I had a very interesting conversation with a good friend based on this week’s blog posting, “Keep On Keepin’ On.” He is a very knowledgeable and outspoken member of the American Orthodox church, and likes the blog, commenting on it relatively regularly. We discussed the fact that God has us each on a different path to The City with Foundations, and we are all exactly where He wants us to be on that journey.
Yesterday, he brought up the subject of icons, and how important they are to his Orthodox church, and how helpful they are to him and to all who use them. As he was talking, a brand new thought exploded in my mind, I shared it with him on the spot, and it was so exciting to me that I wanted to share it with you, my “blog church,” immediately!
Here is the definition of an icon: Icon – “a picture, image, or other representation; a sign or representation that stands for its object by virtue of a resemblance or analogy to it.”
My friend is right. Icons are not only important but absolutely essential as I live the Christian life in the kingdom of God, because we are all icons representing Jesus Christ! Remember how we emphasized the corporate nature of Christianity in previous blog postings, and how Christianity was not an individual sport, to be played alone, but a team game. We must be together, because we are, each one of us, living, breathing images (icons!) of Jesus Christ, and we need that constant reminder of Him and what He is like.
Why do I need pictures or images of saints who lived years ago, when I’ve got real, live saints that are currently very much alive now, loving me, encouraging me, teaching me and disciplining me right now (1 Corinthians 6:1; 14:33)! Paul called the Corinthian church, not known for its righteous living, saints, because they were icons, images of Jesus Christ, just as are we!
We are living, breathing images, not lifeless pictures, each of us sharing our gifts when we meet: “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26). When the icons meet together, this is also where we walk in the light together, freely exposing our sins (Yes, icons are not without sin!) to one another, and praying together for each other: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
Obviously, being an icon has nothing to do with being “good,” or “holy,” or “obedient.” It has only to do with little children, trusting their daddy. Oh Lord, open my eyes that I may see what you have done and whom you have made me! Hallelujah!