In the very moment Creation came into being, a dance began, and continues now. With laughter as well as tears we are swept and shaped by the undeniable abundance housed in every person. All Creation moves as one and can be seen when we use our eye to see. Our lamp for the journey is the light of spirit, and our strength is the mighty energy which created us. The dry land and the sea’s and all that is in them lead us from ignorance to the light of life and ultimate freedom. All of who you and what you experience is a pure gift, given with no strings attached, Icon Painting is an Everyday Encounter; Life and Light.
We can do nothing to earn this gift of life and light. It is not earn-able, no matter how good we are, how much we pray, meditate, learn, practice or how generously we give to others. It is given at every moment around the world and has no agenda. The only choices we have are to accept the gift or reject the gift. But even in our rejection, the gift will still be given; it is here with us regardless of our awareness. We can simply ignore the gift and live in a kind of darkness.
How do You Find that gift of Light?
Some do it through prayer, others through music, meditation, and I well, I find God’s fulfillment through Icon Painting as an Everyday Encounter; Life and Light revealed.
Christianity and any other practice is not a spectator sport Just as Icon Painting is not Always a Spectator Activity
To ignore the tasks at hand is to doom the earth and everyone in it to annihilation by disinterest. We must remember and learn again to be responsible care-takers of creation because it is the greatest of gifts along with our ability to rejoice in that gift. We are each called in a variety of ways to participate in making whole what we have broken, healing the wounded earth, reaching out our hands of love to those who feel isolated and forgotten, seeing in the eyes of our neighbors their pain and their joy. We can all take part in the healing of the world around us. There are no other arms to do the work. There are no other eyes to see the needs. There are no other backs to lift the burdens from those burdened with life’s traumas.
My mom used to say, “every little bit helps”.
And it’s true. Every time I feel disheartened, when people walk without noticing my icon painting techniques, my work and my life, I think on this saying. And I must believe that, yes. every little bit helps, including the little bit I do in Icon painting.
Faith in our commitment
Faith is a verb, not a noun. Faith requires action and participation on a continual basis. Without involvement our faith is little more than passive observation, able only to be a spectator filled with commentary about how it should be. It is like icon painting, if you never pick up the brush how will you receive the experience. The gift of light and spirit was not given to a private select few, like a club or tribe of believers, to save and protect, it is given to anyone willing to open the eye wide and see the whole of history and creation. There is no part of creation unaffected by the gift and it is faith which allows us to experience it as such.
Life and light is continuously given, without strings
Spiritual teachers have the tedious task of reminding us what we are made of, who we are, and why we are here. Ancient Byzantine Icon painters, spiritual leaders, yogis, masters, priests, gurus, etc have always had the responsibility for teaching about light and life. They offer time tested practices to society through sacred icon painting, mystical text, liturgy, sacred ritual, mediation, prayer, etc.
A priest once said after he had read the gospel, “I can give you the apple but I cannot eat it for you”. He promptly sat down. Awareness is everything we do after we say, “I know.” Our response to the life and light has been given in colors through every aspect of our daily activity. It is a sacred trust given to each of us. God, Allah, Energy, Buddha, Light, the Great Spirit, whatever you call it, just choose one. They offer the beginning road map for the journey. Whether it’s through writing, speaking, reading, conversing, or through icon painting we should each basque, grow, and develop our enlightened spirit.
New year, new renewal.
I have no answers only a deep suspicion that individual commitment, gratitude and participation have much to do with how life on the planet unfolds. Our institutions are riddled with injury, injustice, ignorance and more, I suggest we each take what we need, use it to bring us closer to the light and life and leave the rest. It may be said. “it is in the hands of God”, but I say even if it is, can’t we each take a little more time in realizing with gratitude and sharing how wonderful is this Light and Life so freely given.
If you wish to learn to find that light within, one of the simplest ways of doing this is through meditative catholic icon painting. Send me a message or drop me a line, and I’ll be glad to explain more about it.