Thursday, March 27, 2008

Preparing to Receive the Gold: The Beginning of Our Renewal

Tonight was the beginning of the icon workshop at St. John. The students transferred the image of The Angel of the Lord to the gessoed boards, then painted the bole (clay) mixed with glue on the area where the halo will be. Kind of like the "earthy" work we have to do in our hearts in order to receive God's "gold" ... His gift of grace. Tomorrow morning the clay will be warmed up (by the students' actual breathing on it!) to "open it" so that the gold leaf will stick. They will be gilding the halo with sheets of 23k gold leaf.

That's Meribeth and Leeza, left.
I think everyone had a good time tonight... the harder work begins tomorrow, but each day is a gift, whether we are painting icons or taking care of our children or working at a job outside the home. Again, I'm reminded of Fr. Elchaninov's words (in The Diary of a Russian Priest):
Our continual mistake is that we do not concentrate upon the present day, the actual hour, of our life; we live in the past or in the future; we are continually expecting the coming of some special moment when our life will unfold itself in its full significance.... Constantly, each day, each hour, God is sending us people, circumstances, tasks, which should mark the beginning of our renewal. If we accepted every hour of our life as the hour of God's will for us, as the decisive, most important, unique hour of our life--what sources of joy, love, strength, as yet hidden from us, would spring from the depths of our soul!
I hope all my iconography students will enjoy each day of the workshop as much as we all seemed to enjoy our first session together tonight!
That's Emma and Nellie, right.

And Claire and Polly, below, left.











And Rev. John and Kerry, right.

And Stacey and Margo, below, left.








Everyone did a great job! Sleep well. Tomorrow will be another day offering opportunities for joy, love and strength!

5 comments:

John Cameron said...

Say hello to Father Sewell for us! Elizabeth and I went to St. John Episcopal for several months after we were married. He was a great pastor and friend during that time.

Sarah Einstein said...

Susan,

I love the icons. I've been wanting one for my own home, since meeting you, but now I'm wondering -- is it offensive for someone from a Protestant church to hang Orthodox icons in their home? (Offense to the Orthodox; I know it wouldn't be to my fellow Mennos!) I don't want do a culturally insensitive thing!

Peace!
Sarah

Susan Cushman said...

No one should take offense that someone wants to have an icon in their home, Sarah. They bring grace to all who venerate the saints (or Christ, His Mother,or angels) whose image they bear. It's true that icons are "trendy" and some people "collect" them, as though they were pieces of secular art. But I think most people who want them in their homes are drawn to their mystical beauty. Let me know if you need a good source for purchasing one, or if there's a special saint, etc. that you'd like to have. Thanks for leaving a comment!

Sarah Einstein said...

Thanks, Susan. Actually, I want to purchase one from a local dealer that has been hanging in his window -- and that I've been mooning over -- for about a month, but I wanted to be certain it wasn't offensive to do so.

I spent a big chunk of my undergrad years wearing a Palestinian men's head covering as a scarf, because it looked good with my jeans jacket. I didn't find out until years later that this had been a horrible insult to every Islamic man who saw me. I just thought it was hippy-chic. Since then, I've been much more careful!

angela said...

Hello!
I would like to ask... where exactly you had this icon class?

Thanks,
Angela
angelfultz@gmail.com