BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 20/8/2007
The artist Antonia Rolls is best known for her series of pictures titled Jesus on the Tube, where she paints Christ sat alongside ordinary people making their routine daily journeys. She has also painted one of my favourite pictures of Mary. In a modern-day setting Mary is wearing the usual clothes (which depict her holiness) and she's holding her baby in the usual way (little Jesus, his arms open to the world). But look closely at this scene and we notice that there's nothing otherworldly about this mother and her child.
There's a clock, the moon and stars to reveal that it's the small hours of the morning. The jolly little Jesus is bright eyed and wide awake... unlike his mother. The blank look in her eyes denotes weariness, the bags beneath her eyes suggest that her sweet young saviour-to-be has been saving her from sleep for quite a few hours by now. The only comfort for Mary, should she get a moment, will be in a nice refreshing cup of tea.
The artist Antonia Rolls says that her religious works 'require some sideways thinking, a sense of humour and a spot of common sense'. The common sense in this picture is that if Jesus truly did come to earth as a human being then Mary truly would have had to fulfil the weary night time duties of all earthly mothers. It's a common sense which hints that it just might be possibe for us to meet heaven in the ordinary.