Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Vision of Deuteronomy" (3rd of 3 posts)

The discussion here continues from my two preceding posts:

Not everything is completely bright and sunny as we move past the mountain of the covenant and into the right side of Pierre-Henry's image. We do get a clear sky that "represents the new life in the Promised Land, under God's love and protection." However, a dark cloud in the upper right represents "the realism of Deuteronomy--that not everything will go perfectly." At the same time, there is a positive aspect to this cloud. For Pierre-Henry, it also represents the cloud of God (cf., e.g., Numbers 11:25 E; Mark 9:7). The cloud both reveals God and conceals God, preventing any dangerous direct contact with the divine, which would be deadly (see e.g., Deuteronomy 4:33).

Class discussion and reflection on the image revealed several interesting dimensions of interpretation. Gary Taylor, for example, noted that as the eye moves from left to right, out of Egyptian slavery into the Promised Land, the eye must broaden its perspective to take in more along the vertical axis. At the top we have the cloud of God's presence; at the bottom we have the tree planted by the stream, symbolizing God's good, bountiful life in the land (cf. Jeremiah 17:7-8). As the journey of Deuteronomy progresses, there is a broadening of spiritual perspective, a broadening of the richness of life. Deuteronomy's broad, good life includes God's presence and life in community rooted in the material, natural world.


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