Friday, September 2, 2011

Quotable: Lost and Found in Translation





He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshiping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

-C.S. Lewis
Talk about your cross-cultural communication.  Let’s see Google Translate tackle this one.  I echo Lewis’ thoughts here that affirm that none of our prayers may perfectly hit the mark of who God is.  However, some may be tempted upon reading this to say that since we cannot truly know or understand God, as he truly is, we should smooth out our prayers until they are as general and vague as possible.  I (and a friend whose blog inspired me to write this) think that because of this fact, we need to rely more heavily on Christ in our prayers.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  In Him is Life, Light and Hope.  He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith.  Though we cannot know God in His Fullness, He has made Himself known and knowable in and through Jesus Christ.  
In His name and In His Service,
jT

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