Christine is between teaching classes on line and is using the time to work on three new icons. She has been inspired to write St Sebastian, patrons Saint of Healing from the Plague , Madonna and Child on a Gothic shaped icon board, and Julian of Norwich, mystic and writer. She has been inspired to write these three because icons help us to focus our prayers and these particular saints represent issues we are praying about today.
Her next on line iconography class is scheduled forJuly 13-16th , will focus on the principles of sacred geometry which are the untold structures behind the visual arrangement of icons and can captivate our eyes through their inherent dynamic. There is always so much more to learn about icons, their design and the prayer which is integral to their making.
Memorial weekend is celebrated as the start of summer and people made a dash for the beach, stores opened their sales, the airports were packed; so can we forget COVID now? Of course, we all would like that.
For many in the USA, COVID would seem to be in the ‘rear view mirror’, but for many other countries, with very low vaccination rates, this is just the start of a prolonged health and economic onslaught. It is worth our remembering this COVID issue is by no means over!
Over the memorial weekend, Michael facilitated a memorial service for one of the residents at the community he serves as chaplain. This was the first in house, open in person memorial service in about fourteen months. He had done one outdoors with controlled attendance at a military cemetery earlier in the May.
This is good news!
Many people have died in the last year without the opportunity for their families and friends to have a memorial service; in whatever form that may take. Michael lost his brother in England and was unable to attend the memorial service because of the many restrictions, and that story is the same in many families.
The fact that in person memorials are now becoming a possibility, even many months after someone passes, can be really healing. Also, something we may not be aware of and is possibly as valuable as the closure from the past, is creating fresh openings for the future.
When we celebrate those who have past in community, by laying their lives down before the Lord, we can open the door to a new future. We are in affect celebrating and acknowledging one of God’s creation. When we do that, new doors will open for us, which reveal God’s creative nature through new relationships or interests. It is God’s desire that we always continue to experience more of Him, and to enable that He opens new doors to unveil His heart and nature. It is then up to us to decide if we are ready to travel through the doors He opens or stay where we are. God always leaves us free choice.
When God opened a ‘new door’ of the gospel starting to be preached to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, Peter was given a vision to travel to visit a Gentile stranger, Cornelius, whose prayers had risen to God as a ‘memorial’. What takes place is the laying down of the old and the opening up of the new, for both Jews and Gentiles. Read the whole extraordinary story in Acts 10, this is a snippet from the beginning, Acts 10:3-4
3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
It is really time now, for us as a nation, to lay down the destructive divisions of our recent past and decide we are ready to move through the many doors God has unveiled for healing. Let us all pray for an end and a rebirth, worthy of God calling a ‘memorial’, in our nation and in our own lives. Please join with us in praying for unity for our nation and brotherly love to replace self interest.
Sending our love and prayers to each of you,
Michael and Christine