Life Among the Icons
Posted on August 27, 2015
I like writing about converts. Not only am I a convert many times over, but my faith requires ongoing conversion. That’s why I like to see the tangible ways faith takes root in daily lives. In 2000, we set up our first icons. They were color printouts of Rublev’s Trinity and the Pantocrator of St. Catherine’s Sinai. I had read about them in books by Jaroslav Pelikan in church history classes in undergrad.
In grad school at the Divinity School, we added to the collection. We set up a prayer station in our small rental houses living room, over my writing desk. The last paper I wrote for my M.Div. was on an icon of Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity embracing. I compared the image with passages from The Martyrdom of Ss. Perpetua & Felicity and with ancient liturgical traditions. The martyrs sharing the kiss of peace just before they were killed were making a statement stronger than blood about their union with Christ in His death and resurrection. My children kiss that icon now.
Living with an iconographer is a commitment. We’ve set aside space and time and money to develop the sacred practice by my husband’s hand, written on his heart. In a family of 7, keeping an entire room for iconography is a big deal. But the rewards aren’t just in the beauty I see shining out from our iconostasis.
It’s the delight in my daughter when she arranges flowers for a feast day.
It’s the peace and wisdom that the contemplation of holy ones sets behind my husband’s eyes. It’s the quiet teaching of children that we are all green underneath in icons.
But best of all, the icons remind me that I walk among icons every moment. The children, my husband, you, me, strangers and friends, are all made in the image of God. We are all being written.
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