A contemporary art exhibition built on the theme of the ancient Egyptian symbol of the ankh opened in New York on Sept. 21, the United Nations International Day of Peace.
The exhibition, titled “The Key,” showcases the work of 40 Egyptian, Middle-Eastern and Western contemporary artists using a modern 3D fiberglass portrayal of the ankh, the hieroglyph known as the “key of life,” as a means of engendering unity among people of different cultural heritages and faith backgrounds.
“It’s the canvas for a contemporary message of hope for a harmonious, peaceful and tolerant world,” said the Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, an Episcopal priest who is founder and president of CARAVAN, an organization that employs the arts as a peacebuilder among the creeds and cultures of East and West. “The Key,” already seen by thousands in Cairo and most recently in London at St. James, Piccadilly, will remain at New York’s historic Riverside Church, a stronghold of peace activism over the decades, until Nov. 6.
Editor’s note: this sermon was delivered on Good Friday, April 10, 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In years past, I have preached on Good Friday in the glorious springtime, when the weather was so beautiful, in the fullness of azalea and dogwood blossoms, when people were fancy — when the world was alive and thriving and beautiful!
And, I remember on all those days, how hard it was to put myself into the somber mood of Good Friday. It was hard to talk about the suffering of Jesus when the sun outside was shining so brightly in our lives.
This year, of course, is different. We are living in a tremendous and overwhelming Good Friday. With the COVID-19 pandemic, our world is shut down and living in a global Good Friday.
This was originally published at the Episcopal Café website (www.episcopalcafe.com).
Like so many recent samples of footage showing police officers interacting with community residents, this was one that could not be un-seen: In February, the mother of an unidentified 9-year-old Rochester, N.Y. girl had called police because the girl was behaving erratically and was threatening to harm the mother. The officers struggled to get the girl into the police car, and scolded her for disobeying their repeated orders to calm down as she asked for her father. As the girl’s behavior escalated, police threatened to pepper spray her, which one of them eventually did, and the action was subsequently captured in newly-released footage. The clip sparked vociferous outrage, and added yet another series of protests to the already large collection against police brutality. Elba Pope, the girl’s mother, said she was preparing to file a lawsuit against the police department.
However, one exchange between an officer and the young girl stood out: “Stop acting like a child,” he told her. “I am a child!” she answered.
This article first appeared in Covenant, the weblog of the Living Church Foundation. Reprinted with permission. https://livingchurch.org/covenant/about/
COVID-19 temporarily derailed a scheduled Stations of the Cross installation at a new Episcopal chapel in New Jersey. But thanks to technology, Episcopalians throughout the Diocese of Newark have had an opportunity to view and pray with the images throughout Lent.
Sister Gerardine Mueller, a Roman Catholic Dominican nun, created the traditional 14 stations in painted stained glass. The glass panels hang in the chapel at the Caldwell Dominican house in Caldwell, N.J., where Pat Vine saw them while visiting her spiritual director, Sister Gail De Maria.
“I was really impressed,” said Vine, parish administrator and long-time member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Wayne.
Her spiritual director, who belongs to the Roman Catholic order of Saint Joseph of Peace, photographed the stations and installed the pictures in glass frames lit from behind in a hallway at her motherhouse in Englewood Cliffs. When a fire and lengthy restoration at the house forced the stations’ removal, the photographer offered them to Vine for installation in a chapel being created at St. Michael’s. There, they nearly ended up under wraps again, thanks to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“All these framed pictures were sitting in a bag in the soon-to-be chapel,” Vine said. “I ended up one day thinking, ‘Lord, I really want to do something for Lent. What can I do?’ And the stations came to mind. So I brought them home, took them out of the frames, scanned them and then made up the stations.”
With Mueller’s blessing, Vine created a short e-mail for each station pairing a photograph with a prayer and text by Rina Ristano, FSP, from “The Folly of God: The Journey of the Cross, A Path to Light.” Every three days throughout Lent, Vine has sent one to members of St. Michael’s, an interested neighbor and a number of other individuals throughout the diocese.
Response has been positive, she said. “One priest responded and said, ‘May I have your permission to send this to my parish?’” She agreed, believing that “the more that would reflect on Christ’s sufferings during Lent, the better.”
Another priest wrote about how touched she was by the prayer for the Sixth Station, where a woman wipes the face of Jesus:
Lord, help us to recognize you in the hidden corners of our world.
In the forgotten ones, in those who mean too little to the world, whose presence is never greeted with a smile.
We ask that we might reflect your love for all people in everything that we do.
Mueller, now nearly 100 years old, has created art in various media and started and taught in the art department at Caldwell University. An interview with her and photographs of the stations and her other artwork can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/XCizxL2eeJ8
The Rev. Sharon Sheridan Hausman is a priest in the Diocese of Newark.