Angels in the Architecture

As I type this the first little pastel swaths are visible out my window here on the east side of Braddock Mountain. We never get to see sunsets here. The sun goes over the ridge early in the day—maybe 4 o’clock-ish now, and so beautiful sunsets happen without us. But we do have the corner on the sunrise. It’s awfully pretty up here at dawn and the trees get all silhouette-y against it.

When I lived over on the east side of the city, I remember being flabbergasted when a friend mentioned that he never saw the sunsets. As a “flatlander,” I couldn’t imagine such a thing. What do you mean you never see a sunset—it’s right there! Now I live over here and no sunset is a daily occurrence. It’s all a matter of perspective. As with a lot of things in this big world, it’s there—I just can’t see it.

Perspective is a crazy thing. We have an “angel” over at Carroll Creek that has been painted as perspective art. Here’s how she looks from the most vantage points.

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From most standpoints, she looks all skewed like this. If you’re down on Carroll Creek you’ll see folks moving around the creekside or up on the bridge she’s painted on to get in the right place, but the only right place is inside the adjacent art gallery. They’ve been told at the nearby kiosk that the painting isn’t meant to look all wonky but you have to be in the right spot to experience the real painting.

Here’s how she looks from the vantage point from inside the designated window in the gallery.

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Our world is skewed from most vantage points. You’ll see people going all over the place and doing crazy stuff trying to see it right. This started in Genesis 2. However, before that, in Genesis 1, we’re told that God made a good world. That’s really the only kind he could make as it’s not in His/Her nature to make a bad world. It was only then in chapter 2, that Adam and Eve stepped out of the right spot and into a world of the belief of separation from God, which blooms into a belief that God can be angrily terrifying and will withhold good from His/Her children. The origin of the word “sin” comes from an archery term that talks about not hitting the target–not getting to the right spot.

If you didn’t get to that window to see the correct version of the angel, you’d simply believe the artist made it that way for some reason and that you’d never see what the right version of the angel was. You might even go along forgetting that it was skewed. You’d just say to friends, “Well, there’s the wonky angel. We don’t know why it’s that way—just somebody wanted to paint her all catawampus and we just deal with it.” And your friends would take pictures like that first one and that’s all they would know about it. Frederick has this messed up angel painted on a bridge.

It’s Christmas tomorrow. Jesus came into the world standing in the right spot. He believed in a God who was good: all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present. He saw the correct version of everyone he came into contact with. He didn’t waste time on that stretched out, inappropriate view. He knew the truth of it and He spent his time here showing us where to stand.

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