by Ken Rolheiser
Jesus as the vanishing point in history

The idea that art imitates life is as old as Aristotle.

Have you seen a photo or painting with railway tracks or a road going off into the distance? Quite often the parallel lines fade into one as the vanishing point is reached.

Artists use a concept called vanishing point which depicts a point of disappearance or cessation. Often it is at the height of near one-third of the picture and may involve the horizon intersecting with the road or path.

In the 1971 movie Vanishing Point Kowalski (Barry Newman) is to deliver a 1970 Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco. As a speed junkie he attracts police chases through several states until he meets the final roadblock of two bulldozers. His vanishing point is a fatal fireball.

Other images of this tool of artists can be seen in Stephen Spender’s paintings of the train where the steam driven locomotive blazes through the landscape in glory toward a future of expanding technology.

The Last Supper is an image familiar to most readers. Here the architectural lines of the ceiling, the focus of the disciples’ eyes, the table line and even the foreground all lead the eye to the center of the picture which is the presence of Jesus.

Jesus is the vanishing point in the history of mankind. Our encounter with this Saviour of Christmas may well represent the end of life as we knew it before encountering God. Jesus is the Living Word, and his presence is in us as the Spirit pours out truth and grace upon us.

In our spiritual picture of 2017 we are presented with a canvas of possibilities. The Word Among Us Advent 2016 asks us to be aware of what God may be inspiring in us. It may be as simple as a word like Patience or Rest. Perhaps Love is your word.

In my New Year’s column I wrote, “If people see compassion and mercy in us already, then we are set to do great things in the New Year… All we need to do now is continue to be a witness to the Love Jesus came to bring.”

Maybe Joy is our word. As Christians we live that joy and pass it on to the world. Hope can fill us in 2017.

With the intersecting of Christ and humankind the Kingdom of God has come. Gloom and darkness have vanished. “The word that God has written in the brow of every person is hope.” Victor Hugo

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