June 30, 2017

Temporal and Perennial Glories

On the dog park walk

Peak summer, really. Just a glorious June day that makes one pine with nostalgia. 74 degrees and full sun and the path to the dog park was too beautiful to be lived up to. I took pictures of a daisy-filled field but you can't bottle beauty. A Wordsworthian stream rolled past, like an elegiac watercolor.

At the end I decided to scout new entrances to the woods and found one. Was lifted up, in spirit, by those old, gnarly trees, climbing skyward. I relished the greenery and tried to look at it from the eyes of a Jeff Culbreath, a Californian used to aridity who enjoyed seeing the lushness. I can see the appeal of this place; how fortunate we are where we are, and yet too often we aim to escape it. It was so beautiful in that equinox sun, the leaves dripping with green, harboring wreathed coronas at the top. You can get a sense of the glory of God there, you can.

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Interesting to ponder (from "Word Among Us"), especially inasmuch as so many saints had a special devotion to the child Jesus.
"The most popular religious paintings are of the newborn Christ Child in the arms of His Mother—a very awesome thing. God became man; born of a woman. In the Incarnation, God, while remaining God, became one of us. A very humbling thought. No wonder artists are drawn to depict the unimaginable event. God could so love the world, God would send His only Son to teach us how to know the Father." 
Too often when I see those pictures I see a mother and a child, not a human mother and the pre-existing, eternal God in an infant. It's not too far afield from the Eucharist where God becomes bread and wine.

A definition of what I think God loves to do with us:
Easter Egg (in media):"An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, a hidden message, or a secret feature of an interactive work (often, a computer program or video game). The name is used to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt."
Similarly I think of how many "Easter eggs" God has planted among us, such as when God was snuck into the temple as a baby and only a couple elderly people "got" the hidden message. Or when unbeknownst to him, Simon of Cyrene took part in the solemn ritual for which he had come - the sacrifice of the Pascal Lamb.

Mary herself, so hidden as far as not having a lot written about her in the New Testament, exploded in popularity and to this day is still somewhat a secret mainly known by Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

And of course the Eucharist, God masquerading as bread and wine, is the ultimate Easter egg in plain view but obscured unless you know where to look.

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After visiting the Morgan library I read up a bit on him. He contained multitudes. He was particularly fond of the art of the Middle Ages, was a huge proponent of visual art and beauty, a collector and hard-worker, and yet perhaps counter-intuitively was to the end a Low Church Anglican. His creed was (literally written in his will) that he depended on Christ and considered works worthless. Very Luther-ish.

He never had a strong sense of sin - he committed adultery easily, considering it okay if it was discrete. He also never felt guilt for the income disparity between himself and the poor seeing how he felt working for Wall Street was honorable and helping the common good.

It was tragic to read of his periodic battles with depression and how at the end he basically collapsed, became paranoid and depressed and feared greatly that he would lose his mind, which he did to a great extent. It's not certain what he died of, perhaps a cardiac event, but certainly the depression was acute and the mental illness as well during that last six months.

He was sensitive to criticism, not unlike our 45th president. Partially the poor mood seems the results of a heavy wave of criticism directed at him for his work just after the Panic of '07 when he acted as a defacto central banker.

1 comment:

CowPi said...

I like the "Easter Egg" metaphor. I think my students would appreciate that one. Thanks.