Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Spirituality of the Cocoon

"Elohim Creating Adam" by William Blake
(view larger image)
The Spirituality of the Cocoon - by me
Almost but not quite
Across my face, shafts of light
Fully formed but not created

Encased in glass
Etching my dreams across the pane
Twisted, crimped and dangling

Wings rustle above me
Soft hair brushes my cheek
Gasping, dusty lungs crackle

Gelatinous eyes rolling, sloshing
Then coming to rest, opening
Ensnaring vines crack and fall away
A mighty wind rises with me

Calling out, fading with the rising sun:
"Awake, O sleeper,
and rise from the dead!"

This summer past, I was looking through William Blake paintings in Google's image search.  This one gave me pause and it became my desktop wallpaper for about a month.  It also inspired me to do something I don't do very often: write a poem.  I don't claim to be good at writing poetry; quite the opposite actually.  But Blake's painting and my poetic response to it both illustrate an important aspect of my theology: artistry.  Anything I do, whether it's writing or speaking or singing or playing or drawing or anything else, I hope to do in a creative, imaginative way.  The Bible is, among many significant things, full of art. 

The last line of the poem, for instance, is a direct quote (from the NIV) of Ephesians 5:15, itself set in quotes in the context of the letter.  I haven't checked any commentaries about this, but it is perhaps a reference to a then-contemporary hymn used by the early church.  If this is the case here, then Paul's use of a line from the hymn was intentional, and he would know that it would trigger recognition from its original hearers.

The self-referential and referential nature of scripture (and art) fascinates me, and illustrates the fact that people throughout history mix forms and create artistic adaptions of prior art and imbue them with significant meaning; sometimes restated, sometimes reinterpreted.  For Christians, this can be extended into the work of the Spirit in the writing, collection, translation, and even reading of holy scripture.  The God that is making all things new is indeed creative and imaginative!

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