Monday, August 6, 2007

From Cross to Crucifix

Till a few years ago, I used to prefer a Cross over a Crucifix. Actually, I was a bit uncomfortable with crucifix. Crucifix seemed invoke somewhat messy and painful sensations in me. In comparison, cross appeared to be neat and elegant. These days, I prefer a crucifix over a cross. I feel that crucifix is more real. May be it is because I can relate better with a crucifix now. I think that it reflects a change in my perspective on life over the years.

Till a few years ago, my self image was that of a person who is 'not perfect but largely OK and in control'. Over the years, expanding life has brought in new complexities, problems and paradoxes. Many of these (especially the paradoxes) have no immediate solutions (in the usual meaning of the term 'solution') and hence one has to live with them. Hence, I am beginning to understand the inherent 'messiness' in life. May be, it is not appropriate to call it 'messiness' (as it has a negative connotation). May be, it is the essential reality of life and spiritual growth and anything 'neater' than this would take away from the richness of life. This also makes one more humble and more welcoming of God's grace! Grace is an essential requirement for successfully grappling with the problems, complexities and paradoxes and to learn and grow in the process.

Another relevant factor in my case may be an increased awareness of the reality of the 'person' of Christ - in the sense of being 'fully God and fully man' at the same time. Now, this mystery (of being 'fully God and fully man at the same time') is something that I have very much struggled to understand over the years, often making many mistakes in the process. It is very easy to make the mistake of underestimating one of the aspects and overestimating the other aspect.

For example, a few years ago I thought that Christ was essentially a divine being and that his human nature was secondary - something that the divine being can put on and take off - almost like a cloth - to achieve the divine objectives. The problem with this kind of thinking is that this could lead to the conclusion that the crucifixion and the suffering of Christ was not fully real (at least in the physical/human plane) or that the 'teachings of Christ' was more important than the 'life of Christ on the earth'. With God's grace, after many messy, painful and highly personal struggles with the ambiguities, problems and paradoxes of life over many years (a process that might be very similar to what is meant by the 'circumcision of the heart'), now I think that Christ's crucifixion and suffering was real and that the 'life of Christ on the earth' (as 'fully man and fully God at the same time') is what makes his teachings real. Again I believe that Christ also experienced joy (in addition to sorrow) during his life on earth and that his joy was equally real as his sorrow. I also believe and and pray that my understanding of this mystery would continue to evolve !

Recently, I came to know that my initial inference (underestimating the the humanness of Christ) was a heresy called 'Docetism' (attributed mainly to Gnostics) that existed during the first few centuries of the Christian Era. May be I should try to learn more about Church history !

1 comment:

C.K.Samuel said...

"Seek to know the Truth and truth will set you free." Our assumptions and conclusions are changing with new understanding of what Truth really is. Our 'answers' are revelations of God in our quest to know him as he is.