Leicester Cathedral’s Lent and Easter theme of Bodies Broken and Blessed will include an exhibition of striking scenes depicting Jesus’s crucifixion by a nationally-acclaimed artist.
Anglican priest Ian McKillop is also an artist and art historian. His altarpiece art works hang in several English Cathedrals and his exhibitions regularly tour churches and Cathedrals and one arrives in Leicester next week.
McKillop’s Seven Last Words will be hung in the Cathedral. The seven paintings depict Jesus’s agony on the cross and will face in towards the tomb of Richard III. The Seven New Songs of the Resurrection will face into the Chapel of Christ the Kind in the Cathedral, where the stained glass window shows a risen and ascended Christ in glory.
They were created after the artist visited Wurzburg which was bombed in 1945. They are a tribute to the art works that survived and stand as a memorial to all the lives lost as a result of war, hoping to inspire a new way, following the loving, self-sacrificing and non-recriminatory, peace-bringing example of Christ. In addition, his work The Stations of the Cross will be displayed in the Cathedral’s north aisle.
Ian McKillop’s Lent and Easter Exhibition runs from 15 February to 19 April.
The Dean of Leicester Cathedral, the Very Revd David Monteith, explained more about the theme of Bodies Broken and Blessed: “We can’t be ourselves without thinking about our bodies. Age, health, illness, race, sexuality and spirituality all shape how we think about our bodies and the meanings we assign them. The cult of perfect bodies exercises power on our imagination as the body beautiful is exalted in our culture. This impacts positively and negatively and it affects both men and women, boys and girls.
“We will focus on this theme from Ash Wednesday (14 Feb) to Ascension Day (10 May). In Lent and Easter the church retells how a broken body on the Cross becomes a hopeful sign of blessing when transformed by God. Christians have often connected their own physical suffering with the suffering of Jesus.
“St Thomas sees in the wounds of Jesus how all things might have meaning and be transformed. Christians now take bread and break it, take wine and pour it and through that affirm that we are part of the body of Christ which is both broken yet blessed.
“We hope that by exploring more of our physical reality in the light of faith, we will discover not only vulnerability but blessing which is rich because it very often is borne through finite weakness.”
There will be a series of concerts, meditations and services throughout Lent and Easter at the Cathedral. You can find out more by clicking here, or by picking up a booklet from the Cathedral.