Monday, 28 May 2007

Through a Glass, Darkly

"For in and out, above, about, below
'Tis Nothing but a Magic Shadow Show
Play'd in a Box whose Lantern is the Sun;
'Round which we Phantom Figures come and go."

- from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

- I Corinthians 13:12

It is hard for the human to imagine that what is tangible - what has texture and form and and smell - may be simply the shadow of what is REAL. And yet, don't we have a sense, in spite of what our bodies tell us, of a world more deep, more rich than the one we sense so concretely? And are there not, even in our merely dual world, evidences that there is something greater of which we may witness only a reflection?

For instance, take love. If you have ever been lucky enough to carry in your heart such a paradox of weight and lightness, then you must know the strain of communicating the thing materially. The evidences we are able to produce and witness (kind words, gentle touches, beautiful gifts) seem a pale smoke beside the richness of love as we know it to be. Even our own experience of such a thing must make us aware that there is more than just emotion in the grand landscape of love - something so deep and pure and real as to make us, in comparison, mere specks. And yet, after all, are we not elevated in our experience of love so as to be more than simple humans; more than beautifully orchestrated, fascinatingly scientific bodies; more than minds full of intelligence and philosophy and the amazing ability to learn? Have we not all, at times, woken to the awareness that what may be produced, spoken, even thought, is nothing more than the shade of what IS?

It will not be denied. Just as a Valentine's Day rose or a Mother's Day card is a paltry symbol speaking of a greater, less tangible thing, what may be sensed is little more than the reflection of what is REAL.

What is REAL?

God.

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM.

- Exodus 3:14

1 comment:

patrick said...

i like cs lewis' "the great divorce." his comparison between what is real and what is not real is stark. very eye-opening. this post reminded me of that. also, the last bit of "the last battle" talks about the 'shadow lands' and aslan explains that our worlds are only shadows of the one really real world. i think we exist in a "magic shadow show" that is a created reflection of God's country, the only concrete and absolute reality.