Monday, October 8, 2007
Healing of the Paralytic.
WINGED DANCE (Chinese ink and pastels on handmade paper. 1997. Collection of the artist.)
‘Winged Dance’ is the picture that - of the whole series - shows the Hamsa most overtly as sun-like, as springing out of heaven’s golden globe. The healed man - for long a beggar outside the temple gates - in joyful ecstasy joins in a dance with this life-giving golden orb. Both bird and beggar are poised on one leg, like the ‘Lord of Dance’ and other icons of dancing gods.
In dance, humans too aim to be lifted above their normal earth-bound life. They are poised, as it were, between earth and heaven - though only birds truly become ‘lords of the air’. Here, the healing bird from heaven and the healed beggar who’d been lifted from the dust, share together in the ecstatic playfulness, the divine lila, that is the new creation of God.
In a literal sense this was not a healing act by Jesus. Yet, this is just what Peter claims for it. In lifting up this crippled man from the dusty roadside, we were to see the continuing healing work of the risen Jesus. It was done ‘in his name’ and through his healing power. Again, delighting in a divine Name, finding potency and healing in such a Name, has long been very typical of popular religious life in India. For the Apostles of Jesus, his is just such a
powerfully healing Name.