Day 3 of Kate Motaung's 31 days of free writes, October 2015 edition. As usual, we get to write for five minutes, literally free and clear without edits.
Saturday 03 October: Capture
When I discovered the blog button pic for today featured a camera with the word capture, for some reason I came close to raging because it was so ordinary, predicable, so totally conventional. Of course when I take photos I sometimes think in terms of a "capture" of that scene, that moment, that time – in order to capture a memory – but can't people allow themselves flights of fancy?
Today my words about capture relate to people who believe they can capture, contain, restrain the God who more than fills heaven and earth. The idea of a domesticated, contained, captured – captivated? – god was one of the reformer Martin Luther's main theological currents... scripture and our own lives show us a God whose presence and actions are free, elusive, unpredictable, unconventional, and often very very strange from a human perspective. More Luther: "God without strange work is God without proper work!"
The bible brings us a complex history of God's presence and of human attempts to capture, to contain God. Remember the Jerusalem Temple? God did not want to be like those other divinities of the Ancient Near East, closed up in a little box that was the mini-image of the earth and the heavens. After the destruction of the Temple, at least for a while people realized the actual expansive, boundless creation that includes earth and heaven truly was God's temple, place of residence. Had captured God? ...
Short version wrap-up: with a camera, a sketchpad, a shopping bag or other artifact, we can capture a scene, memory, emotion, a product or a purchase but we cannot capture God, yet God has come to earth, captured each of us, and made a home with all creation.
Another observation: I started this post with my anger that was close to rage about how conventional people can be, yet spoken and written language and words (and actions) absolutely carry expected, everyday, conventions of meaning and reference. In other words, what's so bad about the expected? Communication already is hard enough, and would be even more crazy-making if we needed to question and mine the meanings more than we already do behind everything everyone wrote or spoke. I remember my own blog post late last December when I commented on my delight at the female teenager thurifer at the Christmas Eve liturgy and how moving it was especially to watch her censing the gathered assembly. I wrote effectively I'd captured a picture of her, but didn't have permission to post it. What's wrong with that? I'm saying I took her picture. So simple, plain, pure and clear. So conventional, easy to understand, simple to capture.