Friday, June 21, 2013

Why icons? A short explanation

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.*

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.**

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.***

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.****

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ being born of the
Virgin Mary as fully human and fully man
is the miracle we call the Incarnation.
The Church fathers say Christ is
en-fleshed and en-souled.
Simply put,
Christ is born as fully human while fully God
with human flesh, soul and will.
It is because Christ is born like one of us
that He can save us.
This is the beginning of the mystery of our salvation.
Through Christ's death and resurrection
He has killed death and made the way
for us to be restored,
to be made whole,
to be united to Himself,
to become as He is,
that is, to become Christ-like.

Christ is also the first icon,
the image of the Father.
We know the Father because we see the Son.
It is because of the Incarnation that
all of creation can be sanctified
and have grace from God.

This includes icons.
Orthodox Christians venerate icons like
a child would kiss a picture of his or her Grandma or Grandpa.
We love Christ and kiss His hand.
Icons throughout the centuries have become
Holy through the work of God and His love for us.
Icons always point us back to Christ and
worshiping Christ.
*John 1:1-4 NIV
** John 1: 14 NIV
*** John 1:18 NIV
**** 1 Colossians 1:15 NIV
*note a lot of my understanding of these things is from my Ottawa spiritual father,
however if I word things at all mistakenly, the fault is all mine.


Paula said...

"Orthodox Christians venerate icons like a child would kiss a picture of his or her Grandma or Grandpa."

That is such a great way to describe it. So many people who don't come from a saint/icon tradition just don't understand. And worse they accuse us of 'worshiping' the statues/paintings.

elizabeth said...

Thank you Paula... it is a common way to seek to explain about the veneration of icons... :)

yes, people really can confuse this, which is unfortunate :(