Take And Eat

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Printed from a 6x8 lino block on hand-torn 8x10 BFK Rives cotton paper.

Before we were fed by Christ, Christ was fed by Mary. For a good long while images of Mary breastfeeding Jesus were common in devotional art. Not so much now. 

Our work, like Mary’s work, is to give of our own selves, seeing that when we nurture the needy it’s God we nurture. In a world and Christendom drunk with power, the demons of patriarchy masquerade as God and can trick the best of us into thinking that God looks like whiteness, maleness, and wealth. Don’t buy it. Sojourner Truth said Christ was born of God and a woman and man had nothing to do with it.

I often wonder what in how we portray the mysteries of God and salvation actually accidentally reinforces the ungodly patriarchal and white supremacist forces we are liberated from by God incarnate.

I love crucifixes, especially grotesque and ugly ones. I didn’t grow up with those images and in them I see a God who is the sentenced, not the judge; the exploited and not the oppressor; the God who has had the weapons of war unleashed on him but does not use them. But also a crucifix is usually an image of a nearly naked cisgender white male body with six pack abs, chiseled jaw, and face made for magazine covers and Hollywood. We don’t always worship the God we intend to worship and I want to make art to remind myself who God is not.

For those unfamiliar with the text, on the night Jesus was to betrayed and lynched he broke bread with his disciples and said, “Take and eat, this is my body.” Shortly thereafter Jesus was betrayed by one, denied by another, abandoned by the others, but Mary stayed by his side and wept as they killed her son, the flesh she had grown in her flesh, and fed herself to.