“I believe in one God….maker of all things visible and invisible…”
Through lent this year I have been learning to sing the Creed; beautiful words rendered exquisitely more intimate in relation to communion generally and revealing a deeper inner truth of a complex and joyful relationship with God in particular. Music triggering emotions which transcend the literal aspects of the world around us.
As is so often the case, I struggle to make sense of these and other words in the literal sense and I am coming to realise that words in isolation do not bring me to a fuller understanding of their message or purpose. And I think that is equally true of things we say, of things we look at, of things we do. I am learning to open my eyes to the context of things in the world around me, a sort of horizon broadening exercise. And it is a little scary but immensely rewarding. It reminds me of an old university friend who had a passion for climbing. He would drag me up narrow snow and ice clad ridges, me in a perpetual state of trepidation but trusting in his companionship and in his rope. The feeling of nausea and uncertainty was dispelled whenever we reached the top, where the sheer wonder of God’s terrifyingly beautiful creation was revealed in all its glory. Reluctantly tearing my eyes away from the narrow ridge, I could understand when I saw the bigger picture.
This week I embarked on a fascinating series of discussions surrounding the ethics of street photography and the issue of whether it is appropriate to take photographs of members of the public. The pompous lawyer in me cried “never- right to privacy!” Blustering without thought, pontificating without insight. As we all so often do. But when I reflected on photography in relation to art, literature, music I realised I was edging closer to the top of a hitherto unclimbed snow and ice encrusted knife edged mountain ridge. Looking closely at the photograph of a woman sitting in what looked like quiet reflection, I saw a beauty radiate from it in a way I could not have perceived as being possible. The relationship between lines, colour, surroundings. Nothing to do with my blustery pontification.
A myriad of things crowded for position in my overstretched mind. Some physical, many abstract. All pointed towards one revealing truth; that the beauty of God is in all things, seen and unseen. The challenge for me is to lift up my head, open my eyes and allow the utter joy and wonder of God to enter me.
I begin now to understand those words in Hebrews, “the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not yet visible.” And why the Creed is such an ancient treasure of the Church in the pursuit of understanding.
Seeing God and beauty in all things made- what a challenge, the most exhilarating and exciting challenge of a beautiful lifetime. No matter who we are or where we are from.