[…]the transformative power of the religious imagination, the ability to search out the operation of God’s grace in the complex tangle of our lives. –Gregory Wolfe, from “Base Imitation,” as collected in Intruding Upon the Timeless (p49), emphasis mine
I’ve been nibbling Wolfe’s essays for a handful of weeks now. Like the work he and the rest of the Image editorial team share within their journal, they’re dense and interesting even while they’re brief. Not to be swallowed in a gulp, like a Dorothy Sayers mystery. And these essays have held up well; I often forget that these were written starting in the late 1980s, and the collection was first published in 2003. The tensions pulling at artists who are also Christians do not seem to have shifted much in 30-some years.
I’m not quite half-way through, and the above quote continues to be my favorite. That core question drives much of my poetry. Well, of any of my writing. The operation of God’s grace, God’s connection, God’s intention… Making no claims regarding my success or lack, writing helps me pin the ephemeral and so try to recognize it.
In recognition comes acknowledgement. And acknowledging God’s grace is surely one of the most constant activities we believers have.
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
–Westminster Shorter Catechism, 1647