‘Mourning to Morning’

“Thou has turned for me my mourning into dancing.  Thou has put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.”  -Psalm 30:11-12

The following series of ceramic sculptures, titled Mourning to Morning, is by American artist Dorothy Gager.  She said that there was a time in her life when she had withdrawn from others and wrapped herself in woundedness, but then eventually, through the consolation of God’s Spirit, that woundedness became her dancing skirt.

Mourning to Morning by Dorothy Gager

Mourning to Morning by Dorothy Gager 

Mourning to Morning by Dorothy Gager

Mourning to Morning by Dorothy Gager

Mourning to Morning by Dorothy Gager

Mourning to Morning by Dorothy Gager

What does this have to do with Jesus, you may be thinking?  It has to do with Jesus because the Bible so often refers to him as a bearer of our griefs and as the source of comfort, strength, and hope.  The prophet Isaiah calls Jesus a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).  The apostle John records that Jesus wept over the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35), and bystanders remarked how much he was hurt by the news.  Paul assures the church at Corinth that their “comfort abounds through Christ,” who “shares in our sufferings” (2 Corinthians 1:5, 7).  And the writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as our great and compassionate high priest, who sympathizes with our sorrows and weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), and who continually “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” on our behalf (Hebrews 5:7).

In that penultimate chapter of Jesus’ earthly life, as he lay in the tomb, he was literally covered with a death shroud, but in three days’ time, that garment was transformed from an object of mourning into an object of rejoicing, as it no longer served a burial function but merely decorated his now-living body as a badge of his having conquered death.

Jesus weeps when we weep.  But he also, after a season, turns our weeping into laughter (Luke 6:21), our sadness into joy.  He pulls us out of whatever grave we’re in and revives our dead spirits with his own living one.

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