Friday, April 10, 2009

Although this is about gardening, I think it belongs under spirituality. And today is Good Friday, the day they crucified Jesus, and on Sunday he rose from the dead. And Mary Magdalene found him in a garden, and at first she mistook him for the gardener.

Title: 'Mary Magdalene Approaching the Tomb'

Artist: Gian Girolamo Savoldo

Date: 1535-40

Incident shown: Mary and the other women (not shown by the painter) approach the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, at dawn. They have brought the spices and perfumed ointment with which they will anoint the body of Jesus. But Jesus' body is gone. Mary's grief and confusion overcome her, and she weeps. Then she hears a sound behind her, and turns to look.

Bible reference: John 20:11-16

Comment: Here's the interesting thing. It is very early in the morning, and at the left of the picture dawn is breaking over the horizon. But a much stronger light seems to be coming from behind Mary's left shoulder, lighting up her whole body. Her cloak is shimmering - Savoldo suggests the light behind her is stronger than even the light of the sun - and of course the viewer knows that this light is Jesus, resurrected.
The Gospels place her at the crucifixion, watching from a distance. She might have remained a minor character in the story, except that the Bible says she was the first witness to Jesus's resurrection -- therefore a critical figure in the Easter story.

In John (20:16), the weeping Magdalene mistakes Him for the gardener. "Jesus saith unto her, 'Mary.' She turned herself and saith unto Him, 'Rabboni,' which is to say, Master." But after telling the disciples what she has seen, she's never mentioned again in the Scriptures.

The pure wonderful joy of planting a seed and watching it take form and life and then blossom.

And know, without a doubt that nothing ever dies. Ever.

No comments: