22 Oct 2017
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger

15 Oct 2017
This Too Shall Pass

8 Oct 2017
The Simple Truth: Head, Heart and Hands

1 Oct 2017
Humility – Staying close to the ground

2 Jul 2017
Welcoming the Silence

25 Jun 2017
Always Uniting…

18 Jun 2017
Are you ready for harvest?

11 Jun 2017
Don’t Blame it on the Snake

4 Jun 2017
Words Beyond Words: Breath Beyond Breath

28 May 2017
Seeing with new eyes

14 May 2017
Grace, Gracious and Graceful

30 Apr 2017
A Time for war and a time for peace

23 Apr 2017
Faithful Doubting

16 Apr 2017
God became human so that we could become divine!

12 Mar 2017
Wind of the Spirit

12 Feb 2017
From the Mountainside: The Impossible Dream?

22 Jan 2017
Grounding our Life and Faith

25 Dec 2016
That Humanity should become Divine

11 Dec 2016
Joy is for Everyone

4 Dec 2016
The Mingling of Water and Spirit

27 Nov 2016
Living Fully in the Present Moment

16 Oct 2016
Persistence and Justice

9 Oct 2016
Gratitude and Thankfulness

2 Oct 2016
Standing in the Tragic Gap

25 Sep 2016
Rich Man, Poor Man

4 Sep 2016
The Gift of Freedom

21 Aug 2016
A Hidden Wholeness

14 Aug 2016
We all need wise words to live by

31 Jul 2016
When Less is More

24 Jul 2016
Developing Healthy Relationships

17 Jul 2016
Died Wise

10 Jul 2016
Meeting Strangers on the Road

3 Jul 2016
On the Road Again

29 May 2016
Faith is the Answer

22 May 2016
The Way of Wisdom

15 May 2016
Icons and Stained Glass Windows – Inner light

8 May 2016
Unity and Oneness

1 May 2016
A Hidden Wholeness

24 Apr 2016
Lest we forget: What?

17 Apr 2016
God became human so that we could become divine!

3 Apr 2016
Thank God for St Thomas!

27 Mar 2016
Living life’s great contradictions

20 Mar 2016
Message of Peace

13 Mar 2016
Living Fully, Loving Wastefully

6 Mar 2016
Come Home, all is forgiven

28 Feb 2016
Simply, leave it alone

21 Feb 2016
Why do we “kill” our prophets?

7 Feb 2016
Keeping your Head in the Clouds

Sermons

Icons and Stained Glass Windows – Inner light

15 May, 2016 Pentecost By Rev Dr Christopher Page

Icons and Stained Glass – Inner Light
Icons and Stained Glass – Inner Light

Introduction
Icons are called words of faith, even though they are in pictorial form.  Stained glass windows, also visual pictures, can be referred to as lights of faith.

We know that icons were appearing in people’s homes and places of worship by about the 2nd century AD.  And there is evidence of stained glass windows in churches and monasteries in Britain as early as the 7th century AD.

Like an icon, the window is there to teach the Christian faith by telling the Biblical narrative in a visual form.  The icon was born in the Eastern tradition of the Church, while the stained glass window found its advent in the West.

Stained Glass – Inner Light
It is obvious that the beauty of stained glass is that it transforms light with the use of colour to tell a story.  Speaking of stained glass windows in almost mystical terms, a commentator once said:

“Within the walls of the church, in the very place where heaven and earth meet in worship, reflection and devotional, the truth of the stories of faith is narrated in parables of light.”

Visiting Chartres Cathedral, people can notice a

“heightened sensitivity to all the colours, with maximum receptivity coming after about half an hour inside the Cathedral.”

The light passing through the window not only declares the Christian story but also illuminates the inner light of faith in the worshipper. (Let’s pause to experience that.)

Icons and stained glass windows are poetic and symbolic representations, not in words, something that we can over-use in the church, but in visual experiences that can pass through the mind and have the capacity to touch the heart.

The Holy Icon – Inner Light
But the icon also uses light - reflected light through the colours on the surface of the pictogram.  A poet wrote of such windows and icons:

Grant that we may find light so as to see Thee with unblinded eyes;
Remove from us the heavy clouds of this material world.
Shine forth upon us in Thy true glory
So that we may see Thee clearly, for this is our desire and our aim.

That is the aim of both the window and the icon: to see Thee more clearly.  Obviously not in a literal sense but in a mystical and experiential sense.

Icons and Windows – Teachers through Beauty and Story
Both Stained Glass and Holy Icons have served a number of purposes throughout the history of Christian faith.

  1. They have enhanced the beauty of our places of reverence, devotion and worship.

  2. They have instructed us in the story of the Christian faith and given us a rich experience of the parables and the life of Jesus and the Church, one that can accompany the written and spoken word.

  3. They are constant reminders of the Christian faith each time we enter worship or devotion.

  4. They lift us up into a symbolic world, on to a higher level of thought.  Perhaps the thoughts of the heart rather than just the thoughts of the mind.

  5. They arouse our spirits and souls so we may be shaped by the stories depicted on and through them.

  6. Needless to say, they can help to transform us and even draw us out beyond our own lives to glimpse a vision of a higher, deeper and, dare I say, a brighter world.

 

Let the Light Shine in
It is this final point that helps us see the value and importance of the Window and the Icon.  They are not merely decorative – which they are.  They are not merely instructive – which they are.  They are not merely artistic, fulfilling an aesthetic function – which they also do.

The purpose of the Window and the Icon is so that the light out there illuminates the light in here! Icon and Window exist for your transformation.  They are objects of contemplation.  And in the process of our being in the presence of the Icon or the Window, the light both shines in and shines out.

On this Pentecost Sunday, may the bright light of God’s presence illuminate your inner life.

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