Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Departing from the Particular
Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory, and Identity,
Philip Sheldrake, John Hopkins/SCM, 2001, page 30-31
A theology of place must maintain the balance between a revelation - which by ots nature and relationship to us must be 'placed' - in the particular and the idea that G-d's place, because He is 'other', escapes the local. Sheldrak suggests that place is both here and now, but is also a pointer to somewhere else.
Our place is specified by G-d's commitment to the particularities of the world and of human history. The event of Jesus Christ is set in a particular time and place.
So what does that mean and what do we do with it? Sheldrake explains that becuase we are here, so the event needed to be here and our relationship with G-d, placed here as we are, relies on the particularity of the Christ event and our particularity:
The world of particular places is therefore the theatre of conversion, transformation and redemption.
But, Sheldrake continues:
Jesus' place is also marked by an empty tomb. 'He is not here; for He has been raised, as He said ... indeed He is going ahead of you'.
Do you see where Sheldrake is going?
G-d in Jesus cannot be simply pinned down to any here and there, thisand that. The place of Jesus is now perpetually elusive. He is always the one who has gone before. The be in the place of Jesus, therefore, is literally to be diciples, to be those who 'follow after' in the direction of Jesus' perpetual departure.