Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So, I've been listening to the archived podcasts from Our Life in Christ, which I found through one of Alana's posts. Because I am anal, I started at the beginning, which, aside from the *very* first one, which deals with Mark 2, has been six episodes on icons, and why they're not idolatry and their purpose and use in the life of the Church.
I could *try* to explain everything that was taught in the series, but it'd be a *very* long post, and I'd miss something, and it's just better if you go and listen/read the production notes yourself. The archives are here: Our Life in Christ Archives. The pertinent ones, though you can tell from the titles, are dated September 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 and November 7, 2004. They're each 40-50 minutes long, and enjoyable, imho. Plus, in their breaks, you get some very lovely Orthodox music.
Just my brief, rambling impression from it:
God Himself was the first iconographer. Man was created in the image of God - we are an *icon* of Him. Does this mean that God looks like us? Nope. He is invisible, uncreated. So the physicality is not the 'image' of God. It's our souls, our spirits that are made in the image of God. Just as, in an icon, it's not an effort to represent the true to life physical image of the subject. An icon is written to express, in visual, physical terms, the truth of a spiritual reality.
There is only one reality, but, for the most part, we cannot see reality, as it really is, because of the schmutz that covers us. So, we're icons, but we're like old icons, covered in years of dirt and soot and fire damage. But, just as icons have been miraculously restored, so can we, as icons of God be restored. It involves, of course, being in Christ. Being the sword in the fire. Taking on (absorbing) the energies of God, but never, of course, the essence. And *remaining* in the fire. It all ties back to the concept of deification.
That's why, according to the program, icons don't have a light source for the subject. The light emanates from *within* the Saint.
When Christ revealed Himself at the Transfiguration, He was not adding something to Himself, He was merely *opening their eyes* to the true reality that had always been there, but that they had been unable to see.
There is, of course, so much more. But those are some of the, to my mind, more important things that stuck with me.
Edit: Because I keep forgetting to say that I am becoming unaccountably fond of St. John of Damascus