Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Father, which art in secret

It's not an obscure verse, but I was struck nonetheless when I read this at Jon Cogburn's blog:
5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 
I had forgotten the bit about God being in secret. Other translations confirm the basic correctness of the King James version, it seems to me.

I was reminded of this when I read Camilla Kronqvist's paper "Lost and Found: Selfhood and Subjectivity in Love" (forthcoming in Philosophical Investigations). She quotes a character from a Paul Auster novel:
By belonging to Sophie, I began to feel as though I belonged to everyone else as well. My true place in the world, it turned out, was somewhere beyond myself, and if that place was inside me, it was also unlocatable. This was the tiny hole between self and not-self, and for the first time in my life I saw this nowhere as the exact centre of the world.
I don't know that there is a connection between these passages, but I'd like to make one. The tiny hole, the exact center of the world, the unlocatable place that is beyond myself and inside me, that is discovered through love, is something that I would like to associate, if not identify, with the God who is not the God of the politically conservative Christians. A tiny God, the hole in the mint of life, is one I could almost believe in. (I'm sure he'll be thrilled to know.)

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