A queer version of Christ’s Passion is running in daily installments this week from Palm Sunday through Easter. Each daily post features a queer Christian painting and an excerpt from the novel Jesus in Love: At the Cross by Kittredge Cherry.
After supper all my disciples went with me to Gethsemane, even though it was late, the night was cold, and the olive garden was a long walk away… Lazarus was waiting for us inside the garden. He managed to look stylish even though he was wrapped in the kind of linen sheet worn during religious ritual. He spoke with unaccustomed seriousness. “I’ve been keeping a prayer vigil.”
“Good,” I answered. “I want all of you to stay here and continue the prayer vigil.”
“But—“ John caught himself and held his tongue. He and Lazarus fixed a pained, plaintive gaze at me.
“But what?” I spat out the words impatiently.
“I was going to baptize Lazarus tonight.”
“Baptism!” I snorted. “You want to drown your old self so you can unite with God? You want to lose your life so you can gain it? Do you think you can take the baptism that I’m about to get?”
“We can,” John and Lazarus chorused, as if my questions were just part of some ritual.
My lips tightened. “Don’t worry. You’ll have your chance at a real baptism tonight—and so will I.”
I looked around at the whole group. “I’m sick to death about what’s happening. Stay here and keep awake. I need to go pray by myself.” ...
[Jesus’ prayers end when a small army arrives and arrests him.]
My captors began goading me toward Jerusalem. We hadn’t gone far when we heard footsteps behind us. The soldiers and temple police tensed in alarm. I turned and saw Lazarus. Some of the men grabbed him, but Lazarus wriggled out of their grasp, leaving them holding only the ceremonial linen cloth. Lazarus sprinted away stark naked, his buttocks gleaming in the full moonlight.
The whole squadron burst into laughter. “Why, it’s just a boy-whore!”
“It looks like we spoiled the king’s evening entertainment!”
“Too bad—pervert!” The insult was directed at me, along with some blows.
(Continued here tomorrow)
F. Douglas Blanchard is a New York artist who teaches art at City University of New York and is active in the Episcopal Church. Much of his art explores history, including gay experience.
Note: Judas kissed Jesus to identify him to the soldiers for arrest. Click on the following titles to see art that explores the homoerotic aspect of Judas Kiss:
Judas Kiss by Robert Recker
Judas Kiss by Becki Jayne Harrelson