Thought for the Day from Tony Whatmough of St Michael’s:
I love this painting by Stanley Spencer, Christ Carrying His Cross.
Spencer lived a chaotic life, and yet despite all that, his paintings inspire.
In this painting, my eye focuses on all the people hanging out of their windows to see what is going on below them. They are watching this man carrying a cross, and probably have no idea at all what it was all about.
To me it seems to reflect our position at the moment. Instead of participating in the life of our communities at the moment, we are mostly indoors, picking up hints of what is going on around us, and only able to help our neighbours by keeping away from them.
As I read our Gospel passage for today, it seems to reflect our current situation. The disciples had no real idea of what was going on. Jesus is going through his agony in the garden, and his followers, his friends simply fall asleep. Jesus doesn’t require anything from them except their company. Jesus needs companionship just as we do. All he asks of us is that we walk with him, supporting him by our presence.
This Holy Week is all we can do this year. We can’t do any of the normal things we would do in church. We can’t act, we can only be. You would have thought that this might be a limitation, but strangely enough, it isn’t. More people are engaging through live streaming than perhaps would have done if our churches had been open, and people are supporting each other through phone calls, emails and social media etc. What seems like a limitation is in fact an opportunity.
As we look at Spencer’s painting, can we see ourselves there? Which window is ours? How do we accompany Jesus on the way to the cross this year? And how are we supporting those who desperately need our companionship?