Where can you experience 7 people in a van going to see the Faces of Jesus? The Mercer County Cluster, the best cluster ever!
Linda was so kind to offer me a spare ticket to the Rembrandt "Faces of Jesus Exhibit" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I had been to the museum a number of years ago while adventuring through NJ with a friend from the Cherry Hill area - who would have know that we would have ended up here these many years later!?!?
The exhibit itself was fascinating. Up until this time (the 1600s) every painting of Jesus was based on three items: an icon from hundreds of years before, a letter supposedly written describing Jesus by a Roman official during Jesus lifetime (never ever heard of this before) and the famed Veronia's Veil. All seemed to have characterized Jesus with a stern and distant expression, harsh nose, and pale features. Rembrandt decided to paint his Jesuses using, not only a real life model which had never been done before, but a model of MIDDLE EASTERN decent, namely, a Jewish man (as you can see, not exactly your typical "Norwegian Jesus"). This was extremely controversial for his day.
The highlight of the exhibit was seven smallish portraits of Jesus to be used for different larger scenes. Looking at these faces were very moving for me. Seeing Jesus with a very human face and very human expressions gave me the feeling that this was a Jesus that I could reach out and touch, and that he would reach back. Out of all the art about Jesus that I have seen over my lifetime, I think these have been the most striking, the most memorable. I am very glad that I went.
After the exhibit we ate lunch in the cafeteria and made nerdy jokes about some of more vapid looking versions of Jesus, then spent some time wandering around the armory and getting lost. Much fun was had by all. :)
Today I have been preparing my heart and mind for my upcoming interview, which is fast on the heels of Beau's installations service. I have also been working on my "trial" sermon, which, oddly enough, is going to happen at the home congregation of the aforementioned New Jersey friend. God is certainly very funny, indeed.