Dreaming Down Under – for just a bit longer
Well, my beautiful trip here is almost at an end. One more lecture and workshop at St. John’s in Fremantle, Perth and another lecture here in Bunbury; a few days retreat at the Benedictine abbey in New Norcia with my sister and a wonderful concert at the cathedral on the Sunday of my departure.
Above is the commission I have recently completed for the cathedral – St. John’s Vision of Christ. He was blessed on Sunday by the dean, Stewart and I felt very moved by the reception and love they have for this icon and their warmth and friendship towards me. Stewart’s wife, Rev’d Sarah said I would always be part of their community from now on. May Almighty God bless them both. They have just won a top award for their olive oil they produce.
The carpenter who procured the magnificent piece of jarrah which was a joy to work on said:
I wonder if that tree knew, as it was falling in a September storm, that a small piece of its beautiful wood would finish up being so honoured.
He rang my brother-in-law to ask that his name not be mentioned when using those words in public. He says it is the wood which is important, not him…!
What a lovely man!
Here is the meditation I have written to go with it.
Meditation for St. John’s Vision of Christ
This beautiful icon written on seasoned jarrah was specially commissioned for St. Boniface’s Cathedral for the 50th anniversary celebration.
The prototype for this image was adapted from the icon, noli me tangere, where Christ appears to Mary Magdalene after He has risen from the tomb. It is said that He will come again. St. John’s prophetic Revelation begins with a magnificent image of Christ standing amidst seven golden lamp stands with brazen feet, holding seven stars in His hand and a double edged sword coming from His mouth.
The iconographer has interpreted this vision to include a celestial globe containing the five stars of the Southern Cross with the two pointers a short distance out; the seven golden lamp stands at his feet signify the seven early churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Thyatira, Sardis; Pergamum; Laodicea and Philadelphia—which were sent messages via St. John. The sword coming from Christ’s mouth represents the Word which brings not only peace but also tribulation.
Behind Christ is a blue mandorla, in the shape of what is called a vesica piscis (bladder of a fish) and is from sacred geometry– two overlapping circles. The mandorla represents the gateway or window through which Christ and often Mary, are depicted in front of in icons. The way between this world and the next.
The four corners represent the heavenly realms and the symbols of the four evangelists are depicted, surrounded by fiery seraphim– six winged angels painted in the style of Rublev.
Christ holds a scroll– He has a message for us. Be ready, like the wise virgins who prudently filled their lamps with oil and were welcomed through the doorway into the Kingdom of God.
Not knowing when and where He may appear keeps us sharp, attentive and always in readiness at all times and in all ways. But we are human and we forget. The message becomes dim and our thoughts become crowded with our needs and desires inherent in the flesh and through the influence of the world.
This icon was written through fasting, prayer and solitude. As it was being created the iconographer felt the presence and love of Christ, His love for all creation and His love and concern for the church. This icon is like a little beacon to remind us to consider things eternal, to turn our thoughts to our Creator and to listen attentively for His guidance and open ourselves to the grace He pours onto us continuously. Yet we are ignorant of it for the most part until the sword strikes our lives and, through our weakness and brokenness, we begin to see our need to develop our relationship with God anew. He makes us new each day. We can begin again each day afresh. Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection offer us the forgiveness of sin so that we can make progress, little by little, in our inadequate way to become closer to Him.
St. John’s Revelation is a powerful reminder that we need to make an effort, to strive for this relationship and to look at our own church which is our community before God, to renew ourselves again in devotion, prayer and lovingkindness to one another.
We are all one. May the peace of God be upon you.
Constantina September 20th, 2012
This entry was posted on September 24, 2012 by apocalypseicons. It was filed under Artist in Residence, Meditations and was tagged with Australia, Bunbury, Christ, fremantle perth, icon, iconography, jarrah, Revelation, spirituality, St. Boniface Cathedral, St. John, vision.