Image and Glory
[written in late 2011 at the time of the Occupy movement's settlement at St Paul's Cathedral]
I've been thinking a lot recently about 'image'
Recent events at St Paul's Cathedral have been reported in the press in terms of the image of the Church as a whole being 'tarnished'.
'Image' is a central concept now in out culture - for politician, celebrities - and even the Church.
But the task of projecting a 'good image' is a hard master, a dominating idol. Get it wrong and you commit public suicide (like the clergy at St Paul's).
Keeping your image involves for celebrities surgery and botox; for politicians it involves constant looking in the mirror of polls and newspapers editorials.
But where in the securing of 'image' is there space to be human: to be wrinkly, old, sometimes wrong, eccentric, undecided?
In religious language there is a word: 'glory'. When I hear it I think of golden halos, Christmas cards and a warm feeling... But what glory really means in the Greek of the Bible is 'image' (actually it means 'rumour' - what people say about someone else).
When Christians and Jews say that we should not glory in anything or anyone but God - that should mean that we let go of 'image', that we are to be freed of its domination.
The chasing of image makes us less than human, glory is for God alone.