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Icons in our lives

 

The Icon as: An Image

Our Church lives only and only in faith. Since God continuously reveals Himself & shows Himself to us, we are all invited to respond and this response to the living God our Father is – our faith. We are involved in a personal relationship with God. Our lives & our Church.

An Icon is simply an image – of what the Church sees in her vision. This form of art called Iconography. This particular form of art/painting has been accepted by the Church councils and teaching authority as the most appropriate way of expressing our vision of God in an Art form.

Iconography is a spiritual form of art. Iconography will be quite different from the other art that we find elsewhere. 

 

The Icon: Our Sign of Hope

 

The icon becomes our sign of hope. When we gaze upon an icon, we see not only image, but are carried beyond to the person of Christ or the Mystery that’s represented. For us, the icon is a visible image of God’s presence. It leads us to deeper communion with our God, and as we venerate it we are led beyond ourselves to the world of the Kingdom of God.

 

The Icon: Our Teacher

 

The icon is an expression of our faith, for the icon comes from deep within the life and belief of the Church. It is the expression of the faith of the Church as seen on the Scriptures and in the worship of the Church. You will notice in the description of many of the icons that the roots/inspiration for the icon lies in the teaching of the Scriptures and the life of the Church. The liturgical hymns and texts provide the fuller meaning of a particular icon. The faithful Christian is formed through all these ways:

1. Through the reading of The Holy Scriptures;

2. Through the prayer and worship of the Church;

3. Through Catechesis;

4. Through the teaching of the icon.

The icon communicates visually the mystery of God’s coming to us and all he had done for us.

 

The Icon: Known only in Faith

 

God the Lord has revealed Himself to us. He has reached out and made Himself known to us. By faith we respond to this self-disclosure of God. Faith is our response to Him. The icon which is and expression of faith of the Church, is only truly seen then, in relationship to our faith. We begin to see that its only in a prayerful attitude that the icon speaks to us. Icons seek silence. The art of the icon, so divorced from the world of words is imbued with stillness. It invites us to a devoted attention and concentration a gradual immersion into a slowly written world that strives after changelessness.

 

The Icon: The expression of our Belief

The intention of iconography is to express only what is the belief and teaching of the Church. It is NOT a private art form but rather it is highly disciplined and regulated by Church teaching and Canon Law. Various schools may develop through the ages each one faithfully reproduces the content that is approved by the Church. Iconographer’s first main concern is to bring out the spiritual qualities of Christ, The Mother of God and the Saints.

 

Icons in the Church

The Church is the meeting place between God and us. It’s where we experience His presence. Within the Church the icon is a visible sign of the relationship between God and us. Christ the fullness of this relationship is The Icon – verse from (Col.1:15 )“the image of the invisible God” .Its is He who leads us to the Father. The Images of Christ, the Mother of God and the Saints remind us that we are created in the image of Christ. They are an invitation to come into His presence.

 

Icons in our Homes

In our homes we honor those we love. We place their pictures in a prominent place for all to see. We remember them and how much they are part of our lives. Their pictures are constant reminders to us and to all who come into our homes. As our homes are the center of our lives, they are a reflection of all we live and believe. Among Eastern Christians it is customary for every Family to place an icon in a prominent place in the home. This becomes the place of family prayer. As they gather before God’s presence, the family grows in faith and understanding of God’s love in their lives.

To foster continuing respect and reverence for God’s presence through the icon, we can make an Icon Corner. We may want to have an Icon Corner in each person’s room. Together with the icon, we include the Bible and a burning candle. The Icon Corner becomes an expression of our faith, and a center for our prayer and devotion. It’s present for us to spend quite moments meditating and praying to Christ our God.

 

The Icon: Our Invitation to Prayer

We stand in silence before the icon and grow in appreciation of its expression. Reading about icons is not enough. Prayerful effort is required to sense inwardly the holiness of the icon. Much like meditation, silence begins to speak to us. As the icon is a spiritual from of art, it carries us beyond physical matter into presence of the person depicted. It raises our consciousness to a new level, to the level of the Kingdom of God, where we begin to see according to the spirit and no according to the flesh. In this manner we are able to speak about the icon bringing us into the presence of our God.