Good Friday – Easter Art Evokes Anger
Art has an amazing ability to evoke all sorts of emotions – happiness, sadness, awe, anger, excitement, wonder, pain … the full gamut.
As I was walking down Oxford Street Paddington (Sydney) in the week leading up to Easter 2013, this window display in a gay, fetish erotica store caught my eye.
No – ‘caught my eye’ is too soft! It confronted me. That’s much better.
When I saw it, my blood boiled, but …
Well, Let’s Start With the Whole Picture
Just in case the thumbnail’s a bit small, here’s the whole display window in all its glory.
What does it say to you? Do you find this tongue-in-cheek misappropriation of the Easter Message confronting? Do you think I shouldn’t have used it in my Good Friday Blog post? No doubt! And I wouldn’t blame you one little bit!
First, The Outrage …
I walk past this store most days when I’m out exercising and since generally, the window is full of what are to me pretty grotesque displays, I don’t look at it much. But in the week leading up to Easter, some elderly tourists had gathered around the store and were taking photos. So I looked in the window – and that’s what I saw.
Their “Easter display.” An evocative cocktail of Christ and Him Crucified, the Easter Bunny and sexual fetish.
Like I said, initially my blood boiled. How dare they?!
The death of Jesus on that Cross for me is the most powerful statement of love in my life. I struggle even to comprehend the love and the grace of the Cross. That’s what Easter’s all about.
Act 1: Good Friday – Jesus died on the Cross for me! That’s what makes that brutal, bloody Friday such a Good one!
That someone would misappropriate the image of a love so sublime in this way, was beyond me. I was … speechless (and that’s sayin’ something for me!)
Then, The Realisation …
But pretty soon, the Holy Spirit started working in my heart – He has this pesky habit of speaking:
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, 5:12)
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us … If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8,11)
Indeed I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5)
The truth is that my sin has made no less of a mockery of the Cross of Christ than theirs. The truth is that my sin is a stench in the nostrils of God, no less than theirs. And the truth is that Jesus died for their sin on that Cross, no less than He died for mine.
It was a struggle for that truth to sink in. Not because the Holy Spirit didn’t want to speak it to me. But because I, much like Jonah in his reaction to the grace of God for the people of Nineveh (in the face of their sin) didn’t want to let it sink in (Jonah 3:10-4:5).
Something inside me wanted to believe that Jesus died for my sin, but certainly not for theirs.
The Magnitude of Mercy
I wrestled with this for a while, and when finally I let it go, it seems that the Holy Spirit – through this grotesque mockery of the Saviour who died for me – revealed an even deeper understanding of the magnitude of the mercy-transaction that took place up on that brutal Cross, back on that fateful day.
As Paul writes in Romans 11:6 – grace can only be grace when it is undeserved. Were it earned in some way, it would be an entitlement and not grace.
The grace shown to me, as my sins were washed away by the blood of Christ is no more or less than the grace that is available to anybody who, by faith, would lay hold of it.
Granted, no doubt, that those whose “artistic flair” is on show in that store window, have not yet appropriated the grace of the Cross through faith. But the grace of God, through the Cross of Christ is available to them, should they choose to accept it.
So, stuffing my own Pharisaical pride back in my pocket, here’s what I’ve decided to do:
Each day as I walk past this store on my exercise circuit, I am going to pray that the Light of the World would shine in that place. Into the heart of every person who works there and every customer who enters its doors. I am going to pray that the grace of God would break out in that place.
That’s what Good Friday’s all about, right?
Other Easter Blog Posts:
Honest Answers Poll #4 – What Does Easter Really Mean to You?
What You Really Think About Easter
Nailing Eater – Warning: Confronting Message
Appalled by the Easter Messages of Some Prominent Church Leaders
You have got to be kidding me!!! Where are the Christians that will STAND UP for Christ. That will put on their armour and fight the fight. Where is your righteous anger that says to people ‘How dare you make a mockery of my God’. Yes there is is grace and love and these people well deserve it, just like we do, but we do not sit back and just take this abuse and trivialising of our Christ. You say you will pray for them – what a loving sentiment – and cop out… yes, pray for them that is the best thing you can do for them but don’t back off and weakly say nothing. We are meak not weak. If we said anything against their sexual ways there would be an uproar, just like there should be an uproar at their actions against our Christ.
God is looking for people he can show His strength through, He’s looking for people to stand up and fight the fight.
What a weak cop out. You should have gone to your MP and demanded the insulting figures be taken down. You should have shown them how passionate we are about our Christ and what Easter means to us.
