By Jacob Vlaanderen
On the 10th of March, we had another inspiring Wednesday evening meeting. Vicar Jochem Stuiver from the Netherlands was our guest speaker. As usual, the meeting was intimate, and people felt comfortable to speak if they wanted to. He met us on what happened to be the Dutch calendar prayer day for crops and labor, and reminded us of the seven works of mercy.
From 1800 km away, he asked participants a deep question: “What does it mean to be human?” Jochem reminded us that we are all created in God’s likeness no matter how different from one another we may be. What does this say about us? God wants no static images, but he wants us to be alive as creative creations of him. This gives us the responsibility to make choices.
Jesus became human, and this brings us the Bible text John 19:5; “When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate (Ecce homo) said to them, ‘Here is the man!'” Jochem showed us a picture of Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo at St Paul’s Cathedral, a sculpture which is a contradiction of freedom — Jesus abused and bound with hands on the back.
Later on, we came back to our personal answers to what it meant to be human:
- To be part of (ongoing) creation;
- Communicating with other humans. What they pick up is mostly unknown;
- Relationship, being part of society;
- To suffer and feel happiness. To learn about myself;
- Connecting to God by praying makes changes in how I feel. Praise the lord by being human;
- Complicated, there is no right answer but only 3 characteristics (love, forgiveness and hate), and at any moment we feel one of them;
- It has to do with humanity in our society. Seven works of mercy like the Soup kitchen
God became human, and it is time for us to become humans. We are mortal – there is no way around it, but there is a way through it. Expressing humanity in times of pandemic is very hard. No hugging is possible when we need it so much. Even facial expressions are taken away because of the mask. Jochem told us that he uses his eyes, but we also learned some peace and love signs using our hands. We are very blessed as a small community of St. Saviours with so many different people. Perhaps this makes our awareness of God’s presence even greater than in a big community going all the same direction.