Friday, 26 February 2010

Lent 2: Jerusalem

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you."
He replied, "Go tell that fox, 'I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.' In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' " (Luke 13:31-end TNIV)

In this painting I've picked up the image of the protective mother hen protecting her nest from circling foxes. I wanted to avoid the gentle and more pastoral image that I suspect this metaphor usually suggests. The hen is upright with wings outstretched, hopefully suggesting anger, desperation, hopelessness or outrage. The nest is empty - desolate or fragmented. There is nothing there to protect. The foxes represent Herod - or any circling threat.
I didn't intend it initially, but I did become conscious as I worked that the hen was forming a cruciform posture - perhaps helping link the stance of the mother hen to the sacrifice of the Cross.
I have given the picture the title, 'Jerusalem', but it could take other slightly tongue-in-cheek possibilities - 'The Passion of the Hen' for example...
This was a relatively rapid work given limited time this week but it should fit into the sequence started by 'Temptation' last week.

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