It would be worth having a closer look at the surface of the pieces of furniture and the decorations with which we are surrounded. It seems that there is ‘a uniform’ our rooms are wearing. The surfaces are nice to the eye. ‘Clear’ lines, white, almost sterile surfaces. Laminated floors, shiny, nice, but thin, without any depth. Plastic-varnish. A bit like our recent cars. Shiny, metallic imitations these modern car interiors are almost vulgar. These surfaces, if we are critical, only imitate quality. Easily disposable. Light-weight. If they suffer a surface injury that’s the end.
I had a purpose with the above (perhaps exaggerating) description. The modern aesthetics that surround us have another, far more significant, implicit meaning. Their ‘sterility’ is also a denial. A denial of human vulnerability. They (on our behalf) try to suppress our very nature, that we are vulnerable by time. Mortality and sufferance need to be hidden from our eyes. They would cause anxiety.
Isaiah’s portrait of the Messiah cuts through these denials. The ‘surface of the Gospel’ feels differently. It is time worn, our vulnerability, and weariness is reflected in it. But they reward us with depth. They invite us to accept the depths of our lives. The words of the Gospel want us to be brave, and also proud of, when facing who we really are. Children of time, marked by the scars of our personal and collective history. They are imperatives to see beyond our present, its siren surfaces.
All what Isaiah says of Him an invitation to genuine depths. For there is authentic power, love, attention and compassion which chooses us. ‘A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse… on him the spirit of the Lord rests, a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and power… He does not judge by appearances, he gives no verdict on hearsay, but judges the wretched with integrity, and with equity gives a verdict t for the poor of the land.’
In this new light, suddenly, all what surrounds starts regaining their in-depth beauty. Somehow our tings start to last, and lose their ‘empty sterility’, and more and more reflect us. Our own transformation, when ‘our home will be glorious’.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..