Sunday, August 7, 2011

Prayer, Service: Touching God's Foot

During my sabbatical this summer, I had the great privilege of working
on some icons related to Transfiguration. In Fr. Peter Pearson’s classes, we
wrote an icon of the Transfigured Christ, one of the entire
Transfiguration scene, and a small one of Our Lady of Kazan.

Who says that you cannot touch God? The slow, methodical and
prayerful painting--more accurately the “writing”--of an icon allows
me to enter into the spirit of the holy person or holy scene being
painted. And it is astonishing to realize that my fingers touch the
foot of Jesus or the cheek of Mother Mary through the medium of paint.

Iconographers are fond of saying that in an icon, the light comes from
within, rather than being cast by an external source. Gazing at a
holy face, I sometimes feel that I am in shadow, and long for the
Uncreated Light to shine out on me.

As I continue to contemplate the profound mystery of the
Transfiguration, after having spent weeks with it, I am reminded yet
again that as Christians, we are also called to Transfiguration.
Tabor’s light may glow from the faces of the saints, but it is God’s
intention that it should shine out of ours as well. Part of
our vocation is a commitment to becoming One with Christ’s Light, and
offering ourselves as a channel for that Light to everyone around us.

In my humanity, I have many times when I am cranky, self-centered,
addicted to various things (work, lounging, fill in your own favorite
vice). But if the people with whom I live and work never see at least
a glimmer of Light in my life, I have to wonder about how well I am
fulfilling Christ’s command to carry the Gospel to the world.

The Feast of the Transfiguration calls us to reach out to God and to
set aside those things that shadow us from transfiguring Light. It
invites us once again to pray for the Divine Assistance in making the
changes we need to make, and not to resist God's work within us. And
it comes with the guarantee that some day we, too, will enter into the
joy of the Holy, following in Christ’s steps.

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