Friday, November 04, 2005

Image and Likeness

When I wasn't busy slathering my hands with isogel, (see previous post), I spent lots of time on last weekend's retreat looking at a stained glass mosaic of Christ over the chancel in the sanctuary of the church where we were meeting. The sanctuary faces west, so the mosaic was most vibrant and colorful in the late afternoon--which is a shame since that is not a time of day when many folks are normally in church.

As my mind wandered from whoever was speaking one afternoon, I found myself thinking about the phenomenon in Harry Potter where the former Hogwarts headmasters in the portraits in Dumbledore's office are able to "visit" other portraits of themselves elsewhere to check up on things or deliver messages. I started thinking that perhaps this is one way to understand the function of icons in other Christian traditions: that Christ is able somehow to inhabit portraits of himself, drawn in faith, to communicate with us in some way.

But then my inner Reformer asserted herself. Painted portraits aren't where it's at. WE are created in the image and likeness of God. WE are the portraits Christ wants to inhabit to communicate with the world. The goal of our faith is to grow into truer and truer likenesses so that this can happen more completely.


reverendmother said...

I love it!

And as a former Catholic who was predestined to be Presbyterian, I resonate with both images.

peripateticpolarbear said...

You're an ecumenical movement in and of yourself.

Songbird said...

What an utterly beautiful way of putting it. Thank you.

Lorna said...

lovely and funny too :) you really had me going

I've never really got icons other than that they are beautiful. In Tallinn (where i study) there are some really beautiful ones to view especially in the orthdox church

Here in the luthean church there have been a couple of retreats for icon painting, though I've never been on one.

SpookyRach said...

An icon painting retreat sounds sort of fun! I really liked this post. Its good to know such good work can come from a service even when you aren't listening to the speaker. haha!