The Black & White of Good Friday

YAY, my secret project was released tonight at my church during our Good Friday service!  This is the largest any of my photos have ever been printed…24″ x 36″.  Eeek…that’s big!  So big the 7 frames hardly fit into my car.  🙂  I have been a twist of nervous and excited for the past week anticipating the display of these images.  It was such an honor to be invited to do this.  I have been working on this secret project for the past month and it’s been a good stretch for me to do something other than portrait photography.  I’m really grateful for the opportunity because it caused me to dig into the scriptures and really think about them more.  It was definitely a gift to me this Easter.

In our Good Friday service we first set the stage by reading about the preparation Jesus made in Mark 14: 1-26.  We remember Mary, sister of Lazarus & Martha, anointing Jesus with perfume (Mary sacrificed more than a whole year worth of wages to anoint Jesus.  In the gospel of John we learn that it was Judas who protested that she do such a thing.) Then we remember Judas going to the chief priests willing himself to betray Jesus in exchange for money.  And finally we remember the disciples preparing for Passover, eating the Last Supper together, and Jesus predicting Peter’s denial.  After we remember the preparations that were made we move into the garden…

The Garden- Mark 14: 32-42

Jesus agonizes in the garden of Gethsemane.  His disciples keep falling asleep while Jesus is praying.  They are supposed to be keeping watch.

My thoughts: I so appreciate that I can see the humanness of Jesus in this set of scripture.  He is deeply distressed and troubled.  He is in agony and this tree is symbolic of that agony in the garden…split in two.  He says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”  Ahhh, somehow I find comfort in knowing that even Jesus felt that way.  But my favorite part is when he says, “Abba Father, everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  This is such a beautiful cry…a recognition that what he is about to endure is hard and he really doesn’t want to be separated from God in that way BUT he wants God’s will to be done even more.  I also find peace in these scriptures because Jesus’ disciples failed him…they kept falling asleep.  Sometimes I fail Jesus, too.

Betrayal- Mark 14:43-51

Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested in the garden.

My thoughts: Judas was paid 30 pieces of silver to reveal his location to the soldiers.  He kissed Jesus as a signal so the men would know that he was the one to arrest.  I’m still in awe that one of his best friends would do that, but somehow it reveals the sin of human nature.  It helps me to remember that when I’m betrayed it really has nothing to do with me personally, but it has to do with the betrayer.  Sin is the root and it oozes over and affects others.  I love the cracks in the bricks.  To me, the cracks are symbolic of betrayal.

Denied- Mark 14:53-72

Jesus is deserted and denied by Peter 3 times before the rooster crowed twice.

My thoughts: Peter was accused of being with Jesus and being one of his followers.  Each of the three times he denied it.  Jesus had told Peter previously: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.”  Peter didn’t think it was possible.  In his heart he loved Jesus so much he couldn’t imagine denying him, but when it came to Jesus possibly being killed he disassociated himself and denied their friendship.  We are all guilty of sinning against God- through our actions and our words.  I am Peter.  You are Peter.  We are no better than him.  Jesus, forgive me for I, too, know not what I do.  Did you know that the rooster weathervane was a symbol long ago that indicated you were a follower of Jesus?  It represents a watchful vigilance against evil.  I love the reminder of this weathervane.  It makes me want one.

Accused- Mark 15:1-18

Jesus is on trial before Pilate and is sentenced to death.  A crown of thorns is placed on his head and they give him a purple robe mocking him for calling himself the King of the Jews.

My thoughts: I cringe at the thought of these thorns digging deep into Jesus’ head.  Ouch.  I grieve at the thought of the mockery and pain he endured.  I love how the thorns on this crown make a cross.  This is such a strong symbol to me.  Maybe it stands out to me because I’m used to seeing a cross.  The rarity of seeing a crown makes me stop, think, and imagine having it put on my head.  I am humbled.  And I am thankful for the way Jesus responded to the mockery.  He reminds me to stand upright and not cave when I am being mocked or ridiculed by others.  It seems to me that he was so graceful in response while being accused and tortured.  I don’t understand how he could endure that kind of pain without lashing back physically or verbally.  Something for to chew on for sure.

Sacrificed- Mark 15:19-32

Jesus is beaten, spit on, and hung on a cross that he had to carry himself.  It is the ultimate sacrifice.

My thoughts: I have no words.  If you watch a video that shows Him being nailed to the cross, you will be speechless, too.  It is gut wrenching to watch the ultimate sacrifice.  We need our guts to be wrenched so that we can fully see and feel the sacrifice.  It brings me to my knees.

Separated- Mark 15:33-39

Jesus died on the cross.  When he breathed his last breath the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

My thoughts: Even in the last hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”- which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  So often this is my thought, too.  Jesus knew that he would be temporarily separated from God the moment he took upon himself the sins of the world.  This is the agony he experienced in the garden as he dreaded that separation and the spiritual alienation.  Jesus breathed his last breath and the curtain tore in front of the temple room (the Most Holy Place).  Symbolically the curtain separated the holy God from the sinful people.  The room was entered only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, by the high priest as he would make a sacrifice to God in order to gain forgiveness of sins for all people.  When the curtain was torn in two it showed that his death for our sins opened up a way for us to approach God.  Jesus was the final, perfect sacrifice.  His separation was the ultimate sacrifice so that we would no longer have to be separated from God.  In this photo, the cloth is torn and God is busting through so there is no separation anymore.  We can freely engage God in a personal way.  There’s no need for animal sacrifices.  We can offer to God a sacrifice of our lives.  We can offer our hearts…and our whole self.  And because of this we can come directly to him for forgiveness of our sins.  What a beautiful gift.

I will share the resurrection photo with you on Sunday!  Stay tuned.  Until then, let’s meditate on these images and remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  I am in awe.  I am torn inside.  I am humbled.  It is in this holy week that we remember how worthy Jesus is of our praise.

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15 comments on “The Black & White of Good Friday

  1. Alison says:

    Amazing work!

  2. kmhill6 says:

    Beautiful!

  3. lynnhouse says:

    Jill,
    I can see why this was a gift to you and now it’s a gift to so many others. Thanks for sharing these extraordinary photos. Wow. Moving. Artistic. Powerful.

  4. Joy Morris says:

    So great! Thanks for sharing. Would have been disappointed to miss this since we weren’t able to go on Friday.

  5. Deena says:

    Awesome photos, once again your creativity comes through !

  6. carol collins says:

    Thanks for taking these pictures and sharing them with our congregation…truely amazing!

  7. […] of 7.  If you missed the other 6 photos I posted on Good Friday look at the previous entry on my blog.  I chose for the 6 other photos to be in black and white while the resurrection photo is in […]

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