My hands are full.
My hands are full.
Romans 1:15-20 – I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome… For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. FOR HIS INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, HAVE BEEN CLEARLY PERCEIVED, ever since the creation of the world, IN THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE.
Life is a chaotic tide of experience. It would be a nearly impossible task to record in any order all of the physical and emotional experiences you have in a single hour, much less your lifetime. One of the major functions of art is to examine the seeming chaos of life and to discern the patterns and rhythms and then to create a narrative order that would lead a person to find meaning in their own chaos; to order an unordered fallen creation.
The goal of the artist should be to render the things that have been made in such a way that the invisible attributes of God would be clearly perceived. As N.T. Wright states it, art should “come to terms with both the wounds of the world and the promise of resurrection”; art ought to recognize the patterns, rhythms and cadence in the wounds of the world, and offer a promise, in its own beauty and naming of Christ, of a new creation where the tears are wiped away. Art ought to be eager to preach the gospel to those in Rome.
In all of this I realized, if I want to write, or if I want to make anything that might truly be called art then I must not simply be acquainted with the wounds of the world–I must became a cartographer of my own wounds. I must map their terrain and navigate their crevices to trace their fissures and fault lines. The gangrenous stench of their festering must sting my nostrils. I must learn the cadence of my own limping. But I must also hear the voice that echoes off the walls of the empty tomb–He is not here. He is risen. It is only in Christ where both the sorrow and the joy of the world perfectly meet. It is the wounded one who purchases for us a woundless world where all the sad things become untrue.
You could almost think the word synonymous
with mind, given our so far narrow
history, and the excessive esteem
in which we have been led to hold what is,
in this case, our rightly designated
nervous systems. Little wonder then
that some presume the mind itself both part
and parcel of the person, the very seat
of soul and, lately, crucible for a host
of chemical incentives—combinations
of which can pretty much answer for most
of our habits and for our affections.
When even the handy lexicon cannot
quite place the nous as anything beyond
one rustic ancestor of reason, you might
be satisfied to trouble the odd term
no further—and so would fail to find
your way to it, most fruitful faculty
untried. Dormant in its roaring cave,
the heart’s intellective aptitude grows dim,
unless you find a way to wake it. So,
let’s try something, even now. Even as
you tend these lines, attend for a moment
to your breath as you draw it in: regard
the breath’s cool descent, a stream from mouth
to throat to the furnace of the heart.
Observe that queer, cool confluence of breath
and blood, and do your thinking there.
Scott Cairns, “Adventures in New Testament Greek: Nous” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted without the permission of Zoo Press. Source: Philokalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002)