Wednesday, April 22, 2009

(3) The Meme

These different concepts of the Christ of Faith involved more than
various expressions of god-imagery. Rather this constantly
reproducing Majestic Meme also involved the historical circumstance
of a given time, in a given culture. It also resulted in marvelous
cultural expressions--as well as horrific human expressions. The
meme is not about perfection, but rather about evolution. And, as we
know, human evolution walks down a bumpy road with curves and
sometimes wrong turns. But it's wonderful when it goes forward.

Early Christianity reflected the "Light of the Gentiles," in that this
religion built upon the great Greco-Roman philosophies of
Platonism and Stoicism. When the classically trained Christian
"Fathers" declared Christ as the "Incarnation of the Logos," they were
directly relating such to Greek philosophy's name for the Foundation
of the Universe, the Logos! Hence they saw Christ as the living
image of the Logos. Christ was not only the King of Kings, but also
the Cosmic Christ--the Plenum, the Ground, the Godhead, the Lord
of the Universe!

Hence Church thinkers and artists began to see Christ as the
"Pantocrator." Particularly in Orthodox Christianity, the Christ as
Pantocrator was seen as the Ruler of the Universe, with his hand
raised both in authority and as a teacher to the world. The Eastern
Church installed artistic images of the Pantocrator in their churches,
once in the great dome of the Hagia Sophia, before it was plastered
over by the Muslims. Still they left a lovely Pantocrator over the
emperor's entrance. And the very first Pantocrator was discovered
in a desert monastery in Egypt. In the West, in Washington, D.C.
actually, there's the "Christ in Majesty." It's a wonderful rendition
of the Pantocrator.

And, of course, one of the most prominent images in the Church
is the crucifix--representing "Christ Crucified." And reformed
churches leaned more towards the empty cross, representing
resurrection and hope.

As for the "Monk who Rules the World," well that surely is an ideal
that spawned the Benedictine Age that ran its course for a thousand
years--from 500 c.e. to 1500 c.e. The Dark Ages and later the
Middle Ages were eventually lifted up by the Benedictine monks,
lifted from the near collapse of civilization in Europe right through to
the Renaissance. The monasteries were cultural beacons that kept
the light of knowledge flickering. Eventually villages, later towns,
were built around these monasteries. Additionally, the monks
secured some of the great works of the ancient Greco-Roman
Civilization, and intellectually and spiritually built upon them.

During this period, too, the great cathedrals were erected. Their
spires lifting up to heaven, their interior windows letting in more
and more light.

This was the period of the great mystics as well, a reflective period
pondering upon the soul, upon the soul's relationship to God. Hence
we have the image of Christ as the "Bridegroom of the Soul."

Eventually marvelous music and art came into play. Bach, Mozart,
Handel and many other great musicians--and great artists, too--
dedicated much of their work to God, specifically to the Christ,
mirroring the "Mirror of the Eternal."

All through, this Majestic Meme has played upon us human strings.
Lives have been dedicated to God in a myriad of ways. There's
the doctors, the missionaries, and many other vocations that reflect
Christ as the "Liberator." In due course, the Liberator became the
"Man who belongs to the World."

The Majestic Meme had spread all around the globe.

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