"I find myself wondering again and again what it would be like actually to live every moment of one's life with an awareness of God..." D. Allen

January 31, 2012

Living in the Now: Present Patriarchs

All of history is unified in one moment: Christ's resurrection. Depicted in this icon is Christ, bridging a living way, embracing Solomon and David, Adam and Eve, and Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Isaiah. In a way, a reading of these testimonies is a proper introduction, as ancient and present meet in a single moment ("....so he takes Abraham and ourselves by the hand and introduces us to each other..."). God's Word is living and breathing, and ancient patriarchal testimony points to the centrality and present-ness of Christ:

The Bible is not a human record from the distant past, full of a mixture of inspiring and not-so-inspiring stories or thoughts; nor is it a sort of magical oracle, dictated by God. It is rather the utterances and records of human beings who have been employed by God to witness to his action in the world, now given to us by God so that we may learn who he is and what he does; and the 'giving' by God is by means of the resurrection of Jesus. The risen Jesus takes hold of the history of God's people from its remotest beginnings, lifts it out of death by bringing it to completeness, and presents it to us as his word, his communication to us here and now. Because we live in the power of the risen Christ, we can hear and understand this history, since it is made contemporary with us; in the risen Christ, David and Solomon, Abraham and Moses, stand in the middle of our assembly, our present community, speaking to us about the God who spoke with them in their lifetimes in such a way that we can see how their encounter with God leads towards and is complete in Jesus. In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus speaks of Abraham being glad to see his coming (John 8:56) this is the thought that the icon presents. Just as Jesus introduces Adam and Eve as he takes each of them by the hand, so he takes Abraham and ourselves by the hand and introduces us to each other. And from Abraham we learn something decisive about faith, about looking to an unseen nature and about trusting that the the unseen future has the face of Christ. Thus a proper Christian reading of the Bible is always a reading that looks and listens for that wholeness given by Christ's resurrection; if we try to read any passage without being aware of the light of the resurrection, we shall read inadequately.

Excerpt from:

The Dwelling of the Light, Rowan Williams

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