Monday, 19 April 2010

On being an icon - a sermon by Theodore Gill for the opening of an icon exhibition

This morning we gathered in the chapel surrounded in a more visible way than usual by a great cloud of witnesses as most of the icons for the icon exhbition by Josette Laissue and Didi Marmoud were already in place.
Outside Geneva airport was silent as Northern Europe remained under the grip of another kind of cloud - many of our colleagues including the WCC general secretary were trapped in airports in various places across the world. We'll have to see who has the most interesting home-coming story!
Theodore Gill led our prayers and a meditation on icons which you can read here. At the end of the service just before the blessing he called us all to be icons and bear the image of God through our lives into the world. It was a nourishing morning service, here are two extracts from the beginning and end of Theo's sermon:

Icons have been described by admirers as windows into the kingdom of heaven, and also as mirrors that aid us in our spiritual self-reflection.
“Icon” comes from the Greek word for “image” – it is used in the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of Hebrew scripture, when God is said to create humankind in God’s own image (the word applies neither to a man nor a women, but all of “humankind…male and female”; Gen.1:27). And the word appears again in the hymn near the beginning of Colossians, when we are told – somewhat paradoxically, it has seemed to many – that Jesus Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (Col.1:15).

Whether the art on display represents a set of windows to heaven or mirrors for reflection, or some combination of the two, icons invite us to consider our own potential as images of divine love – and to re-conceive our own lives as a means of portraying the reality of Christ in the world.