Holding Tension

The brilliant stained glass on the southwest side of the Sanctuary
portrays an image of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples.

At the top of the image,
Jesus sits at the head of the oval shaped table.
His arms are outstretched,
gathering in his twelve
like a hen gathering in her brood.

At the center of the table sits a bowl
trying its best to contain its contents:
Three bright white loaves.
The pigmentation of the dough is whiter than a winter snow.

The uncontainable and yet contained contents of the bowl
form the hub at the center of the wheel that is
the Host and his ingathered twelve.

A wheel that is almost unbroken… Almost?

Positioned near the bottom of the image,
opposite Jesus’ place at the table,
one of the twelve is cloaked in a dark garment,
the pigmentation of which stands in stark
contrast to that of the bright white loaves at the center of the table.

Like the arms of Jesus,
the arms of the dark figure at the bottom of the image are outstretched.
Unlike Jesus, whose outstretched arms gracefully gather in his beloved twelve,
the darker one’s arms appear to be painfully stretched between two diverging poles.

One hand rests firmly on the table,
The other hand stretches, strains, and claws away.

The gaze, the face, the body of the dark one follow the hand
that stretches, strains, and claws away.
Still, the one hand stays.

The one hand stays,
and with the one hand
stays the body, the face, the gaze of the one who tries to get away.

Like the bowl that contains the uncontainable contents,
Which form the hub at the center of the wheel,
Jesus’ outstretched and ingathering arms
gather in the dark one that tries to get away.

The same arms that gracefully gather in the beloved twelve
are painfully stretched between two diverging poles.

The snow-white loaves
And the dark one’s cloak
Ingathered by
the One that holds all things together.

The hub, and the wheel remain unbroken.

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