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  • Inri, the acronym that was carved in the wood that was placed above Christ's head, sounds like Henry.

    When I think Henry, I am thinking Henry Rollins versus any other Henry. In fact I think Jesus was a bit more Henry Rollins than say...Henry Fonda.

    Henry Rollins is a great wordsmith. So was Jesus. He spoke in parables. He told great stories. He was, after all, the Word.

    Recently walking through the Chicago Art Institute my path took me by De Zubarian's crucifixion painting several times. This blurry, cell phone photo doesn't do it justice.

    And yet it does capture the feel I wanted for this wordplay...Jesus out of focus.

    I think most people's concept of Jesus is a bit out of focus. The bold image that De Zubarian put on the canvas represented sacrifice and suffering for the wrongdoings of men wrought throughout all time. The time preceding, the time that was, and the time that was to come. That oil he spilt captures both the pain and peacefulness of Christ.

    "How great the pain of searing loss; the Father turns his face away; as wounds which mar the chosen one, bring many sons to glory." When I look upon this painting, I "behold the man upon the cross, my sin upon his shoulders. Ashamed...I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers." [Quoting Stuart Townsend's hymn "How Deep the Father's Love for Us"]

    So it is nearly Easter and I'm digging through photos and this beautiful image comes to the surface and I feel the need to mention the story.

    You might ask, "What do you gain from Christ?" And I would answer, "Gain? ... Why should I gain from His wounds. And yet, His wounds have payed my ransom. And though I may not be able to give you the answer the would squash your doubts. I know with all my heart that it was His dying breath that brought me life." [Mixing my words with Townsend's.]

    And that is the Easter story. Not about chocolate bunnies, but about Inri, the king, the Word, the son of man--who healed the blind, who taught people how to listen, who cared for the sick and the mentally ill, who fed the crowds fish and bread when they had no food. Despite his love of men he was hated and ultimately condemned to die a torturous death.

    But the story does not end there. In His death he gives life. He offers freedom and hope and a promise. And we are free to accept or reject that promise.

    I am certain that some of you reading this reject the promise. And I honor your right to do so. Others, I hope, embrace the story as I do. Regardless of your spiritual path. You can certainly recognize the power of this story. The power of this painting. The power of this tale of Christ's death and resurrection.

    His name is still alive.
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