Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Second Coming

There is an old and powerful idea that, when Christ comes again, He won't come like an alien in a spaceship (contrary to popular belief) but in our hearts, in what our hearts are then able to see in the world, and in how we then act in that world.

An anamorphoscope

Swedenborg, for instance, insists that the Second Coming will take place "in the Word," or, in other words, as He appears to us in it. When he "comes in the clouds of heaven," these clouds are the way truth appears to our senses, the literal narrative of scripture, things that are good and true but seem disconnected and arbitrary, i.e. not just scripture but the physical world itself, and when He appears in them, He is the divine life that will then animate it like my soul shines out from the sinew and pores of my face. The Second Coming, in other words, is when those sinew and pores don't matter anymore: when the arbitrary physical details of this life fade away, like when, in good conversation, you don't hear the sounds or even the words someone is saying (even though you do) but only the ideas that animate them from within. The Second Coming is liberation of Being

Scripture, all truth, and the world itself, like an anamorphoscope, will resolve itself into a living image of He who lies behind it like I lie behind my nose and mouth. His countenance will appear in the Word, in the world, to you, to me. He will animate us, animate the world, not controlling us any more than we control our arms when I decide to move it. For I don't say: "Arm, move two inches to the right. Good job, arm!" The arm moves itself, and I live through that movement. Likewise, when He comes, we will all be individual, distinct, free agents in and through whom Christ appears, in whom Christ's body builds and feels itself, where his countenance is engraved. It will all be a great spontaneous dance, effortless divine choreography, resolving itself into an image of Him who lives in and through its movements. Our gestures will be divine; each movement a sign and a token; life will be sacred again.

Then we will see the truth of the statement in the Doctrine and Covenants that "I am in your midst and ye cannot see me." He has *always* been here, appearing in the eyes of one who loves you, in the words you desperately need to hear from scripture, in the sudden, subtle light that pours over a sacrament meeting when the speaker begins to speak words you need to hear. This is not something that will come violently. It won't be scary. Instead, it will be like late in Genesis when Joseph comes out of disguise and we, with startled eyes, wonder how we could have ever *not* recognized him.

And this isn't something I'm just making up. Not only does Swedenborg think so, not only do many Sufis speak of a divine figure who will appear in the very countenance of this world, but many people who take psychedelics (with their mind intact the whole time) talk about how they can't imagine how they could have *not* seen the faces there in the walls, the childlike divine intelligence weaving the world into Being, the love that *is* the reality of existence.

This love will disclose itself. It will appear in the clouds of heaven. It, no, *He* will animate the world and the world will remember what it is for the first time in millennia. It will remember its song, and it will sing again. The colors will return to the air, and magic will return to life. We have forgotten, but we will have remembered. And all will be well. And all manner of things will be well.

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