|'Face to Face' by Seiger Koder|
The second Sieger Koder painting currently hanging in our ‘Art Corridor’ at Amersham Free Church is one he entitled Face to Face.During World War II Koder served as a soldier before being taken prisoner in France. After the war, he trained as both a silversmith and painter. He was a ‘multi-faceted’ priest!
This particular collection, from which today’s painting is taken, is entitled ‘The Folly of God’ and we are left in no doubt that those gathering around Jesus are sneering at him.
We only get partial images of those in the scene and, of course, Jesus isn’t painted at all because it’s as if we are looking out at the crowd through his eyes.
We glimpse a Roman soldier about to hammer in the nails – a truly gruesome moment.
Already the day has gone dark as through the circle made by the onlookers we see an eclipsed sun.
I counted eleven people looking on plus, surprisingly, one bull!; a total of twenty four pairs of eyes. Although in actual fact at least one observer seems so overcome by the brutality of crucifixion that they cover theirs.
Koder has given us faces of intrigue, curiosity, horror and maybe indifference. One character also seems to be giving a ‘thumbs up’.
What are we to make of this painting, what message lurks behind its fascinating composition?
I think for me it’s got something to do with the futility of having a dependant longing for the constant approval of others. Of course, that may come our way at times, yet there will also be moments when integrity matters more than approval – and we in the Church often need to be aware of that.
We are called, from time to time, to live ‘counter culturally’ and that may mean others sneer at us.
Whenever that happens perhaps we can find strength in knowing our Lord experienced that reaction too.