The Tympanum above the West Front of Strasbourg Cathedral depicts key events of Holy Week and Easter in carvings clustered around Christ Crucified Risen. These were first carved when people knew what to expect of kings – taxes, of course; maybe security but maybe also family breakup with men forced to go to war and those left at home suffering from invading armies, as well as losing loved ones and breadwinners. People knew their place, and for most this was near the bottom of the heap.
The artists of these works saw Jesus as quite another kind of king. His death on a criminal’s cross and his resurrection are the centre round which the whole picture moves. In the next few days we will look at the Kingship of Christ through some of the scenes in this great work; for today, look and see how the death and resurrection of Jesus are at the centre of the artists’ vision, leading us up to the Ascension and our own entry, God willing, into life everlasting.