Year B, Proper 18 - Julia Stankova: Healing
Year B, Proper 18 (Revised Common Lectionary)
Julia Stankova: Healing of the Deaf and Dumb Man, 2017
‘Ephphatha!’ ‘Be opened,’ says Jesus in Aramaic to this deaf and mute man. Everything about this man is turned and twisted, locked up in himself. Look at his shroud, his feet (he can move neither left nor right), the arms behind which he hides, the knot in his tongue.
Others must have brought him to Jesus; on his own he would never have made that move. But Jesus leads him away from the crowd in the hope that the man will come into action himself. With a deep sigh Jesus blows the man awake with a (re)creative breath, just like Adam in Paradise.
Only Jesus has a halo in this icon-like painting dating from 2017 by the Bulgarian artist Julia Stankova. Would that be because this scene plays out in the Decapolis, a pagan area, where people were deaf to God? The grey sky might also point to that.
This story is told only in Mark’s Gospel. It is a little resurrection story.
Bible readings for this Sunday: Isaiah 35:4-7a, Psalm 146, James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17 Mark 7:24-37