We Are All in This Together
This painting is done in the style of art called Cubism. You are probably most familiar with Picasso, who pioneered the genre. It was considered to be among the most influential art movements of the 20th century. In this style, objects are broken up and then reassembled in an abstracted form. Instead of depicting objects from a single vantage point, the artist depicts the subject from many vantage points. This allows the subject matter to be viewed with a new perspective and in a greater context.
I’m not usually a fan of cubism, but I love how the Trinity is depicted in this painting. Notice the stylized wings and how the two hands at the bottom create a heart. The other hand holds a variation of a Russian Orthodox cross (the artist is Russian). The cross symbolizes the Passion story—the story of Christ’s suffering and death—and its placement in the center of the Trinity symbolizes the Trinity’s redemptive history and plan.
To me, the Trinity expresses unity. Throughout the Gospel of John, he emphasizes the oneness shared between Jesus, the Father, the Spirit, and believers. This unity was severed when Jesus was separated from his Father and cries out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Of course, he is reunited with his Father and the Spirit when he ascends after his resurrection. The Trinity is unified again. And we are invited to be a part of that unity.
Unity is a wonderful thing and I don’t mean to be Debby Downer, but during this pandemic, I hear over and over again that we are in this together. And we are—except for those who are not. My heart breaks at stories of people getting into fights over whether or not to wear a mask or open a hair salon. Are we really in this together?
I ran across a chart that shows the death of unity and the progression of division. It explains the five stages of persecution and its practical workings. This helps us understand how division happens when we nurture an “us vs. them” mentality:
- Stage 1 is to stereotype the group you disagree with.
- Stage 2 is to start vilifying the targeted group and accuse them of crimes or strange conduct.
- Stage 3 is to start marginalizing the targeted group and make sure they don’t get certain jobs, are left out of events, etc.
- Stage 4 is to criminalize the group, such as making gatherings illegal.
- Stage 5 then moves to full-on persecutions and even killings.
Being Human connection: Unfortunately, persecution will always be a part of our world, and it applies to more than an epidemic. But the way for us to get through this together is to resist any stage of persecution. We may wonder what we can do to bring about the togetherness we long for. We can start with examining our hearts. Do we stereotype, vilify, marginalize? An honest examination of my own heart causes me to pause. How about you?
Featured art: Georgy Kurasov, “Trinity,” 1992.