Ordinary 14 Refugee

Vicar’s Reflection: 5h July 2015, Ordinary Sunday 14

Jesus was rejected by people of his home town. This reminds me of the Ash Can School of artists in early 20th Century America. They were just a group of artists inspired to record truthfully the reality of life amongst the poor and working class peoples of New York and Chicago. One early painter and teacher Robert Henri, taught his students that he "wanted art to be akin to journalism... paint to be as real as mud… Don’t be afraid of offending contemporary taste,” he urged them. He believed that poor, working-class and middle-class urban settings provided better material for modern painters than drawing rooms and salons. In the small community of Nazareth, where Jesus and Joseph were known as ‘workers in wood and stone’ probably supplying labour to the nearby new Roman city of Sepphoris; they would not have expected Jesus to have the scholarship credentials to teach them with authority as he did on this visit (Mark 6:1-13). They were offended by his plain speaking. Painters of the Ash Can School recorded the poverty and gritty realities of urban life, work that was considered offensive to mainstream audiences and collections. Today their work is valued as a truthful record of urban reality at a particular time and place. Jesus’ words and actions also caused offense because he spoke words of eternal truth to worldly power that was often corrupt or misused. But then, his Kingdom was not of this world.

Alex Czerwonka

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