For years I have loved this image but never knew who created it... Scott Mutter is the artist and he writes: "This translocation of imagery emphasizes the extreme degree to which we are operating in a geometric, linear, rectangular pattern of existence in the systems and environment we've built around us. What else is there or could there be?"
Well, to my mind there is a much deeper theological truth that all Christianity is still wrestling with: radical incarnation. We affirm that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of truth and grace," but most of the time - and in most of the churches I have been in and served - too many of us are profoundly uncomfortable with the idea that our flesh and blood could be infused with God. So we keep things abstract and heady - lots and lots of ideas and thoughts - but not a lot of embodied prayer.
For to really live as if the depth and breadth of God is within and among us means that we have to love these bodies - honor and cherish them as well as all those other bodies all around us - and that sounds a lot like justice and compassion. Back in the old days, my high school band used to sing that great song by the Chambers Brothers: "Time has come TODAY..." but it still hasn't! (We also once sang Frank Zappa's GREAT incarnational anthem, "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" as a way of amplifying John 1.)
This mixture of the city IN the cathedral speaks of unity to me: it takes the reality of our everyday lives and brings it right into the core of the worship experience. In other words, it is incarnational by embracing the God within and among reality - even a sometimes harsh urban reality. C.G. Jung once said that in addition to being compelled to love the wounded, naked, broken and alone bodies out in the world that are in need of justice and tenderness, we also have to love what is wounded, naked, broken, alone and afraid within ourselves. (Matthew 25: 31-46) Without this, the incarnation is a cruel, cruel joke.
So, more than many images I see in churches, Mutter's photomontage gets it right.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
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