Jesus in Venice

An armchair theologian seeking to contrast the Catholic and Protestant faiths might point to the importance of immanence in the Catholic faith. Marian apparitions worldwide illustrate the importance of physical presence for Catholics. Likewise the ancient tradition of relics. The shroud of Turin is part of this tradition.

La Bouche is blessed: La Bouche editor Alex with Jesus at a PV by the Giardini
From Turin came a man to the Venice Biennale, to walk amongst the contemporary artists, journalist, art dealers and liggers. An apparition like no other.

Not content to look on, La Bouche approached this guest, when he appeared drinking wine at a party in central Venice. When asked his name, he answered, humbly: "Jesus".

Jesus found himself arrested back in 2015, an event which quite predictably increased his profile and popularity. Since then he has travelled around Italy in his garb, sharing hugs and wisdom with his followers. La Bouche was no exception. He turned down the formality of the British handshake, opting instead for a loving embrace.

The teachings of Jesus seemed familiar. One of his missions, he stated, was to bring people into the present moment.

"If we were children now", he opined, wisely, "we would be playing".

Jesus claimed that he was well-received, by rich and poor alike. What he noted, most of all, was his influence on others by his mere presence:

“There is inside all of us a form of programming in relation to Jesus. When he is present, we see things through his eyes. Our world, our events, become transformed”.

This, he said, is the gift that he gives to us. He gives us what we want. Jesus, a performance artist, whose other characters include Superman, had turned down numerous sponsorship offers and had been arrested and threatened with being sectioned for his J.C. act, but it was still a long way from being nailed to a cross. Would his destination be the crusifix, we asked?

He did not answer. So Jesus brought the historical character to life, and brought into all of us an awareness of the divine and its power. But could he do miracles? The wine we drank with him came out of a wine bottle - La Bouche was drinking the same stuff. Perhaps time to give up on the miracle stuff? Not so!

Venice is famously on the verge of sinking. The waters of the Adriatic lap against the pebbled shores day and night. At times, the waters breach ground level and coat the floor with a layer of water. On one of those days, visitors to the Biennale were treated to a sight, as the iconic Piazza San Marco flooded. Looking across the square, they would see a familiar man, with a beard, long hair and robes, walking along, with his soles just below the water.

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