You and I are both standing in the temple, gazing upon the face of the god.

You are really tuned in. For you, the god is entirely present. You're seeing the god himself.

Me, though, not so much. For me, I'm just seeing the statue: a masterwork, true, but still only a statue.

Two worshipers, standing side by side: for one, the god is present; for the other, not.

Call it the Pagan Paradox: in the same image, at the same time, the god is both present and not present simultaneously.

I can only shake my head. Come next year, I'll have been doing this for 50 years.

Sometimes, though, I still feel like a beginner.




Chryselephantine Apollo (detail)

Ivory and gold leaf

Delphi, Greece

ca. 550 BCE