Raised a "good evangelical" I was taught to be suspicious of mysticism, saints, and icons. They were nothing a good evangelical girl should be interested in; reading the Bible, morning devotions, and church group were my assignments. But these last year's have taught me a lot.
I've learned that silence can be a form of prayer, Jesus actually likes me, God isn't waiting for me to mess up, and my creativity is a reflection of my Imago Dei (God's image in me).
So the other day when I was inspired to begin playing with the concepts of iconography it felt ... weird. It felt foreign, like I was stepping on someone else's religious culture.
Inspite of my feelings I went forward. I allowed myself to play, and experiment. What I found was a new form of expression. From what I've learned these past few years, icons are a way of remembering, of highlighting, and calling attention to the "good life" in God. Creating my own version of an icon demystified the process and put it in its rightful place: prayer. There is nothing magical about this icon; but it's ability to connect me with what Jesus is stirring in my life is a Divine gift. It helped me to be present to what was surfacing and to work through it literally and figuratively.
This photograph in the foreground has represented different things to me at different times: forgiveness, anger, emotion. In this new context it represents God made flesh; Jesus' own righteous anger; and God's compassion for my own feelings.
I may be a long way from my religious context growing up, but finding and connecting with Jesus in prayer through making art feels like I've come home.
What do you think of icons? How has my story impacted your perception?