Lenten Art Reflection: "Family"

Eugene Kim
Mar 02, 2018

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son”  

John 19:26

Georges Rouault, Christ on the Cross (1936)

Rouault’s version of the crucifixion places the viewer in direct engagement with the body of Christ. It is the first thing we see when we look at this image, and it seems to almost pop out of the space of the picture. Using simplified forms, patches of color, and dark outlines, reminiscent of stained glass, Rouault chose to highlight the relationship of Jesus to Mary and John, who stand to his left. All of the figures seem pressed closed together, in the same space, and Jesus’ arm is directly over his mother and the disciple. While John and Mary are clearly full of grief, the picture also has a sense of hope, represented in streaks of warm color in the sky. 

For Reflection

  1. Imagine this scene first from Mary’s perspective, then from John’s, then finally from Christ’s. What thoughts and emotions come to the surface for you?
  2. Jesus is seen joining Mary and John into a stronger and deeper bond than traditional familial ties. Likewise, Jesus has invited us all into a new spiritual family that cares for one another. What makes it difficult for you to expand your idea of family to include others for the sake of Christ? Is there a specific person or group of people you find it difficult to see as family?
  3. Jesus’ love and care for us is extended through the arms of brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers in Christ whom God has placed around us in His church. What would it look like for you to take steps to draw nearer to your spiritual family members in vulnerability and love?


Father of all, I confess my selfishness and desire to distance myself from others I see as too different or too burdensome. I confess my fear of vulnerability and my unwillingness to trust. Jesus, as you have embraced me, grant me the love and courage to embrace and be embraced by others. Open my heart, that I may I walk in deeper fellowship with you in the Holy Spirit, through your Body, the family of God. Amen.