Knowing about ourselves and our Creator are intertwined.
My favorite corner downtown has within its reach art, music, books, coffee, and food. If I could afford to, I’d live there and never leave the block, while a rotation of artists, musicians, and writers filled each venue, illuminating truth. Could I find the Creator on this creative corner?
Art illuminates the truth.
It shows us who we are, paints our humanity, bypasses the entanglement of words to bring our soul to understanding. When we see Picasso’s, Blind Man’s Meal, we can feel his loneliness and thus better accept our own. The joy, the memory, of discovery is ours when we spend a minute with Renoir’s Gabriel et Jean (top of blog image). When art sheds healing light onto each wound of life, we inch closer to making peace with the many insults pockmarking our memory.
Then science shows us a strand of DNA and we feel wonder even before we understand it. (skip forward if you’re not in the mood to geek out) DNA is amazing: it stores blueprints for every short-lived cell in my body, and yet the DNA itself can last hundreds of thousands of years. It is small enough to be seen only with an electron microscope but somehow contains over 700 Megabytes of data, leading computer hardware designers to copy its design. Data scientists are building databases of unusual size (D-O-U-S’s for Princess Bride fans?) to unravel the mysterious coding sequences which make me – me.
But images of eternity are not themselves eternity.
We must take our art, our DNA, our human experience, and hold it up to the light. Instead of being squished between microscope slides, we might imagine them printed onto old square Kodak slides and projected onto an empty wall of a cathedral. We could glaze these into stained-glass and leave them up for the sunlight to shine through, casting images onto the concrete floor.
It becomes a double projection: We are projected up into the form of stained glass, then God projects back through the stained glass. With each projection, each painting, each well-crafted song, each scientific discovery: the less foggy is our mirror.
If art can know the soul and science can know the body and music can know the heart, then we – miraculous combinations of these and more – can surely know the Divine.
The breathing bashful bloody human can know the Creator. Next post will bring out some of the problems with this God-through-the-stained-glass model, but for now, sit back and let the light shine in.
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