Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | September 16, 2008

“Old Man: Fade to Black”

In Archimandrite Zacharias’s “The Hidden Man of the Heart” a passing note on The Fall refocused my mind on a way of seeing I had passed over:

“Adam’s exile from Paradise precipitated the catastrophic divide into the visible and the invisible worlds.”

This stood out of course for its tie-back to the Creed, and because in many ways, it makes sense.  The darkness in early Genesis is the well from which Creation is drawn  … and may perhaps comprise the “unformed stuff” with which God creates…. but that speculation I leave to others.

We don’t have to get too complicated. We don’t even have to presuppose that the invisible refers to the 99% of dark matter that comprises the universe. More simply, we may consider this the divide between that which we choose to see and that which we cannot or will not. Blindness is a choice. And while our Creed  doesn’t deny existence of the unseen, we do seem to rush acknowledgment of its creation and its goodness, and move on to other matters. Yet when given time, this seems to form the well of our desire to know God… whether we gaze into it with our hearts, or reverently bow the knee.

For in the context of the Garden, the Scriptures suggested our blindness to the presence of God began with aversion of our eyes, or at least the eyes of faith, and silencing the prayer of our hearts. And this is continues at our election interrupted only by the singular sightings of the infrequent Prophets and holy mothers and fathers whose witness attests – even before Christ – to the truth that our blindness remains a choice for most but not all… and so underscores the continuity between the Old and New.

But here is this trick: the Good News is that this blindness is supposed to have ended with the Incarnation and Revelation of God’s Truth in the New Creation. The Herculean challenge, the exceptionalism and grant of this “knowledge” to only the few is ended… and the hidden teaching is made universal and open to all whose hearts look anew into the well.

As the Archimandrite Zacharias elaborates much further along:

“We have been created for the sole purpose of showing forth the virtues of God: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).”

And here at last, the physicality of a chosen people is transformed into a heritage beyond genes and as simply a gift of Grace.  So much lies between these two. And the puzzle of how opening our eyes could instead become tunneling of vision and a focus solely on ourselves divorced of the context of God – even before His voice is heard is revealed as the moment, and a vision of God wherein both are lessened and our awareness transformed from serenity to suffering. Thus the intended path of ascent to the godhead has proved literally a dead-end where our fears stop us cold.

This same path might have ended otherwise. Christ’s following this path without breech of prayer, without averting His gaze, and without stopping in his tracks turns the whole upside down, and inverts the pyramid as Archimandrite Zacharias refers to it. For Christ follows this descent, pushing beyond our fears, unafraid to suffer as a servant even beyond the point of death, even through the gates of Hell and back… so that the will of God, the vision of God, and the true light… even our very lives… though darkened for a pace, are  re-illumined. And more than that, it is both the same and a different Christ that is deified on the other side.. even as a promise is held open for us as well.

But in contemporary director-speak, I imagine we’d begin writing this: “Old Man: Fade to Black”.  And I guess that’s something to think about.


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