The Foxes Have Holes

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests. But the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.”

Common adjectives for a fox are cunning and sly.  Recent news stories of their getting into people’s homes have done nothing to help their reputation.  Even Br’er Fox from the Uncle Remus folk stories is portrayed a bad ‘un.  They look harmless, all furry and cuddly, but domestic pet dogs they are not.

Jesus reminds us that even foxes had dens, somewhere to go, a place to call home.

In Spencer’s painting, Jesus is sat with the foxes.  They are in their holes.  He has nowhere to go, but along with the previous two paintings, is he identifying with them?

The foxes have a home, but somehow this picture brings me to the words of ‘Come let us Sing of a Wonderful Love‘:

Jesus the Savior this Gospel to tell
Joyfully came, joyfully came,
Came with the helpless and hopeless to dwell,
Sharing their sorrow and shame:
Seeking the lost, seeking the lost,
Saving, redeeming at measureless cost

Jesus looks uncomfortable.  He is sat at a strange angle, seemingly fitting around the fox holes.  Is he trying to share their shelter?  Coming to where they are?

He is in the depths, under the level of the tree roots.  Is this pointing us to his burial in the grave?  The place where he will find a home, but soon triumph over it and burst from it?

I think I’m going to have to see what Stephen Cottrell offers us on this one.  For now I’ll leave you with the hymn

These thoughts are reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s painting The Foxes Have Holes (seen here).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

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