This week I have been trying to reclaim my study back from the ether. This basically entails me reading through Joshua and Judges. It is a sobering section of the Bible where I increasingly find myself pondering on such things as:
Why when they had such a sense of God helping them out in battle etc did they continually fall back to Baal?
What was the attraction of Baal?
When the Ark of the Covent had been used in battle previously what happened to it in the time of Judges?
Let alone the uncomfortable questions that sit around the area of the killing of every man, woman, child, goat, kitten and puppy every second chapter.
Last night I was invited to the new local Russian Orthodox Priests house to observe his Icon group. Father Arkardy spent many years as not only as an Iconographer, but also as a restorer of Icons in Russia. The infamous words of Judy Garland came to mind on entering his house with the sudden realization of “We are not in Kansas anymore”. I am very proud of the woman in my icon group, of the journeys they have taken, of the work of the spirit that so often and so clearly moves through them and indeed me when we work.
In seeing how Father Arkardy works however I am struck by the impact of what happens when you approach the Icon from a cultural perspective with each act carrying significance each stroke a reason. When you are grinding your own paints from precious stones, laying linen over the board not just because of a need for strength but because it symbolizes the wrapping of Christ as a babe in swaddling and indeed in a shroud at death you are drawn to a new place. We talked backwards and forwards sometimes in broken English, sometimes through the translator, and in this conversation there sits an opportunity that when he teaches again I may be able to study under him. This will mean a radical undoing of bad habits on my part I am sure. Yet sitting there watching each stroke I felt once more drawn in to the icons around me.
To this almost soporific place where I am called to step out of time, to slow myself until I find that new rhythm and we begin again.
On a totaly different subject when I go to post I no longer have any way to add graphics sigh... any suggestions there is not even an icon to click on any more