Blog — 1st April 2020
A couple of years ago I travelled to Norway (when it was permissible!), and I visited the house where the artist Edvard Munch lived.
If his name does not ring any bells, maybe one of his paintings will. “The Scream” (1893) is one of the most iconic images of world art, often dubbed “the Mona Lisa of the twentieth century.” The Scream was composed following a walk along the fjord, when Munch heard “the enormous, infinite scream of nature.” The harrowing Scream reflects Munch’s struggles with mental illness, addiction, loneliness, anxiety and bereavement.
With the introduction of Covid–19 into our world, I cannot help but recall this work of art. This odd dystopic image seems to partly reflect the “brave new world” we now inhabit. Like some, maybe you are sat at home with a similar scream bellowing up inside. You could be self–employed, already financially stretched. You could be one of many people who started a business just last month, now forced to watch years of dreams vanish, or a seasoned business owner watching it crumble. You might be newly made redundant with a heavily pregnant wife. You might be a parent of restless children who just desperately want to play outside! You might be on your own, a solo parent or carer, without additional support, or an isolated vulnerable person, perhaps you’re screaming.
A scream was heard on Good Friday. Flogged, beaten, and crucified, our Lord’s suffering culminated with a “loud cry” (Matt 27:50).
A scream was heard on Good Friday. Flogged, beaten, and crucified, our Lord’s suffering culminated with a “loud cry” (Matt 27:50). Fully obedient, Jesus crucified his will and desires prior to his execution and death.
It seems extraordinary that, at least in the West, Covid–19 began shortly after Lent. While many of us planned on giving up Netflix, none of us expected to give up social interaction and everything that makes us human, whilst simultaneously taking up new cleansing habits! And yes, it’s true. For many of us, we are not being asked to go to war, but to work from a sofa, or room (jogging bottoms optional). Nonetheless, it’s a difficult time: stopping like this is hard.
Who knows what the next few months will look like? We may have this all wrapped up in June, or longer. Nothing is certain.
But we know this, Easter is guaranteed. Anticipated hope is on the horizon. Christian visions of the future offer good news; so we can be optimistic in any solidarity with screaming pessimism. A product of twentieth century pessimism, Munch captures only part of our place in history. Our end, our goal, our purpose, our completion, is hope filled goodness. Not hope in the idea of hope, but hope in a person, Jesus, the Messiah.
Written by Josh Bloor
Josh works a day a week at NTC within the marketing department, focusing specifically on external relations. Alongside his role, Josh is part of the pastoral team in his church community, as well as a PhD student in New Testament, working primarily in The Epistle to the Hebrews.