Christ's ministry

Lowering the Paralytic through the roof

oil on canvas. 162 x 132cm.

Unable to reach Jesus because of the crowd and carrying a paralytic on a stretcher; four men scale the building; remove some roof tiles and lower the paralytic until his stretcher rests in front of Jesus

Luke tells us that; ‘Seeing their faith, he said. “My friend, your sins are forgiven you.”’ The man is healed because these four have enough faith to come together and present the paralytic and his needs before Jesus.

This struck me as quite a validation of community prayer, in so far as, we come together in order to present our needs and the needs of others before Jesus. In order to present this idea in the painting, I added a diverse group of people to the roof scene, all of whom assist the principal four in presenting the paralytic, with aspects of their own lives.

It is quite usual in times of crisis, I think, to become more alert to God's presence. Our need drives us to turn to him and we are hungry for his response. Our prayer lives become more focused and our pain can open us to feel the pain of others.

Through the young woman in green, I have tried to express something of this. She has a dead baby strapped to her by a black mourning band. One end of this is tied to the orange tinsel and to a stretcher pole. With this mourning band she is carrying her dead child and trying to support the paralytic, as he is lowered, in order to be placed before Christ.

However, it is most often through humdrum joys and pains of our everyday lives that God meets us and in which we are drawn to serve him. With this in mind, I have painted two men using vacuum cleaner hoses, to lower the stretcher. Another uses a twisted length of magenta clothing, and yet another, dressed for a party, uses orange tinsel.

Perhaps the most incongruous of all those present is the young man with a snorkel and mobile phone. He seems out of place and unconnected with the event. His inclusion in the scene, allows me to speculate that even the willingness to be present with others before God, despite lack of involvement, can still be used for good, by God. It is after all, through the crook of this man's arm that his neighbour can thread both his magenta cloth and his own arm, and thus increase the support of the paralytic.

This piece is available to purchase. For more information please contact me.

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