Coram Deo in the Studio

The notion of coram deo is a theological and para-theological idea that has been held forth at various times. I’ve even got a pastor friend who has a church named Coram Deo. Essentially, the Latin phrase means “in the presence of God” or “before the face of God.”

Well, I guess some would argue that we’re all always in the presence of the divine, but even the bible says that no one has ever seen God (Exodus 33:20). Elsewhere, however, we note a caveat:

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:12

If we love, we see God. Divine love is manifest in that seeing.

Hmmm…

I decided to do a little survey of my studio. Who is here? In loving, where do I see God?

cosplay matt and jesse
…in a Polaroid of me and Jesse all dressed up.
…in a sketch of Norby talking about his art.
…in a bobble-head of Bob Ross.
…in a poster of Anne Harris from one of her The Mind’s I exhibitions.
…in a portrait of me created by my daughter Miranda after my heart attack.
…in a card given to me by my friend Ryan many years ago.
…in a photo of my friend Peter when he was a child.
…in the MFA thesis card for my friend Eric.
…in the face of my cousin Chris, my first friend in adventuring, building, and dreaming.
…in the laid back gaze of ‘Lex in his studio at Northwestern.
…in the portrait of me with Darth Vader made by my former grad student Jane Jun.
…in the raised eyebrow of Alison, way back in that studio apartment in Evanston.

I have a lot more faces and visages and signifiers of people in my studio. These suffice.

Look around… see who you love and who loves you. In acknowledging them – in believing that they are real – you make divine love real. When we don’t believe that others are real – that their desires, experiences, or feelings are somehow not like ours – we dehumanize them. We de-divine their reality. They are miracles. We are privileged to be in the presence of other motes of matter that catch the divine light.

Let’s all recognize that.

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