Beneath this cross it does us good to consider how dark the figure is, how shadowed the face is, how crowned the head is and how humbled with a people’s oppression a life ends. In much of European Christianity the Christ figure looks up to “father” in heaven for help, in the conquered two-third world the artists consistently produced figures of the Christ looking down toward “mother” earth. The difference may not strike us as very important, however in the language of the Incan people’s, the difference is honouring the creation as the source of all life. We live on the earth from the earth.
The dried potatoes can provide nourishment for 5-10 years. Sharing dried potatoes and other crops provided relief from famine in ancient cultures. From the stone and ventilated store houses the village leader would deliver food to the hungry. The community cared without a means test.
The tree is a sign of life living on life. The tree silhouetted against the high mountains is both visual feast and nurture for the life it sustains.
The life living on life is the mystery of lent. No matter how you see it. If you can deny yourself something for helping the poor, the next generation even the sick or refugee — maybe there will be a renewed hope for the future. Maybe in the language of the steps there will be a coming to believe. These steps protruding from the stone walls of terraced gardens provided ways of getting from one terrace to the next without using valuable growing space. Maybe step work is like that. Living ordinary Lenten lives.