Sunday, 9 August 2009

Piercing the depths...

"In this - the initial work of Creation - as elsewhere, we see the familiar pattern -
descent by God to the formless earth and re-ascent from the formless to the finished.
In this sense, a certain degree of 'development' is inherent within the Christian faith".

C S Lewis - The Grand Miracle

"Christ took the bread from Creation and said of it, "This is My Body".
In like manner, he took of the wine, made by the earth and said, "This is my Blood".

Gustaf Wingren - Man and the Incarnation

The deepest riches of our lives here are not determined by our 'possessing' a particular amount of things (because, in reality, we only borrow such things for a time, and that even includes the very time and frame we currently inhabit) -
but those precious moments when we so powerfully and honestly taste through giving of the true marvel and affection of another.

During my years as a married man before losing my wife to cancer, I came to understand how extraordinary it was to truly share yourself with another person - to truly love. The bonds which grows through such a fusion truly infuse life with a beauty and a wealth which, even in the case of loss, continue to motivate and drive a person. This has certainly been the case for me, not only in my continuing after losing Kay, but in both my creative work as a photographer and in my forging new relationships with new friends.

Marriage, genuine relationships, and, hopefully, our communion with each other in the faith, allows us to form ties with each other that carry the potential for something astonishing - our continuing to be 'clay jars', but earthen things which actually house a 'taste' of something truly profound - the weight of the gift of God's love, shed abroad within us.

The Creation account in Genesis tells us something stunning in this regard.
The Almighty God does not merely conceptualize and then just 'speak' the realms into existence in an instant. Those opening verses speak of the initial work becoming an act -
the Spirit brooding over the formless and the crude,
the Word, present from the beginning, being the very means to bring order to that initial mass.

Here we see how the very act of God in this work is one of Sovereign yet intimate care, of a giving to bring about a 'glory' that, through ages we have yet to comprehend, will truly express and honor the character of the love shared within the community of the Trinity.

The deep works of God are often a mystery -
Creation, Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection.
They all resonate with the truth we witness even in nature, that the yielding to something greater than ourselves, even to death, brings the miracle of something more significant.

There are moments, when working with a camera, where I can glimpse the intended significance of another human being, made to carry the image of their Creator. It is both overwhelmingly attractive and shockingly alarming at the same time, for those moments so poignantly connect to the reflections of the Psalmist - 'what is man, that you are mindful of him?'

The book of Hebrews tells us that we have yet to see the fulfillment of work of God that will herald the day when humanity become the creature that the psalmist snap-shots: truly 'crowned' with its true significance, but Hebrews confirms our expectations by telling us that we now see Jesus - the one humbled to death for our redemption, now risen and glorified - the first, and equally the finisher of that deepest of works within all that He has made.

The world is twisted in the futility and the frustration of being still so distant from its true estate, but within the deep things of God, worked within the very midst of creation from the very moment of the initial beginning, we can find aid and comfort, direction and assurance, in this, our time of need, for the aim of 'all things' is to allow us to see Jesus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, who has come to make, by means of redemption, creation all that it was intended to be -
a realm suffused with the affection and character of its maker and savior.

1 comment:

Steve said...

What a great picture of the creative process and power of our God, and how He usses all at His disposal for the purpose of bringing us into fellowship with Himself and making us a part of all that He has done.

Thank you, Howard, for a great word of encouragement in a world where what you speak of is often hard to see.

But it is there...He is there.