Lightning on Sinai

The Church’s Mercy

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THE IMAGE OF THE CRUCIFIXION

To write about religious persecution as the subject of art seems anathema to Modernism, but as we pass the first decade of the 21st Century; the concept of “art for art’s sake” on completion of its task of abstraction drifts into a nebulous zone indifferent to our lives; while the false rhetorical irony of the postmodern becomes a gloss neutralizing any serious point of view.

Certainly there is an ironic quotient involved in this artist’s view of the discrepancy between what Jesus taught and Church doctrine as it applies to the Jews. Still one has tried to avoid the expectation of sarcasm and pastiche in imagery that takes the image of the Crucifixion to stand for the event called “Auschwitz”.

It is this artist’s contention that the two are forever linked.

Issues of faith are a matter that outsiders need not concern themselves except as in the case of the Church of Rome, where the doctrine of sin decrees them responsible for the Crucifixion and the special target for retribution. The Church’s accord with the Nazi regime makes evident that centuries upon centuries of the Church’s persecution of the Jews is intricately linked to the Holocaust.

An observation follows along the line of making the entire population of a minority responsible for a decision by jurists of a fundamentalist sect holding local authority over that minority in collaboration with the occupying force of world empire that enforces obedience within its community by dispensing justice to an individual whose teachings threaten its own puritanical authority over religious practice and the absolute sovereignty of empire.

The Church of Rome upon its rise to supreme authority reverses Jesus’ plea for clemency, as in his dialogue within the Jewish community addressing the severity of enforcement of the Commandments, offering a kinder, more humane consciousness towards those who fall into sin, and then later, on Calvary, for forgiveness “for they know not what they do”. So the Church ironically assumes the vindictive role of Pharisee and Caesar, condemning the descendants of the Jews, who did not subscribe to Jesus as the Christ, to be by default in keeping to their faith, guilty of the sin of Christ killer and culpable unto all its generations regardless of whether some or many of their ancestors contemporary to Jesus may have been in sympathy with his teaching’s benevolent views.

Jesus had no antagonism towards his own people. It was with the Pharisees that he debated issues of obedience that he objected got in the way of faith. Grace is given simply by faith itself as one is led on the path of righteousness for its own sake.

Faith can only come about through faith; if it’s demanded it is not faith. The Church’s militancy is not the way of Jesus. Judgment is not the way of Jesus; compassion is.

Moreover, if one subscribes to the view that the Crucifixion, as was prophesized, was preordained by Heaven that Jesus might reveal himself in the Resurrection; than all the players were assigned in advance their parts in accordance with that exemplary event by which the miracle of the Risen Christ be illuminated with an intensity and force so much the greater mystery in that the event of the Crucifixion extinguishes all hope beforehand. The Crucifixion is an absolute necessity of which the greater event annuls to punctuate itself beyond temporality into the miraculous.

Whereupon one asks – why the condemnation of the Jews for what Heaven decreed? If one believes that what was prophesized came true, that nothing could stand in the way of its fulfillment; then why focus on guilt when it was Heaven that dictated their role that revelation might ensue?

Surely the Church’s unforgiving attitude towards Jesus’ own earthly blood family, the Jews, becomes like the Pharisee – authoritarian, spiteful, condemning. And by doing so returns to the wrathful God of the Israelites – a God jealous and judgmental and unforgiving – again so like the unbending restrictive authority of the Pharisee that Jesus turned from.   If Jesus pleaded for forgiveness and mercy, why has the Church not listened?

 

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Lightning on Sinai, 2010

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Wading Red, 2010

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Red Ashen Skies,  1989/2007

TO LEAP ARMS ETERNAL HANDS OPEN BB25

To Leap into the Arms of the Eternal, 2009

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Lamentation, 1983, Detail

ASHES IN THE WIND

Ashes in the Wind,  1996

Table of Contents           Introduction