Yesterday in Washington, D.C., as I was walking from my dad’s car to the National Gallery of Art to see a new exhibition, the fragrance of cherry blossoms filled the air, and it was snowing petals – I must see the Tidal Basin soon, and its splendour. It seemed that the trees themselves were marking the raising of Lazarus from the dead and weeping in preparation for the day of Christ’s burial.
When I got inside to the Spanish paintings and sculptures, it was a whole other world: the room was much darker, and the first two things I saw were images of Christ crucified, one a painting of Luke contemplating it and the other a crucifix. These and other pieces were themselves ways to contemplate Christ’s death, as they must have been in the seventeenth century.
But having seen blossoms overhead, I know there’s a garden after the Passion. There comes a body that we can not only contemplate but even eat and drink, a Body who walks through the Garden. Hail the awkward tension coming two days from now.