Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Joey Tomassoni on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Joey’s local newspaper is The Washington Post. Here is Joey Tomassoni on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS
Shattering the vessel, all heads turn, aroma permeating the room, standing, he, who in the beginning carefully crafted the nard, now being poured over tired, earth covered feet, the same dirt he formed out of nothing. To some this was not functional, the perfume could have been sold and benefits given to the poor, and why this woman? After all she was deemed sinner, damned a hoar. Her body, used for things unspeakable, unthinkable, a vessel of lust, a receptor and transmitter of sin, yet to him, she was a scent of preparation, in a coming death, her body now a living temple, anointing, the holy one, son of Adam, the disguised king in a cape and hood, in hiding from the expecting world, soon to suffer, tears now coming.

It was he who calculated and composed the capacity to express sorrow and joy through tears, like those now flowing from her eyes, wetting his feet, droplets of life, saturating every pore of the skin, wrinkling even toes, weeping without control, all other senses are paused, his feet feel all, her tears mixed with the perfume, a concoction spreading over his dusted, calloused feet, now being prepared by her hair.

And her hair, fragile strands through which a multitude of men had run their hands, wetted with salted tears and scents of the broken perfume racing into the nostrils of each person in the room, hair now dancing across the feet of God, ever cautiously and yet in violent succession, moving as one covering, desperate to anoint his coming hurt, longing to wash, bonded by the perfume mixed with tears and dirt. Did he recount his creative act? When like the silk worm, he delicately spun the first woman’s hair, fragile, she touching his feet, scorched by the eastern sun, waiting for his rite of passage into the coming sorrow.

Sorrow she knew, and understood, that perfume, tears and hair are never enough. How to express love, a love both more ravishing and liberating than anything she had previously known, felt, experienced, how might she convey, through the broken vessel that she was? Lips, yes her lips, she knew with them how to convey, made to love one, though grazing the mouths and bodies of many men. Her lips, soft, worn, now kissing his heavy-laden feet, the places where soon he would receive piercings filled of blood. He knew the goodness of the lips he crafted, their capacity, to receive and give unspoken utterances of love and in some instances, betrayal. Now he was experiencing them in carnated form, the goodness of creation, this minor part of the body imbued with such power and expression.

Hers were the most intentioned of kisses, perhaps she had ever given, radiating new love but not like with other men, for she had given herself to many men, but never like this before. Now, she, letting her body for the first time in whole, undone, her existence, created, vulnerable, offering herself, posturing herself before her maker. By that world, she, called a hoar, though her body, as with tears and blood, now cleansing pure, in identification with him, she completed, given new worth and, he, being prepared for a cross, pleasure before pain, joy before suffering, anointed by a holy temple that was her, he, now receiving from creation a sign of grace, an aroma that was soon to permeate time, space, the watching world.

Joey is an artist living and working in the D.C./Annapolis/Baltimore triangle to cultivate meaningful expressions of church through different communities. He also works with a variety of media to make things including drawings, prose, songs for his children, wall paintings, films, paint by number books and social experiments that explore relational aesthetics. He is married to his muse from their teenage years and together they have collaborated to make his best work to date, two zany children called Wisdom and Light.


14 Responses to Joey Tomassoni on The Good News

  1. jrwoodward says:

    Joey,

    Thanks for your poetic re-telling of a good news story, that helps us to feel, sense and taste the good news of Jesus. You brought me right into the room of this deeply personable moment between Jesus and this woman in a way that helped me to see how when the good news is personal it starts to have cosmic implications. I can smell the “aroma.” Thanks.

  2. Sonja says:

    joey,
    Thanks for sharing this most powerfull passage of grace to me in such a beautiful poetic melody.I’m so impressed with the fragrance it left me and it so touched all the veins inside of me.I feel so renewed and i’m still in awe dwelling on these words spoken to life….!

