Monday, January 25, 2010

1 Corinthians 11: 23-25

I visited The Sacred Made Real exhibition at the National Gallery last week.

In 17th-century Spain, a new kind of realism in art emerged. In order to revitalise the Catholic Church, painters and sculptors worked together in an attempt to make the sacred as realistic and accessible as possible.

Venerating/praying to painted statues is not really my religious cup of tea, but I could see something of the potential power of them. After all, is one not, in a communion service, attempting also to make the sacred real and accessible?

I don't mean in the sense of transubstantiation (for that's not my cup of tea - or bread and wine - either), or even in the attempting to remind folk of the actions of Christ in lifting a chalice, or breaking bread - although that is partly what I have in mind.

I'm not making myself clear, even to myself. A sacred mystery here which I'm only clouding. And that's not what I want to do, for Christ is present, in and through and with his people, perhaps especially real and remembered when we share together in bread and wine.


  1. Don't you think the Catholic Church in the 17C, recognised the fact that most people were busy staying alive, caught up in their everyday lives. Perhaps needing a tangible life like image to shock them back into feeling the presence of God.
    Traditionaly Monks took on the role of praying for everyone else, because thay had time.
    Maybe that seeing the suffering of Christ ...almost for real...helped people to do more in the way of contemplative prayer themselves. ? (Long question...sorry!)

  2. Yes, would be my short answer. And perhaps nowadays, in a largely secular society, where people are caught up in their everyday lives, a similar shock might do us all good.

  3. Your Communion service does make the sacred real and accessible.............Magic! ?


Keep it clean, folks.