bring plenty of spare cash!
- Donations for Easter flowers may be given to Jill Woodside or the Wardens on Sundays or left in the parish office during the week.
- Parish AGM 15 April: reports to parish office by 25 March please.
- Double knitting or 4 ply wool, any colour, needed to make hats for distribution through Walsh House. Please place in basket at the back of the church.
- Book Swap: in the parish lounge. Koha to parish.
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.