The “Poor Man’s Bible”

I have been told that the art of mime/clown was developed in the middle ages in the Church.  The mime’s face started with the base of white, which represented death, but then it would be overlaid with color, which symbolized the resurrection.  During the sermon, the mime would come out and be the audio-visual for the preacher, pantomiming what the preacher was talking about.  If this is true, then it would be a classic case of symbiotic benefit: between the preacher and the mime, each gave deeper meaning to what the other was doing.

An example of this is when on one Sunday my Dad had invited a pastor who was also a mime, who pantomimed at least certain parts of the service.  My Dad wondered at what he would do when he came to blessing Holy Communion.  At that place, the pastor lifted to the Lord a loaf somewhat like a French bread, then facing the people, plunged a cross made of spikes into it, tearing the loaf into two.  It was a very effective depiction of Jesus’ Body broken for us.

Without “The Story” (see last post) it would have been a dramatic action but with little meaning.  But with “The Story” – the words of blessing that have been repeated every Sunday – it had the ability to shock us into realizing in a different way the impact of those words.  The action, defined by the words, therefore had powerful meaning; the words, intensified by the action, therefore had a new and deeper perspective.

As I contemplated what went on, not only in the sky but also on the earth for when Jesus came to “tent” among us, the “Ballet” and “The HIS-Story” also had such a symbiotic effect.  Together they enhanced each other, and together then, one could, for instance, practice “Godly” astrology, an astrology that did not give us counsel outside of God, but rather is simply that what was mimed in the heavens was “The Story” which was unfolding as God did His miracle on the earth.

The title for this blog, “The ‘Poor Man’s’ Bible,” is in reference to an opportunity I had in a visit to Germany.  A very knowledgeable person gave us a tour of one of the magnificent churches there.  He spoke of the various stained glass windows and their symbolisms, for instance, in regard to a window of the Virgin Mary.  He pointed out the symbols of virginity, the groupings containing a certain number of items and their meanings, and so forth.  He explained that since not many could read, and that there were not many (handwritten) copies of the Bible available, that the architecture, windows, and other symbolisms were intended to be “the poor man’s Bible,” reminding one of the essentials and foundations of his faith.
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Of course those symbols would be meaningless without “The HIS-Story” to back them up, but together they would enhance and support each other, hopefully to the building of one’s faith.

Of the stars and the constellations, even non-Biblical sources seem to indicate that they come from the dawn of humanity, for instance, the Egyptian “father of the constellations” is Seti, which is supposed to be their version of “Seth,” specifically referring to the godly son of Adam.  This is the position taken by researchers Frances Rolleston, Mazzaroth or The Constellations (London: Rivingtons, Waterloo Place, 1862); E. W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars, 1893; Joseph Augustus Seiss, The Gospel in the Stars (New York, NY: Charles C. Cook, 1910).  These three propose that the prophecies of the Gospel are to be found in the constellations and even in the star names.  John P. Pratt’s “Review of Gospel in the Stars,” (Sat 10 July 2004) is a thoughtful and useful review of this material.

Since the ancient person often could not read, nor even less likely have possessed his own (handwritten) copy of God’s Word of that time, would the cathedral of the stars have fulfilled the same function as the medieval churches did for their faithful, for those who would look to God’s Story – God’s promises and prophecies – to define the symbols, the reminders in the sky?  Would the magnificence of the heavens declare more than simply the creative ability of God?  Would the heavens and “The HIS-Story” mutually enhance each other, as the mime and the preacher mutually enhanced each other?

Truly, any such thing can and has been corrupted, as with corrupted astrology, but then are we to simply throw it all out to the devil, or do we have the opportunity to rediscover the remarkable footprints that God has left throughout His creation?  After seeing the extraordinary correspondence between celestial events and the Biblical/Jewish festivals – both given by God –, I find myself in awe as to how Jehovah has constantly left pointers to Himself wherever we look.

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