The Easter season is a time of hope. There still is fear, there still is a painful awareness of sinfulness, but there also is light breaking through. Something new is happening, something that goes beyond the changing moods of our life. We can be joyful or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, tranquil or angry, but the solid stream of God’s presence moves deeper than the small waves of our minds and hearts. Easter brings the awareness that God is present even when his presence is not directly noticed. Easter brings the good news that, although things seem to get worse in the world, the Evil One has already been overcome. Easter allows us to affirm that although God seems very distant and although we remain preoccupied with many little things, our Lord walks with us on the road and keeps explaining the Scriptures to us. Thus there are many rays of hope casting their light on our way through life.
—Henri Nouwen, A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee (1981) [HT]
TRAVELING EXHIBITION: Arte de Lágrimas: Refugee Artwork Project: Started in August 2014 by the Rev. Dr. Gregory Cuéllar and Nohemi Cuéllar, Arte de Lágrimas (Art of Tears) is a traveling art exhibit and archive that aims to create greater public awareness of the lived migratory journeys of asylum-seeking children and youth from Central America. The Cuéllars and other volunteers have visited respite centers in Texas border towns like McAllen, Brownsville, and Eagle Pass, distributing art supplies to migrant children who are waiting for buses to take them to their longer-term destination. They want to give these children the option to express themselves or process their journeys through an artistic outlet. Some of the children have chosen to donate their artworks to the volunteers, and it is these that constitute the Arte de Lágrimas collection, which is currently on display at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
This Thursday, April 27, Fuller is holding a gallery reception at Travis Auditorium (180 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena) from 6 to 9 p.m., which will include a presentation by Gregory Cuéllar as well as a panel discussion; RSVP here. Cuéllar, who teaches Old Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, is the author of Resacralizing the Other at the US-Mexico Border: A Borderland Hermeneutic (Routledge, 2020) and Voices of Marginality: Exile and Return in Second Isaiah 40–55 and the Mexican Immigrant Experience (Peter Lang, 2008).
If you can’t make it to the exhibition at Fuller, you can at least tour the Virtual Showroom that the Cuéllars developed, which hangs the images in a digital space that gives users the impression of being in a physical gallery.
ARTICLE: “‘He Is Not Here’: A Choral Easter Season” by Mark Meynell: This Rabbit Room blog post is part of 5&1, a weekly series from 2021 in which British chaplain Mark Meynell shares five short pieces of classical music and one long piece, drawing attention to some of their musical elements. For Easter he selected a setting of Psalm 118:24 by Renaissance composer William Byrd; “O dulce lignum” (O Sweet Wood) from Ēriks Ešenvalds’s Passion and Resurrection (below); “Christus Vincit” by Sir James MacMillan; an anthem for Ascension Day by Gerald Finzi; an Easter hymn from an Italian opera by Pietro Mascagni (also below); and the fifth movement of Mahler’s famous Resurrection Symphony. I appreciate that he provides lyrics and translations!
BLOG POST: “The Good Fridays of Our Eastertide Lives” by W. David O. Taylor, feat. Sam Wedelich: W. David O. Taylor, a theology professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, shares a visual interpretation of Matthew 28:8 by Sam Wedelich, at the time a member of Hope Chapel in Austin, where Taylor served as arts pastor. Wedelich’s collage shows how both fear and joy gripped the hearts of the two Marys on Easter morning, reflecting the complexities of our own often muddled-up feelings. Whether we’re skipping to the tune of “Hallelujah” this Easter or standing still, immobilized—or experiencing, like the Marys, some strange mixture of stances—the Risen Lord meets us, Taylor writes.
This is an early piece by Wedelich, which she made when she was a college student. She has since become well established as an illustrator. Follow her on Instagram @samwedelich. I especially like the series of “patron saint” paintings she did in 2020. Two of them are available for sale as prints from her online shop: Patron Saint of Keep Going and Patron Saint of Listen.
SONG: “To Thessalonica” by John Davis: Dedicated to his father, who passed away last month, Nashville-based rock singer-songwriter John Davis’s new album, My Hope Is Found in a God Who Can Raise Up the Dead, includes an original musical adaptation of 1 Thessalonians 4:14–18: “This we declare to you by word from the Lord: We who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who sleep in death. The Lord will descend with a cry of command; the voice of an archangel too. And with the sound of the trumpet of God, the dead in Christ will rise up first. The dead in Christ will rise up first. I know, I know, I know we’re gonna meet in the air. Yeah! The shout of command and the voice of the angel, the trumpet of God will declare. Yeah! I believe, I believe in, I believe, I believe in . . . My hope is found in a God who can raise up the dead, yeah! . . . My hope is found in a God who has raised up the dead. . . .” [HT: Crowdfunding Christian Music]