Two perspectives at once
Following on from yesterday’s post, some thoughts on holding two perspectives together at once.
In the 16th Century, Spanish monk St John of the Cross had a vision of Christ, seen from an altogether new perspective. So as not to lose this startling vision, he sketched it out on the edge of a manuscript.
Centuries later a very different Spaniard, Salvador Dali, picked up on the image and painted the masterpiece below. Painted between 1950 and 1951 he employed Russell Saunders, a Hollywood stunt man, to pose for the role.
For days on end, Saunders was tied to the cross in Dali’s studio for twenty minutes at a time, so that the artist could capture his perfectly sculpted physique. Dali wanted his to be, as he put it, ‘a beautiful Christ’.
As well as being extremely beautiful, there is something odd about Dali’s painting. If you look carefully, the perspective is impossible. We are at once looking up to the boat and down on the shoulders of Christ who is suspended in the air above the boat! If only we could achieve something of the trick which Dali has executed here we might gain some of God’s dual perspective. He, of course sees both what is and what might be. He looks both down and up, forward and back, all at once.
As preachers our constant prayer has to be that he would lend us just a little more of his perspective each time we preach.