by Melinda Creech, Guest Blogger for Lent
“A hammer’s blow consigned you to your fate” remembers the eleventh Station of the Cross. The gospels do not specifically say that Jesus was nailed to the cross, but Thomas says after he misses Jesus’s appearance to the disciples: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Peter also accuses the Jews during his Pentecost sermon by saying “and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2: 23).
We are told in Mark 6:3 that Jesus was a carpenter. Hammers and nails would have been the tools of his trade. How ironic that they would be used to pierce his own flesh.
I've chosen to use images of a hammer and nails from the very first papercut banner I ever made. It was for my son and his wife, a wedding banner. At the time of their marriage my son was working as a carpenter. The images on the banner represented things that were important to him. A second banner held images of things that were important to his wife, and a third held images of things they had in common.
The twelfth station is recalled by the line, “The dark stole day and held you to the tree.” There is a play of light and darkness in the gospels, particularly in the gospel of John. Jesus is described at least sixteen times in the gospel of John as the light of the world. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that during the crucifixion from noon until three, there was darkness all across the land, John does not record this fact. John emphasizes Jesus’ exaltation on the cross. He drinks from the cup of sour wine, says “It is finished,” and dies. For John the darkness has no power over Jesus, even in his death.
For this pane I have tried to represent this tension between light and darkness in the image of Jesus. Hopefully, the image of Jesus shines through, conquering the darkness.