Saturday, April 30, 2011

Magic Eye = Kenotic Eye

A sermon broadcast from St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Easter Day, was revelatory about the state of religious mis-understanding, the state of some clergy and the institutional church at large.

It began in hope: the analogy the preacher used was a good one. He described the 'magic eye' 3D images hidden in 2D patterns that were very popular several decades ago and have never entirely disappeared. The preacher said that he had never been able to see one of the 3D images. Whether this was true or just a trope is impossible to know, but if it is true, it says that this person doesn't know how or when to let go. I found this need continually to control enormously sad.

He went on to say that the disciples had trouble recognising the risen Christ. He said that seeing the risen Christ is not through a magic eye; the only way to see is with through the eyes of belief. I almost cried. Propositional belief, while sometimes necessary, closes the eyes.

For the magic eye is a kenotic eye, an eye of faith. In order to see the 3D image one has to stop searching for it and allow it to emerge from the pattern. It's an excellent example of the paradox of intention essential to communication between the superficial, self-conscious mind and the deep brain. The kenotic eye is essential for restoring this communication, which we allow the noise and frenetic activity of our culture to shut off.

Restoring the circulation between deep silence and our everyday awareness is the purpose of the spiritual life. It is by 'putting on the mind'—or in this case, the eyes—of Christ (Phil. 2:5-11) that we see the risen Christ. As Julian says, 'And then our lord opened my gostly eye and shewid me my soule in midds of my herte'. To see the risen Christ at work in the world means that we must stop trying to control the world: it is rather through kenotic receptivity, beholding, that we create a welcoming space of opportunity in which this mystery can reveal itself.

Resurrection is possible only because of Jesus' utter kenosis, his beholding; his self-emptying is the en-Christing process, an act of faith for which there is no guarantee of resurrection (the verb for 'therefore' in Phil. 2:5-11 has the sense of a held breath, not of QED). And it is only by becoming like him that we can see him.


Post a Comment

<< Home