Lent Pilgrimage Week 6

Change your perspective – Images of the crucifixion

What do you imagine when you read about Jesus’s crucifixion? Have you seen films and TV series which portray it and imagine it in a similar way? Jesus may be the centre of our thoughts, but what about those who witnessed it?

The gospels tell us of many people who were present at the crucifixion. Soldiers, priests, two other men due for execution that day and perhaps their grieving families. Some onlookers may have heard Jesus speak, maybe even healed by him, whilst others were antagonistic towards him. Some expected a miracle and others wanted to see his execution carried out. Then there were Jesus’s women disciples and friends there to support the one they loved in his last hours of agony. They refused to leave while he still drew breath.

As a writer, I imagine a scene playing out before me, rather like watching a movie. What is my main character doing and thinking? Who else is there and how do they interact with my character? What is the weather like? What can they hear, see or smell?  

I have always had an active imagination, playing make-believe as a child and making up stories in my head. When I became a Christian, it was implied that the imagination was, if not wrong, then inferior to faith and belief in the word. I just had to read the Bible and believe it. That was enough.

Since then, we have rediscovered the creative gifts. We can sing, dance, paint, draw, arrange flowers and write. We can use them for prayer, worship, encouragement to others and to share God’s word. And yes, we can use our imagination to go deeper into the Bible.

Choose a character present at the crucifixion and think about them for a while.

A soldier with a job to do.

An onlooker who wants to see a miracle.

A priest who wants to see the death penalty carried out.

A criminal crucified next to Jesus.

A mother grieving the loss of a loved one.

A father mourning the death of his only son.

Now, put yourself as that character into the scene and imagine what they would think, do, and say. Immerse yourself in the character and see Jesus from their perspective. Is he a messiah, troublemaker or just a good man? Reflect on how that makes you feel and does it change your perspective on Jesus’s life or death? Change the character and repeat the process.

This may be a different way of engaging with the Bible for some of us and you may find it difficult at first, but it’s worth persevering with. Using your imagination in this way works well with the gospels and Acts, so why not give it a go with another Bible story? It might just change your perspective.

Photo by Cdoncel on Unsplash

Alessandro Bellone on Unsplash

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Photo by Peyman Farmani on Unsplash

A drop of blood seeped onto his pallid skin from under a thorn and into his eye. He blinked, and it trickled down his face and chin. Mixed with sweat and blood, it fell down his chest, onto his legs and dripped off his foot. Suspended in the air, it waited until splashing in the dirt like the first drop of rain after the summer drought.

Leaving Bethany page 113.

If you liked this blog catch up with the others in the series.

Lent Pilgrimage Week One: Lent Stories

Lent Pilgrimage Week Two: A King Like No Other

Lent Pilgrimage Week 3: Everyday Stuff

Lent Pilgrimage week Four: Agony In The Garden

Lent Pilgrimage Week Five: Betrayal In The Courtyard

Susan Sutherland is the author of three books. To buy Leaving Bethany and the sequel Return to Caesarea please go to the buy page.

If you like Susan’s blogs sign up for the mailing list and receive a free copy of The Aemilia Metella Interviews.

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