LIVING BETWEEN TWO ICONS
All around us, we have icons. Each one is a simple sign with a specific meaning that evokes a response. On highways, we have icons (signs) that help us recognize speed limits, turns, and hazards on our roads. Our computers and cell phones are loaded with them!
Religious icons were developed to convey spiritual truth. They are considered a doorway to prayer and meditation that deepen one’s relationship with God. They cover the whole religious sphere from praise to holy terror and are designed to correct, to guide, to warn, and to inspire. Some have called them “theology in color.” They are painted on wood, carved in metal or stone, or displayed in amazing detail in the colored windows of churches. Even in places where people cannot read, icons are made to help people assimilate spiritual truth.
I read the story of a man named Karl. He was bicycling down a road in New Mexico, and his front tire hit the grate of a storm drain, sending him flying headfirst over the handlebars – crushing his vertebrae and damaging the spinal cord. Since that accident, Karl has been paralyzed from the chest down.
From his hospital bed, Karl could see two religious’ icons on the wall. One was a popular crucifix of Christ on the cross – bleeding and dying. The other was an icon called “Cristo Pontocrator,” or Christ the Almighty. Every few hours, they would rotate his body which changed his view of the icons. He said, “The tension between the two images of Christ screamed at me as I stared first at one and then the other. Somewhere suspended between those two images, I live. I have hope in the future based on Christ the Almighty, but every day I have to fight the battles of the flesh, in my case a damaged flesh.”
We too live in the tension between those two images. Christ crucified for our forgiveness and salvation – and Christ the coming King who will conquer death and bring complete and eternal victory.
I agree with Ken Ham who wrote, “When ‘the fog’ becomes so thick that we can’t see any of the good God promises, we have no choice but to return to His written and living Word to give us the full, big picture of what’s going on around us.” Returning, we read in I Peter 1:3-9…
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power unto the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this, you greatly rejoice, though now, for a little while, you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love