Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sunday - Windows to Heaven

Many churches have stained glass windows.   The original intent of stained glass windows was to tell the biblical story to those who could not read.   Over the centuries,  our stained glass windows have changed from the telling of the biblical story to becoming pretty colours and something to decorate the Church instead of telling the biblical story.

In the Orthodox Church,  there are Icons.  Icons are paintings that provide a window to the glory of God.   These icons tell the story of biblical people and biblical events.  The icons are not meant to be pretty nor decorate the Church. Icons are used to be a place for  reflection upon God.  Those who paint (or more correctly it is called writing icons) Icons must spend much time in prayer before they even begin to tell the Biblical story.  And icons are usually “written” the same way… each painted stroke is the same for the last 2000 years.   Making a new icon is just not done.  Before,  during, and after writing an icon takes much time in meditation and prayer.   First the iconographer must confess all his/her sins.   Then  comes a long time in prayer while reading the Biblical story.   Next comes prayers of asking God for strength of body, soul, and mind as the writing begins.   As the iconographer writes the icon,  he or she must not be jealous of his/her neighbour’s  writing.    Any jealously must be offered up to God and the spirit of love must come into the heart of the iconographer.  Then as the writing is completed,  the iconographer asks God for a blessing that the writing may be shared with the world in the form of the Good News of Jesus.

Whether we write icons,  create stained glass windows or reflect upon their story,  the important thing is that we DO reflect  the Good News of Christ and share this news with the world.     

Today reflect upon how our Churches today use paintings or stained glass to tell the story of God.  If our Churches do not have any stained glass,  how do we tell the story of God?
Prayer:   Glory to You Most Holy God.  O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth,
and Giver of Life.   Come and abide in us,   cleanse us from every impurity,  and save our souls all for the sake of Your love. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal,  have mercy on us.  
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal,  have mercy on us.  Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal,  have mercy on us.     
Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.
All-Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us of our sins.  Master, pardon our iniquities.
Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.   Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive those who debtors against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from  evil.   For Thine is the kingdom,  the power,  and the glory.  Amen.

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