Paintings tell a story

Ever have that feeling you that you’ve been someplace before and yet you know you have never been there?

That was today as we visited Meteroa. An UNESCO World Heritage Site and an incredible view to take in … and yet there was something familiar about the views. Oh yeah … I’ve seen it on the big screen. James Bond For Your Eyes Only. Today was more than an image on the screen it was real, big, and 3D.

This area at one time had over 30 Monasteries perched on the cliffs. Today that are but a few.

When Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire and persecution ended the monastic movement took off. Fearing that people would forget the cost of following Christ now that the threat of death was gone, the monastic retreated from the world foregoing all earthly pleasures so that people would be reminded of the cost of following Christ.

One of the Monasteries (actually a Convent) continues to function and we were able to visit. Aside of the views from high atop the rock cliffs … the views inside were amazing as well.

The chapels are ordained with the painted stories of the Bible and the life of Christ. Another Chapel was ordained with the story of a number of Martyrs. The interesting part was that the chapel while telling the story of so many that gave their lives because of their faith had empty spaces still on the wall. The reason for the empty space was the belief that not all the stories had yet happened that would need to be told. An incredible reminder that our faith is worth living, and yet it is also worth dying for the faith as well. And there are those that believe that there are still saintly stories to be told.

We wrapped up our day learning more about the art of telling stories.

Icons have long been a part of story telling in the Orthodox Church. Each Icon tells a story and have been around for centuries. The original icons were hand painted and remain in ancient churches, museums, or private collections. Reproductions can be purchased nearly every where.

We actually visited a family business where the old techniques are used to produce new original copies.

Each icon is handcrafted from the wood carving, to the canvas, to the painting (or icongraphy). This is truly a family business and an art form.

It was a blessing to see the family devotion to the craft and their faith and love for the works they produce.

Covid has been hard on this unique family business, so we are did are part to help them out. Be on the lookout for some new art work to help tell the story of faith coming to a Pastor’s office near you.

Without story faith dies. Today we experienced story in a little understood world of icon painting and ornate chapel paintings. Both very different from our culture in American Christianity. I’m not suggesting we redecorate the ceiling of our churches, but perhaps we could do a better job of our telling our stories of faith.

What story could we paint with your faith?

Author:

I am a United Methodist Pastor and have the privilege of serving as the Senior Pastor for the church of my childhood. I preach in a place I once was an acolyte. I love to preach, but more importantly I love to teach. I firmly believe that Faith Matters and should affect how we live. This blog is a place where I come to share the randomness that is life and faith ... and the intersection of the two.

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