Thursday, 28 August 2014

What God has torn let no one stitch together

At a Peter Rollins event last night, one participant spoke of how he has lost Jesus and wondered if he was hiding behind some curtain. Someone else countered that the curtain has been torn - I assume referring to (Matthew 27:51.

Peter didn’t pick up that theme, although I know it is at the centre of his upcoming book, The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith. What was revealed behind the curtain in the Temple when it was torn from top to bottom? We'll wait and see how Peter answers that when the book arrives, but I'm sure the answer is going to be along the lines of "Nothing". There was nothing there, and the core outcome of the crucifixion was to reveal the emptiness that often hides behind the curtain of religion.

The curtain in the Temple marked a holy place into which none but the High Priest was allowed. By tearing the curtain, God declared that there was no such space, nowhere that needed to be hidden, and no-one who needed to be kept away.

The thought came to me that too much of institutional church history looks like an attempt to stitch the rent curtain back together again. Have we been guilty of hiding God behind facades of belief? What curtains (or even brick walls!) do we erect that create some false "holy place" to which we deny others access?

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