Take Away the Cross by Dirk Vanden
A queer version of Christ’s Passion is running in daily installments this week from Palm Sunday through Easter. Each daily post features a queer Christian painting and an excerpt from the novel Jesus in Love: At the Cross by Kittredge Cherry.
Mary was sobbing at the mouth of my tomb. Her long, luxurious hair hung loose and she had torn her robe as a sign of mourning. When I drew near, she turned and looked at me. I would have been embarrassed by my nakedness in the past, but I had left all that behind at the cross. “Why are you crying?” I asked.
“Sir, if you moved him, please tell me where you put him, and I will take him away,” she replied.
I could not believe it: She was looking right at me, completely nude, and she thought I was the gardener! Tears couldn’t have blurred her vision that much. I understood then that resurrection had transformed my body into something new. When Mary looked at me now, she no longer saw me. She saw what she expected to see. I hoped that I could awaken her faith so she could see me more clearly.
The waters of her soul had slowed to a sluggish ooze. I drew Mary’s soul to my divine heart and gave it a drink to get it flowing again. At the same time, I reached my hand out to her, aiming to comfort her. She recoiled in horror.
“Whoa! That is a serious wound! What happened? You need to see a doctor immediately. Or maybe I could heal you in the name of— No, no, we have to get you to a doctor now!”
I called her name out loud. “Mary. Mary Magdalene.”
She gasped as she recognized me. Her soul convulsed and she grabbed me. “Rabboni! My beloved Rabbi!”
She ran the palms of her hands over my arms and then my cheeks. We gazed at each other eye-to-eye, so close that our noses almost touched. “It’s really you,” she whispered. “You’re alive.”...
[Later Jesus reunites with his beloved disciple John]
…“Didn’t you hear me?” I half-shouted. “I said that you are forgiven!”
His eyes flew open and he jumped for fright. “Rabbi! How long have you been here?”
“Ever since you asked the Holy Spirit to come in my name. You heard my voice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” he answered uncertainly. “But I thought it was all in my mind.”
He huddled in front of me, and his soul bowed before my divine heart. The curls on the back of his head shone like tarnished silver in the starlight. He began to blubber. “I ran away when they arrested you.”
I waited one moment before I spoke, so we could both fully experience the way that his body and soul lined up in relation to me. “You’re here for me now. Begin again.”
“But I failed you in so many ways….
I tried a different approach. “Do you know the Song of Songs?”
John became more rational as he tried to remember. “I don’t think so.”
“Well, ask Nicodemus to recite it for you sometime. It’s an ancient poem about erotic love, but it also symbolizes the love between God and each individual soul. Here’s how it starts: ‘Oh, if only you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!’”
I leaned back a little and smiled at him, feeling full of mischief. John’s fiery, bejeweled soul was so alluring that I tried not to look at it. His dark eyes searched mine until a look of wonder dawned on his face. “You’re still flirting with me!” he accused happily.
Jesus Rises (from The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision)
by F. Douglas Blanchard
by F. Douglas Blanchard
Dirk Vanden is a gay artist based in California. In addition to painting, Vanden wrote early gay novels such as the classic “I Want It All,” originally published in 1969. F. Douglas Blanchard is a New York artist who teaches art at City University of New York and is active in the Episcopal Church. Becki Jayne Harrelson is an Atlanta artist who challenges mainstream religious beliefs via art.
Happy Easter from author Kittredge Cherry and the Jesus in Love Blog!