We continue in prayer for Adam Kimberley, Rory Young, David Abel Smith and Martin Scott and all those who have Covid.
We join with the Harris family in giving thanks for the life of Jennifer Harris.
The Annual Parish Meeting is on Thursday 21st April at 6.30 pm in St Swithin’s church, Quenington. All are welcome
1 Corinthians 15: 19 – 26
Luke 12: 1 – 12
Convergence - Jackson Pollock 1952
It was Clare’s birthday on Friday and always it’s difficult to know what kind of gift will be right, but our son Pip came up with the perfect present – a puzzle! But not just any old puzzle but a one thousand piece puzzle of Jackson Pollock’s most famous or maybe I should say infamous painting.
Convergence – Jackson Pollock 1952
The painting is a collage of colours splattered on a canvas that created shapes and lines that capture the energy and emotions of the artist. As we stand back the textures, colours lines and shapes begin to form a pattern and structure that hint at a purpose and meaning behind the chaos.
Communism and Convergence
At the time of the painting, the United States was gripped by a fear of Communism and locked into the ‘Cold War’ with the Soviet Union. Behind the chaos of ‘Convergence,’ Pollock was preaching free speech and freedom of expression. As a painter, he could literally throw mud in the face of convention and rebel against the constraints of society. It was everything that he believed the USA stood for wrapped up in a messy, but deep package. No wonder then that his work was backed by the CIA and sponsored by the Congress for Cultural Freedom ( An anti-Communist advocacy group).
The Convergence puzzle 1964
In 1964 the puzzle-producing company Springbok released Convergence as a jigsaw puzzle promoted as “the most difficult puzzle in the world”. The impact of ‘Convergence’ became clear the following year when hundreds of thousands purchased the jigsaw puzzle. So well done Pip, this will either drive Mum mad or make her very happy!
The Easter Puzzle
‘Convergence’ hints at a coming together out of chaos and confusion when the purpose and meaning of something is understood. In the case of the painting, we can only make sense of the splattered paint as we understand Pollock's deeply felt anti-establishment values.
When the Gospel writer Luke is telling the Easter story he hints at the same coming together of meaning and purpose in all the confusion of the events leading up to the Crucifixion. He tells of three groups of people trying to make sense of the death of Jesus and the reports of the empty tomb. In each case, it is the appearance of the resurrected Jesus that brings clarity and faith.
The Women at the Tomb
For the women who went to the Tomb that first Easter Sunday there was shock as they saw that the stone that sealed the entrance was gone and then horror as they realised that the body of Jesus was no longer in the Tomb. It is only when the angels remind them of Jesus' words to them when they were back in Galilee about his coming death and resurrection that the events of the past week make sense.
Just as we make sense of ‘Convergence’ when we understand Pollock, so it is that the women at the tomb understand what they are seeing when they realise who Jesus truly is. The Angels explained that what they saw all fitted together with what Jesus had said to them. The missing piece of the puzzle is now put in place and makes sense of the whole.
The road to Emmaus
But sometimes even when we have the meaning of events explained to us it leaves us cold. It doesn’t make any difference to our sadness or our fears. That’s how the two disciples walking to Emmaus felt. Even though the women had told them of their experience at the Tomb and even though Jesus walked with them at that moment and explained the events of the past days their eyes remained closed. Only as Jesus breaks bread with them do they recognise the one who is with them.
The Upper Room
Sometimes words are not enough, we need to ‘See’ Jesus as one who is with us to come to faith. The disciples in the Upper Room had heard the story of the empty tomb, and now listened to the excited story of the two disciples who had returned from Emmaus, but they remained paralysed by fear, hidden away from the world behind locked doors.
They too needed to see Jesus in order to make sense of everything and in the case of Thomas, he required extra proof and demanded to place his hand into Jesus' wounded side.
‘Touch me’ Jesus says ‘and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have’
Luke 24: 39
The Promise of the Father
For the disciples on that first day of the week out of the confusion, they had seen a pattern that made sense of events. They had met the person whose wounded hands, feet and pierced side now spoke of life, not death. Now they received a promise that they would be given his presence with them always as his Spirit comes to live in them.
They are now to go out into the world to bear witness to the one who can make sense of a world that like the world of Jackson Pollock often seems to be chaos and confusion but through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is healed and restored, and given the hope of renewal.
Prayer for Ukraine
God of peace and justice
we pray for the people of Ukraine today,
and the laying down of weapons.
we pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,
that your spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war and peace,
for wisdom, discernment, and compassion to guide their decisions
Above all, we pray for all your precious children at risk and in fear,
That you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop Stephen Cottrell