"He took my hand and led me out between the pillars into the warm sunlight.
We stood in a fair grassy court, with blue fresh sky above; mountain sky.
In the centre of the court was a bath, filled by a clear stream, where many could have swum and played....
The air which came from Psyche's clothes and limbs was wild and sweet.
Joy silenced me". C S Lewis - Till We Have Faces.
It's been there from our moment of great loss onwards - our tendency to obscure or 're-interpret' our relationship to the material world. We're surrounded by schemes and products that encourage us to do that all the time, but few of us really stop to ask why, and is there a much better answer?
In a popular TV show that's been running here in the UK for a few years now, one popular image guru hit upon a truth that the general beauty industry tends to ignore - genuine 'good health' can only begin when we really find a way to become 'happy' about who we really are, which can then become reflected in a confidence about our bodies.
The Christian message (when it's presented well), essentially places us before the mirror of facing essential truths about our nature, our existence and our true purpose. Humans were not made to be 'gods' or worms - our true place is in the life we were meant to inhabit between heaven and earth, rooted to creation, but in fellowship with God. Only here, in that context, can we truly find the 'perfection' that we so deeply crave for our entire nature, body and soul.
The work of God through Jesus Christ has been to reveal His power (grace) in order to destroy that which is unnatural in the order of creation - the evil which tarnishes and corrupts the good made in the beginning. Christ's death and resurrection, then, is the way in which God untangles our inability to be natural (to be what we were created to be) - it allows the natural to be restored, so faith in Christ's work becomes the means whereby we can be re-connected to the life and nature we are intended to know forever.
One of my greatest joys as a photographer is when I see a flowering of confidence and fresh awareness of character appear within a person as a result of 'seeing' themselves afresh through a set of images from a shoot, or in another photographer, taking new steps, because a workshop or discussion has encouraged him or her to do so. That manner of 'making new' is at the very heart of the gift of life which springs from the work of God's Spirit as we trust in Jesus Christ - the living word and bread of heaven.
God is seeking to open our hearts, minds, bodies and souls to the reality of new life, so that whether we our raised up or face trial, in whatever we do, we might know a richness that is never diminished, but grows until that day of new beginnings - the renewal of the cosmos!