Just because we say something against people like this doesn’t mean we are making ourselves better than them, or ‘judging’ them or taking away any of God’s love and grace for them, it’s just showing them how real our God is and our love for Him and that we would fight and die for Him. Someone mentioned being light – what light are we if we just walk away from something like this and ‘pray’ for them. They can’t see any light in that. We are to be light in the darkness and what more dark a place was this window at this time of year. What light did you Bernie shine on this incident. You just took the blows and backed away. Oh yes, your prayers can and will make a difference, but we need to be seen to be standing up for our belief – our God.
It’s time the Church (that’s us) rose up, spoke out and showed the passion and the love we have for our God who is real and loving and righteous and just and Holy.
2 Cor 4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ………..very humbling blog Berni – Tx much for saying it like it is and being true to what you felt then and after. God bless!
This display of un-Godliness has only attracted attention because it is so blatant but you don’t have to look far to see much more covert and overt, for that matter, un-Godliness all over the world. Much of it is within the church itself! Anger is a wasted fleshly emotion because as Christians we know that God is in control of everything and we don’t have to defend Him or avenge for Him. There is great freedom in knowing that He is totally in control.
Hi Berni. Yes. Sometimes I think that hearts can be changed through prayer and meeting an uncondemning heart. It was in the temple that Jesus upset the tables!
I’m sure I’m not alone in a first reaction being to want to “upturn the tables of the money changers and bird sellers” and get pretty angry. Much like when a billboard stated that Jesus was just another prophet…
But like many comments above, we’re all guilty, just forgiven (if we’re in Christ).
I believe Jesus would go in and ask them what they believe the displays mean to them: like Barry above said, were they abused, in which case He would tell them about pain and forgiveness; maybe they’re just to create a shock sensation, where He would then tell them about love and grace and rescuing from the wrath of God; maybe they have no idea at all, and He would explain who He is and why He came.
Like you said Berni, prayer is the first answer, and from this seemingly unforgivable insult to our Lord, many may come to know the truth and this truth may just set them free.
(Unlike some religious fanatics who would have beheaded the owners and burnt the shop down by now)
I agree with the comments and the sentiments shared. I was once the worst sinner of all. However, I find it confronting that as Christians we at the very least could protest to the local Council (I’m from Victoria) and perhaps send a tract to the shop sharing the true meaning of Jesus Christ on the Cross, perhaps they don’t know or have ever been told the Good News. We don’t have to lead violent, radical protests, but we could make known the truth. Why do non Christians always feel it is okay to make fun of Christ? Would they have put mohummad in the window? I doubt it. I know we have to turn the other cheek, but I’m struggling with the concept of children viewing this window while people taking photo ops think it is cool. Even before I was saved, I would have found this image disturbing, but I would not have tried to have your perspective, so thank you for making me stop and think.
I think as the media says there is no bad advertisement, seeing they have depicted the three crossess means they know the story quite well. Hopefully some of their clients who are no doubt in a dark place may find an answer in that very same window. Lets hope and pray for them. Good blog Bernie.
Wel done Bernie. Thanks for sharing.
If it wasn’t for God’s grace and Jesus’s sacrifice for us then that would be us on the cross.
Its obvioius they do know the true meaning of the sacrfice of Jesus ,maybe they were abused by a priest. So who has the courage to talk to them about their distorted and possibly hurt view of the truth ? and help them .
12: For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Acts 26/18. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Berni.
I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. ’
I think God has given u a wonderful gift of showing reality in a truly “different perspective”. When you’ve been a Christian awhile u lose sight of what u used be like. I am so blessed u r using these gifts God gave u for His kingdom.
I’m with you 100% Berni. Once we start thinking ourselves better than others we are in trouble! Who knows where these people have been and what they have been through to land them in a sex shop doing this!? ONly God knows. I hope they find peace and restoration through Jesus Christ, like we did. The bible is full of people who have committed all kind of sins, David, Paul, Sampson and so on. We need Jesus sooo badly!
Thanks Berni for your great work
These people sre desensitised… Remember they are involved in this sort of deprivation all day … I liked the” mind your step ” sign in the door way … Classic!!! “Treat your body and the gift of sexuality like a worthless rag but please mind your step!!! “Yes Bernie … This is why he died.. He died to save the people who put this display together and he died to save me … PHEW I am so thankful that I know that- I am no better than theses people but I am clean by his blood , forgiven , sanctified and made new – they can be too AMEN … I will pray for them also. May god move through our prayer and help these poor lost ones … Lord pour out your Spirit
Thanks Berni, you have opened my eyes to see a different perspective on the evil that confronts us almost daily in this age, wonderful reevaluation words! and a much better understanding of Gods gift to all mankind, not just believers. God bless you always, Anne
sometimes we forget that Christ died for the sins of others–you never know how God may work through this display. The Holy Spirit may even convict a store ‘regular’ to have a look at their own lives and see what God has done for them–we can only pray, and be thankful, that God works through ALL situations.