Do we see ourselves in the Scriptures of Holy Week? Or are these Gospel narratives spectator events? I noticed this litany of identifications from the saint our Orthodox sisters and brothers call Gregory the Theologian:
- If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ.
- If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself.
- If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world.
- If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshipped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial.
- If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.
Right, the American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner’s work