The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Sacred Space for Easter Worship, 2012 : Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Warrenville, Illinois, USA

A friend asks: "But why the butterfly?" It's a fitting question and merits a full response, since this explains the Christian Easter liturgy:

Because a caterpillar, that creeps on the ground, goes into a chrysalis (dies as a caterpillar), and then reemerges as a butterfly, which flies in the sky. This has long been taken, in Christian tradition, as an image of the account of Christ, as recorded in the New Testament, and summarized in all the early Christian creeds, that are still recited by Christians universally, to this day, that "Christ was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell, and, on the third day, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven." (The Old Testament account of Jonah, swallowed by a whale, and spewed out, alive, on dry ground, three days later, is seen as a pre-figuring of the same process of death, descent into hell, and resurrection. This is why Jesus said to those who sought signs to prove that he was whom he claimed to be, said that no other sign would be given, than the sign of Jonah).

Now, as St. Paul writes, in one of his letters to the Churches, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then the hope of all Christians is in vain, and Christians, of all people, are most to be pitied, for the foundation of their hope is in vain, and they remain undelivered from both their sin, and from the lasting power of death. Paul's reasoning being that if Christ did not rise from the dead, then he was not who He said he was, the Son of God, but rather an impostor, and so rightly put to death, never to rise again.

Thus his death by crucifixion would not serve as a once-and-for-all-time sufficient sacrifice for sin, which would only be a sufficient sacrifice if he were God Incarnate in the flesh, and there would be no assurance that this sacrifice was acceptable to God, unless God Himself raised Christ from the dead, and then raised Him to glory, to sit at His right hand, as Christian Scripture proclaims, God the Father then also sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in the heart of all of humanity who believed in the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Therein lies the core of all Christian faith.

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

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I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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