Sunday, March 31, 2013


Women at the Tomb
He is Risen
It amazes me that many of the images for this wondrous mystery of our Faith, show the women at the tomb. It is almost always the women who get the Gospel straight away in the Scriptures - the men are so much slower.

 We know that Mary Magdalene was the first Jesus appeared to after His Resurrection. We know that while the men, dumbfounded and probably shaking in their sandals were somewhere hidden, the women were out and heading to the tomb with spices. It was to them that the miraculous news was given. These women were intrusted with the most important message of all time, yet taking it back to the men, they were met with unbelief.

Women arriving at the Tomb
The Empty Tomb

St. Augustine believed that it was appropriate that, considering the story of Eve in Eden, the first report of the empty tomb and later Mary's report of actually "seeing" the risen Lord should be done by women. He saw a paradox in the two events. In Eden, Eve repeating the lies of the devil that the "apple" would not be harmful was believed while the holy women who were telling the truth about the empty grave were not believed.

He wrote:  A lying woman was believed, and so we all died; the disciples did not believe women telling the truth so that we might live. It was the doing of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it should be the female sex which would be the first to report that he had risen again. Because mankind fell through the female sex, mankind was restored through the female sex. A virgin gave birth to Christ, a woman (Mary Magdalene) proclaimed that he had risen again. Through a woman death, through a woman life. Mary Magdalene is the only woman disciple, for whom we have a complete story.   Her story is a story of courage and change, redemption and witness.

The Risen Lord 

After the Resurrection

All images by Dr. He Qi.   He was among the many people sent to the countryside during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. As a young man, he escaped hard labor by painting pictures of chairman Mao Zedong. During those years, he once found a copy of Renaissance artist Raphael's Madonna and Child in a magazine, and was so moved by it, that he began to paint copies of it at night.

He Qi earned a doctorate in religious art from Nanjing Art Institute, having studied medieval art in Hamburg, Germany. He was a professor of Christian Art at Nanjing Theological Seminary before moving to St. Paul, Minnesota in 2004.


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