Peacock butterflies on buddleia

(All photos: Scott Murray)

Jung and synchronicity

I’m still coming to terms with what happened with blog 60. I shouldn’t really be surprised that such things happen – I mean the meaningful coincidences which some people call synchronicity. What is much more important is the interpretation one gives to events such as these. I had noticed these coincidences for years, long before I became a Christian who believes in the resurrection. They lead me to a study of what the eminent depth psychologist C.G. Jung had to say about such coincidences. In his book, Synchronicity: an acausal connecting principle, he defines synchronicity as ‘a meaningful coincidence in time.’ One form it can take is ‘The coincidence of a certain psychic content with a corresponding objective process which is perceived to take place simultaneously.’ Jung really believed that such phenomena were quite common and gives examples from his own life.

Flower of the Okra plant

The Christ Presence

Now, although some of the things that I’ve described in this blog could be described as synchronicity in the Jungian sense, I think it makes more sense to describe them as the Christ presence in temporal reality. The ‘Christ presence’ because I’m assuming, and I believe, the actual resurrection took place, and that Christ is a living presence in reality now, however counter-intuitive this might be for the unbeliever. Faced with the Holocaust, as described in blog 60, it appears even more counter-intuitive. There are a thousand thoughts and issues which arise as a result of what happened with blog 60 but for now I’ll confine myself to commenting on the images Scott Murray sent me and the image of the White Crucifixion itself.

‘White Crucifixion’

Although it was painted in 1938, the images of the persecution of the Jews strongly portend the coming Holocaust. There is a huge irony in the pale and seemingly undamaged body of Christ on the cross and the surrounding scenes of anti-Semitism. For the Christian who believes that it was truly God and truly man on the cross; that the most sacred being who ever lived was bloodied and mutilated for the redemption of sinners; this is a trivial image. The blood is missing, the crown of thorns is missing, the unimaginable suffering of the most sensitive man who ever lived in the throes of crucifixion death is missing. Many messages could be taken from the painting, but certainly not a Christian message, for it is not the Christ of the Christians.

Honeysuckle berries

The Holocaust

That is not to belittle the Holocaust in any way. To speak of the Holocaust is to speak of the utter depravity of man. The Holocaust is an on-going phenomenon, Cambodia, Rwanda, Syria … The Jews themselves probably have the best explanation of the Holocaust in their own scriptures, namely the Fall, man’s rebellion against and hatred of the Sacred. Or as one of their prophet’s said ‘the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ That’s it, the key is in the heart, as Dooyeweerd pointed out. My heart and yours. There are gradations in the Holocaust. We don’t have to literally kill someone to be part of it. We just have to hate someone inwardly, to despise, to wish someone were dead, to look down on them because they are different, even to say bad or wrong things about someone. That’s the start … Look into your heart and write, someone said. Equally, look into your heart and learn.

The barbed wire image

The barbed wire, which in Scott’s photo is blood-red, reminded me of the crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head. Thorns and thistles were part of God’s curse on Adam, the primordial man. The crown of thorns was a mockery and a curse, as was death on a cross. ‘Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree’, say St Paul, quoting from Deuteronomy. But …

Geranium seeds

The living Christ

Jesus said ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.’ That statement is revolutionary, and was anathema to the Jews of Jesus’ time. Jesus was claiming to be God. But if Jesus was God and He was crucified and then resurrected, certain things follow. 1) God himself visited mankind and was subjected to a double curse, the cross and the crown of thorns 2) God himself was visited by the Holocaust 3) He forgave those who cursed him, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ 4) because he is God, Jesus’ forgiveness is infinite, as is his love, as is his suffering in time 5) the risen Christ interpenetrates the whole of reality

A question

Question: ‘If Jesus is risen and interpenetrates the whole of reality, why did, and why does the Holocaust still happen?’ The answer is simple: ‘Because man is still fallen, is still free to choose, and chooses to do evil.’ And yet by asking for God’s help and forgiveness, and by God’s help, the process of healing the heart (the supratemporal centre of the self) can begin.

Sweet pea

The reality of Christ’s presence

I’ll be looking at Scott’s 4 other images (from blog 60) in a later blog but the lesson I take from all that has happened to me personally is that the Christ presence is real and, crucially, that as well as Christ through the Holy Spirit being an internal presence, that he also can and does affect ‘external’ reality. Not, I hasten to add, at man’s behest but according to his own will and purposes. This last point is vital. I can’t claim to have done anything or caused anything to happen. Any synchronicity, and trans-physical event, is completely outside human control, but certainly in God’s control. I believe this presence is universal and that thousands of other believers have had similar experiences. Why do they have these experiences? Because Christ is risen.