For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NRSV)
I was fascinated by a workshop at the American Religious Association called “Architectures of Hiding: Crafting Concealment.” It looks about what a building hides as well as what it shows.
“Architectural creation, its representation, interpretation, and associated activities more often than not are seen as processes of revelation. However, one can argue that architecture hides as much as it reveals. The Purloined Letter, a detective story written by Edgar Allen Poe, describes the chase to look for a stolen letter with confidential information. The story revolves around the search for a letter hidden by being left out in the open. Allen Poe highlights a complicated relationship between visibility, revelation, clarity and its complementary hiding, concealing, camouflaging.” (architecturesofhiding.com)
Personally, you wouldn’t want to stay concealed forever. Sometimes you use tricks as good as Edgar Allen Poe’s purloined letter to stay hidden. But is that what people want out of life? Don’t we prefer to be seen, to be recognized, to be known?
For years I blamed my mother for not leaving my abusive father. She took his punches. She had also been nearly drowned by her mother, my grandmother, when she was 3. I have no idea how I can be so healthy. Yes, I am joking—and I am trusting God and my partners in conversation to see what I am hiding in the joke.
Revealing God, as we live through the tides of this Easter, make sure we know what we don’t know. Also alert us that in the end we will see the well-hidden in plain sight. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.