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This is my blood, shed for you.

Within the Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions, today is marked as Good Friday, Easter Friday, Holy Friday, the day when we remember the execution by crucifixion of Jesus at the hands of the Roman state. The Apostles’ Creed states that Jesus ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried’, and events to this nature are depicted in the gospels, the first books of the New Testament of the Christian Bible.


Over the summer, on occasion I would walk to church, to move my body, to savour the early evening light, and to reduce the need to drive. I find such walks a good opportunity to glance up into the deep, blue sky, and think just as deeply. It’s definitely a form of prayer, on my feet rather than on my knees.


I pondered the verses used within the Communion liturgy, celebrated in my church on the first Sunday of every month.


‘This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, shed for you.’


As we accept the bread and wine, we participate in a remembrance, a re-membering into communion with humanity and the divine. Our bodies are nourished by Christ’s body, no matter what else you told to be true about the process which takes place during the Eucharist.


I guess that you could consider me a Communion fundamentalist, because I firmly believe in the open table. I can proof-text this doctrine through citing passage about Christ dying for us while we were still sinners, about nothing separating us from the love of God, if I must.


‘This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, shed for you.’


I cannot read or hear these words - embedded within our understanding of Jesus on the cross - without considering the way in which women give their bodies in pregnancies and motherhood, and the manner by which blood is shed in menstruation, regardless of whether or not it leads to new life one day.


I make these claims without intending any bio-essentialist definition of femininity, but rather as an articulation of how I have found and recognised God in the exercise and expense of female labour, within childbirth and child-rearing, amongst the kaleidoscope of feminine embodiment.


This artwork is by the Ukrainian artist, Mariia Bilas. When I first saw it on Instagram through Jubilee Episcopal Church, it served as an answer to prayer - a crucifix resembling a holy, bleeding womb, a holy, bleeding womb resembling a crucifix.


‘This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, shed for you.’


I hope, if you have ever felt alienated from faith or the church, particularly due to your gender, that this image breathes fresh life into your understanding of the Passion story.


As Christianese as it sounds, turned out Jesus was the answer all along.


Whatever your gender, you are made in the image of God, a God who therefore reflects the breadth of humanity. God is deep scarlet and lime green and lavender. I hope that your Good Friday is as holy as the mountaintops, and the sandy depths of the ocean.


Godspeed, beloveds.


 

Abbey Sim is a writer and theology student who works in administration and communications roles for the Uniting Church and the Christian justice advocacy movement, Common Grace. She lives on the unceded lands of the Toongagal clan of the Darug Nation. Abbey is committed to living the story of faith, through a feminist, creative and justice-oriented lens.


Artwork: Mariia Bilas (nee Ivaniuta), (Ukrainian, 1992-), "Crucifixion," 2015. Tempera and gold leaf on canvas, 40 x 50cm.

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