Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Seeking an Image of Christ

St John's College Cambridge has resumed podcasts of Choral Evensong and here is a link to the sermon of the first Evensong of April 26th 2015 by Mr Sandy Nairne director of the National Portrait Gallery in London initiating the theme "Seeking an Image of Christ."

In the absence of an image of Christ one could consider, he posits, what Christ stands for even at the edges of human experience.

Think of presence. Mr Nairne speaks of an exhibit of late Rembrandt paintings at the National Portrait Gallery as examples of the wear and tear of human existence in which time stands still as a portrait of the survival and staying power of the artist in the face of bankruptcy and deterioration.

Then he considers Mark Rothko's post war abstract paintings that may not be intended as directly religious. But his Chapel is a sacred space for religious experience of all to give space for tragedy as well as silence.

Next he considers witness. Bill Viola's symbolic rather than narrative work Martyrs is exhibited at St Paul's Cathedral. This explores the concept of sacrifice and moves the viewer from distance into participation. For what might one be prepared to die? Is this an image of Christ in another form?

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