Tuesday, December 07, 2010
seat back straight and tray in up and locked position
The picture of this labyrinth is from All Saints Episcopal Church in Corpus Christ, Texas. I snagged it from my friend Jan's blog.
There are three things that capture my attention here. The first is the candles. I'm a sucker for candlelight, and when you add one layer of sacred mystery to another, cool things happen. At least in my world. Don't they in yours?
The second is how the angle of this shot makes one set of lights look like a runway. And the third is what's at the end of that "runway." That's my buddy down there propped against the wall, the Sinai Christ Pantocrator. I painted/wrote him last spring. Remember him? Yes, that's him to the right.
I just think it's cool that runway lights in a labyrinth culminate in this icon. I mean, it's a bit irreverent, sure, but isn't it also perfect? From a place of centering to take off into the sacred mystery of the Christ is like a prayer come true.
Think about it. You don't get to sacred mystery by closing your eyes and clicking your heels. You don't will yourself there. It takes a certain amount of anguish deciding what to pack, then schlepping your luggage to a terminal where you spend some time waiting in that neutral and anonymous, all-sorts-of-humanity-surrounding-you environment. As you wait for the appointed hour of departure the demands of what was left behind begin to recede while you watch a mother fully engaged with the antics of her young child. The teenager two seats over is fully engrossed in texting a friend, and you imagine the priorities of his world. Behind you the newspaper rattles as a grandfather shakes the folded sections for a closer view of the clues to the daily crossword. The pace of getting to here, to now, has slowed to the point of clear observation, and you hear your own breathing. Breathe in--and the strangers around you melt into a single awareness of humanity. Breathe out--and your collective concerns and pains and struggles and triumphs are released to the heart of God.
And then it's time. Down the narrow hall, through the cozy plane entrance and row eight, row ten, row fourteen and your seat is ready and waiting. The chatter of journeying companions becomes the prelude to the act of departure, the taxiing, the whine of engines whose pitch creeps up as the wing sweeps wide and into position for takeoff.
The open cockpit door reveals a glimpse of the halo in the distance, illumined by headlights. The hand is raised in benediction, the book of wisdom and will is held gently against the body broken. "Come," he says, eyes meeting yours, and the seat backs are straight and the trays in their up and locked position and the rumble of the wheels and engines blur into the melody of journey and anticipation.
The dark of night embraces all that you release as your head tips back against the seat and your heart leaves your chest and you say, "I come."