As the restrictions of the pandemic eased and the world appeared to be resuming to some normalcy (whatever that is), we were chatting about the impact COVID-19 had had on us. Some of the changes it created, we confessed, were positive — realigning priorities and work-life balances, for example. But we also realized that we couldn’t comprehend the grief, pain, and anguish millions had gone through with the loss of loved ones, friends, and co-workers.
Thousands had perished in isolation with nobody at their side. Now add to that the caregivers who risked their health and lives to tend to those who were suffering, and the sorrow becomes incalculable. This was a global catastrophe, but it was experienced on an individual level. These losses were personal. They cut to the core of people’s souls. The pandemic even made many question the existence of a god or ask why an all-loving, all-powerful being would allow this to happen. Difficult questions. And honestly, we didn’t try to formulate any answers. Crises will always drive some to faith and others to skepticism.
But through the dialogue, we eventually recognized that Jesus, a man who lived 2,000 years ago, also understood the depth of sorrow many of us, our families, and friends had or are still going through today. When Jesus received the news that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been executed by King Herod, he departed by ship and fled to the desert to be alone and grieve. The New Testament merely touches on it in a single verse, but we imagine the sorrow was deep, excruciating, and very real.
When Jesus heard the news of his good friend Lazarus’ death, he wept. The shortest verse in the Bible, yet maybe the most revealing. We’re quite certain there were more. At his crucifixion, there’s mention of his mother, Mary, but no mention of Joseph. One can assume he’d experienced the loss of a beloved father figure.
All of this led us to seek images powerful enough to reflect that heartbreak. Our ideas were merely on paper, so credit must be given to the artists that drew upon their personal experiences to bring this to life. While curating these scenes, the emotions were palpable. Tears welled up in our own eyes. And we must acknowledge the skill and talent of the editor and music composers who wove the images and sound score into a tapestry of solemn beauty.
Hopefully, it has touched you as much as it’s touched us.
Scripture References: Matthew 14:6-14, John 11:17-44, Matthew 26:36-46