    ‘He knew the goodness of the lips He crafted,their capacity,to receive and give unspoken utterances of love…now He was experiencing them in carnated form’,
    ‘she was a scent of preparation’,
    ‘as with tears and blood,now cleansing pure..in indentification with him she COMPLETED given new worth and being prepared for across pleasure before pain,joy before suffering,now receiving from creation a sign of GRACE an aroma that was soon to permeate time space,the watching world.’

  3. jason says:

    beautiful.

  4. joey says:

    Thanks Sonja and Jason, I so love the narrative and felt compelled to consider and explore it in that way. I find in it tremendous good news.

  5. sonja says:

    Joey,
    In it i found the awaken message of love too in your words ‘How to express love, a love more ravishing and liberating than anything she had previously known,felt,experienced,how might she convey,through the broken vessel that she was…..kissing His heavy-laden feet,the places where soon He would receive piercings filled of blood’
    What was the most tremendous news you found through the proces and what awakened you?

    I looked at the website,but couldn’t find more work from you.
    Do you have a blog or site with more of your poems and writings?

  6. joey says:

    I think that the woman and Jesus were both real people. I know that sounds simple but I have to continually remind myself that there were bodies connected to them and with the body comes senses and feelings about those sensations. I actually don’t currently have much online as I am questioning the whole sharing your work on the internet/blog concept though I will probably have something up in the near future.

    joey

  7. Sonja says:

    Joey,
    It is a rare concept these days to expose expressions of this level of intimacy so openly to each other, and as strangers in a way, in public with the risk to get rejected. courage is required.Though its such a gift to be able to share your humanity.thanks for reminding me of the woman and Jesus being ‘real people’.Sometimes it is hard for me to imagine Jesus being real for in Him is no sin ,so were could He ever go wrong like us as human beings,sinners, who are still made in the image of God?
    If possible will you let me know when you will start sharing some of your work on the internet?

  8. joey tomassoni says:

    Sonja,

    Thank you for your kind words, I will let you know if I share more in the future.

    joey

  9. Kerry Whalen says:

    Joey,

    I’m almost afraid to comment, because if I say too much I might somehow break the beauty & silence of the image you’ve drawn in your post.

    God has been trying to get through to me, that He wants to be present in me – who I am, how I am, where I am. Breaking through in the world I live in, using all the stuff in me, even the broken stuff. Thank you.

    Kerry

  10. joey tomassoni says:

    Kerry,

    What a powerful thing God is doing in your life. I really love the the thought of God desiring to be present in us. For me too often I am not even present with God let alone allowing him to be present in me. Thank you for sharing.

    joey

  11. Kimberlee says:

    I’m laboring to remember a time when written words have helped me so personally unite with my Savior. At the same time, your retelling of this story urges me to share God’s all-knowing yet all-healing passion with so many women in my life. I can share this beautiful news…(I was going to cut and paste the thoughts that impacted me most deeply, however I’m finding each word needs the one written prior.) Your writing is outside “the box” (that I’ve grown accustomed to) and I think many people will be blessed by it…

  12. Joey Tomassoni says:

    Kimberlee,

    I am grateful that the post was helpful in your connection with our Savior. For me the act of writing is always for me first. I feel like this account has taken on given me new life. Thank you for your kind comments.

    joey

  13. Wow, thanks for that Joey,

    “she had given herself to many men, but never like this before.”

    For some reason that line really got me thinking. It somehow confirms the truth within her and her actions in such a beautiful way.

  14. PMHS Falcons (Pep Club) St. Augustine Florida says:

    Joey,
    You did a portrait for the school in 2003, that portriat is still hanging @ our school.
    The students still ask question about that portrait. I was going through some of my papers cleaning for the end of the school year and come across your receit for the portrait.

    Joey that portrait inspired me and other teachers here at this school. Joey, we all appreciate what you did for us. I would love for you to contact me but I don’t want to put my informationout there.

Leave a Reply