O, Happy Fault!
O Happy Fault that merited such and so great a Redeemer! (O Felix Culpa - from the Exultet)
The busy bee in the above picture is a correction bee. He is drawn into The Saint John's Bible - a modern, completely illuminated copy of scripture. The illuminators made mistakes - of course they did. because everyone does. Their genius is in their delight of correction - redemption. This bee is drawn hauling up, by elaborate pulley, a bit of corrected text. He is a part of the work. A very important part. And they made that work beautiful and complex, because it is.
Computers and software are a great blessing. But they allow us to hide our corrections, at least superficially. I wonder if they also increase shame. They allow us to fix so quickly, and yet my frustration seems to increase when I find them. I find that I am tempted to be smug when I find errors in the text of others. There errors make me feel better about my own. (their, they're there, now!)
What if our religion offers us another way, a way which we ignore (what's new?) A way in which errors are greeted with delight because they offer chance of a beautiful and creative redemption. What if our sins are not proof of our depravity but delightful opportunity for grace? What if the open and beautiful work of repair was highlighted, celebrated.
Would you call the rest of this illuminated text depraved and fallen because it has errors? Could you frame that correction bee as punishment or penance? Or would you praise their honesty and creativity? Do not the errors and their redemptions make the text better than perfect?
You may keep your Adam in his unfallen state. I will take Peter and Paul, fools and failures redeemed. I will stand with Magdalen, her demon-scars still visible.
The Saint John's Bible is housed at St. John's University, Collegeville MN. I hope to see it in July.