Having lived in an inner-city urban environment I found ‘temptations’, ‘wild beasts’ and ‘angels’ can take myriad forms. Christ, Man of sorrows yet Prince of Peace, seems very present amidst these contexts often subverting and recalibrating realities. This piece was originally based on Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Mark 1:9-15) but places it in in a contemporary city landscape. It explores a series of contrasts: monochrome and vibrancy; stillness and motion; and ultimately Christ, weakened yet strengthened by fasting, seemingly vulnerable yet powerfully resisting evil.
When considering the theme of the spiritual battle for this contest, I was drawn to reconsider this art piece, with this lens in mind. Perhaps instead, now, I would find myself in the city struggling or even overwhelmed by growling “wolves” and it is the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27) and Jesus (Romans 8:34) in monochrome here interceding for me. Or indeed, perhaps I myself am the praying, monochrome figure, putting on spiritual armour for the battle (aware though that I am kneeling in the imprints of Jesus who has gone ahead and overcome- that this is a present but an ancient battle too, and indeed this bloodied and borrowed armour was originally forged in similarly desolate landscapes - the wilderness, Gesthamane, on a cursed tree.…)
This reminds me again that I am not alone in my spiritual battles, but am befriended and accompanied by one who really knows this wilderness place and who is with me, picking out a narrow path which leads home.
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