Monday, October 8, 2007

Jesus washing the feet of Peter.

a. Light Jeus at the last supper. ( Oil on Canvas, part of the series on John’s Gospel, published by Art India as "And the Word was made Flesh". Painting in the collection of Sneha Sadan, Pune.)
First we have quite a small painting. A lamp at the centre is framed by the face and hands of Christ, and these reflect the light of the lamp so strongly, they seem to be equally part of the light itself. ‘God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness”, made his light shine in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 4: 6). Or, in the words of Jesus according to John: ‘I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12).

The second is in some ways a similar picture. On the eve of his ultimate self-offering Jesus acts out the central point of his new Way (Jn. 13:1-16) - self-giving love is all. ‘Loving his disciples even unto the end’, he washed the feet of his own disciples - those who in the eyes of any other belief-system should be washing their Guru’s feet. Peter is, as usual, at the centre, as it was he who was most defiantly resistant to such turning upside-down of the Guru-follower relationship.

The whole scene is contained within the flame of an Indian lamp. Inner illumining, enhanced consciousness, new birth - for Jesus and his followers all such ‘enlightening’ is intended to lead to self-effacing commitment to the well-being of others. We note the royal purple of Peter’s robe and the renouncer’s saffron worn by the foot-washing Jesus.

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