Crown of Thorns, 2017
Michaela Youngson, (1965- )
This work was commissioned by Wesley House on 23rd March 2017, the day after the terrorist attack in Westminster that left 5 people dead.
Michaela Youngson is an artist who works in glass and a Methodist presbyter serving as Co-Chair of the London Methodist District. She was at work in her office off Parliament Square during the Westminster attack.
Broken glass is often a feature of violence. The sharpness of the glass shards suggests Christ’s solidarity with human suffering; the 4000 year old bog oak pegs on which the piece rests suggests the Lamb of God who was slain even before the foundation of the world (Rev 13.8); the beauty of the piece suggests that goodness is stronger than evil.
The symbols of Christ’s passion have long been objects of devotion and have sometimes been presented encrusted with jewels. Since the fourth century this has been particularly true of depictions of the cross – known as crux gemmata – upon which beads of blood are often represented with precious stones. In making beautiful such instruments of torture it is not violence or suffering that Christians are glorifying but the transfiguration of all that disfigures the image of God through the death-defying love of Christ.