Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29 - religious artifacts

The stones of remembrance in Joshua 4 has me thinking about religious artwork and other things that serve to remind us of the works of the Lord. First off, I've already shown you one of our home's decorations - a picture of Luther. I bought it at an antique store across from the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. (I found it only because it was hanging right next to the bathrooms!)

On my way home from Doxology last week, there was a brilliant, beautiful rainbow (actually, a double rainbow and it was visually close too, with all the water in the air. Unfortunately it was gone by the time I got home.)

Speaking of Doxology, it met at the Chiara Center in Springfield, IL. If you ever have the chance to go, do so!

Here is a picture of a portion of the Canticle of the Creatures Window in the Canticle Prayer Room. Note the Holy Spirit, the Tree of Life, and the promise of Genesis 3:15 in the lower right corner. (You can see the rest of this - which is only the top portion - here. The artist's description and bottom are here.)

Then there is their St. Francis of Assissi Church, pictured at the top of this post. Wow. (Though I note that if I had been more recently in Europe, I might not be so impressed. Even when I was at Yorkminster, I couldn't shake the thought, "Yeah, but this is nothing compared to St. Peter's in Rome.") The Chiara Center provide booklets so you don't miss anything. I'm hoping to get more pictures from one of my Doxology mates, but for now, the pictures on the website will have to do. Note in the picture that the altar has the Crucifix hanging over the Ark of the Covenant. Now hear the words I heard while looking at it one chapel service, from Hebrews 1:1-2).
In the transcept to the right of the congregation is an almost life sized crucifix at eye level. Beneath the feet of our Lord is a skull with a serpent crawling through the eyes. That's about as powerful an image as Mel Gibson put into the Passion movie with the crushing of the serpent's head. I commented to a friend that I was coveting that crucifix.
Nearby was a section devoted to St. Joseph, the guardian of our Lord. (The other transcept was devoted to the Virgin Mary.) It included a relic of the Cross - not much bigger than a toothpick. Dr. Martin Noland pointed out to me that the thing about relics is that it points to the physicallity and historicity of our faith. Relics may be abused, misused, mislabeled, forged, etc. But relics also serve to remind us that there was an actual piece of wood that our Lord was really hung upon, Peter and Andrew were real people with real bones, and Jacob really did have a stone for a pillow one night (just to mention the relics that I've been in the presence of.)

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