These two sculptures are my set of handcrafted confessions. They are rough to the touch and heavy in the hands and to me, their weight is comforting. They are my confessions of a craving that has stayed with me in the aftermath of the Easter season: to encounter a touchable God.
I will clarify for the sake of reader interpretation: this was not my attempt to fashion idols out of bronze and I have no intention of worshiping these pieces. They are created as hand held rosaries of sorts to accompany prayers that surpass words.
Recently, I noticed that the Easter traditions I partake in often guide me to the contemplation of the human body and its shortcomings. Lenten fasting, in the past, has challenged both my reverence and resistance to appetite. Communion reminds me of “the body of Christ,” which I receive as a pinch of bread. This year, however, even as a good month has passed since Easter festivities, I have remained most fixated on the character of Thomas, and his brief appearance at the end of the resurrection narrative in the book of John.
In the exchange that would give him the unfortunate reputation of “The Doubter,” Thomas declares that he would not believe in the living Jesus unless he could touch the scars on his hands and feet. To me, this statement is grounding. It allows me to appreciate the absurdity of a story that Easter celebrates so redundantly. It is not a lesson in doubt for me as it is a recognition that the miraculous is still present in the midst of a mundane, material world. More so, this story reiterates the affirmation that the human world matters enough that the Eternal became ephemeral in human form. It matters enough that the resurrected Christ assumed a body that could be touched by human hands. It affirms that the work of justice that we do in this world matters also.
There is time to dwell on the unseen and ungraspable images of God. But right now I am interested in the simple realness of a scarred hand that prompted the simplicity of Thomas’ exclamation, “My Lord and my God.”