This post was provided by David Perry and was first posted on visual theology as Advent As A Mirror of Possibility and Expectation. If you would like a sneak preview of some of the other upcoming posts check out the links on the Advent synchroblog site:
Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror outside the Nottingham Playhouse Theatre offers a strikingly attention-grabbing perspective on what is an otherwise unremarkable and fairly mundane space. It is as though the artist has designed the mirror to take this straightforward reality and imaginatively pour out its essence across the polished surface in a completely alternative representation of the context in which the viewer stands.
This perception-shifting piece of highly polished stainless steel reminds me of the mirror-like qualities of the texts, truths and promises which shape our experience of Advent. These take contexts which appear to be numbingly familiar, dispiritingly hopeless or unchangingly life-sapping and transforms our perception of them on the sparkling surface of possibility and expectation which God inspires within us and amongst us.
Advent challenges us to hold up this mirror of alternative realties and to feel the surge of transformational energy which flows when we see life from God’s perspective. Like the reflection in my image of Anish Kapoor’s sky mirror, the divine viewpoint revealed through Advent is anything but dull or monochromatic; it is colourful, vivid and stunning to behold, full of possibility and expectation. Even in the darkness. Then it is as though the mirrors gathers in all the available light and intensifies it into a freshly meaningful picture of the most brilliant colours and liquid shapes.
In today’s edition of The Guardian the renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz writes of the adventurous expectation which is essential to her creativity as a photographer. Needing to fill herself up again with all that she cared about she set off on a photographic pilgrimage and discovered renewed inspiration and reinvigorated her way of seeing.
In Christian Spirituality Advent serves a similar purpose. We journey to fill ourselves up with all that God cares about, and in so doing find ourselves brought back to the essence of our humanity. Advent is a mirror of possibility and expectation which liberates our seeing and inspires our discipleship afresh.
Through the sheer brilliance of God’s pure primary colours of grace our monochrome world becomes vivid with hope.