Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Crowning

With this icon -- the third of the five Sorrowful Mysteries -- I have completed the Sorrowful Mysteries. I am just beginning to work on the Ascension -- one of the five Glorious Mysteries.

The title of this particular mystery is "The Crowning with Thorns".

The story goes that after Jesus was scourged, he was taken into the courtyard where one of the Roman soldiers had fashioned a "crown" for him from a thorn bush. This was forced onto the head of Jesus causing him to bleed copiously, no doubt.

Then one of the bystanders found an old purple garment somewhere (purple was the colour worn by royalty) in which Jesus was dressed. Someone else took a reed and put it in his hand like a sceptre.

Then some of the crowd knelt before him and called him the "King of the Jews". They mocked him and spit on him and who knows what else.

It is reported that Jesus said nothing while all of this was going on. Getting no reaction from the prisoner, no doubt the soldiers and bystanders probably tired of their cruel game after a while, but not before they had caused Jesus great suffering.

When I look upon this image, I often think of a verse from one of the Psalms: "Taunts have broken my heart; I have reached the end of my strength."

The Greek lettering at the top reads: "Crown with Thorns"

You will notice that I have used some medieval imagery to further illustrate how Jesus was mocked. There is a young man on the viewer's left who is beating a small drum. On the viewer's right, there is a man with cymbals while behind him is a tall man blowing a horn.

The young fellow kneeling in the front is dressed a bit like a court jester -- no doubt acting the fool for the "king". The man standing to the right of Jesus has placed a rope around the prisoner's neck, while the man on his left has a large stick -- used, perhaps, to pound the crown of thorns into place.

Such senseless torture...

May peace reign in our hearts so that the world may be healed.

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