by lefever on November 14, 2010
Walking down Via Dolorosa at dusk on my first full day in Jerusalem, I noticed several stores selling icons. Something seemed cheesy about the tourism of it and especially being on Via Dolorosa. I stopped and talked with a shop owner, a merchant of icons, and he gave me a wonderful gift: He told me, “the old people, when they get a new icon say, ‘another icon, another window to heaven.”
Isn’t this true of everything if we think of God first and see Him in everything, everyone? Windows to Heaven, windows to the meta-reality, windows to revelation as we consider . . . windows through which even our best efforts are as Paul says, “. . . seeing through a glass darkly.” To see these ideas in art expressed aids us toward this delight.
I recall a docent tour at the National Gallery in London, in a room full of alter pieces where the Wilton Diptych can be found. The docent was describing the reconstructed alters and their meanings, how to identify the saints and the apostles of Messiah, what symbols and what colors represented whom. . . yet I could only conclude how different their meaning in that special museum room, than the churches they originally served with meaning to.
Now they are just objects collected like butterflies in a collector’s box. Beautiful. Historic. Informational. Dead.
But it is not the objects themselves, for like the animal in a zoo, they are …