It’s that time of year again where across the country many couples are preparing and getting married.
At the wedding rehearsal of a good friend of mine a couple of years ago, the mother of the bride – who had flown over from Bratislava and who’s daughter had painstakingly translated to her throughout the rehearsal said how pleased she was that the service was very similar to that in the Bratislavan Catholic Church. She conveyed how pleased she was that I would wrap the couple’s hands in my priests stole as proclaimed them husband and wife – as that was the tradition of her church also.
Another tradition we have in common is the use of icons- more common perhaps in Greek and Russian Orthodox churches. Icons are religious paintings some embossed with silver and gold and a tool for prayer for those in need of comfort and consolation. They are created for the sole purpose of offering access, through the gate of the invisible, to the mystery of the invisible helping to lead us into the inner room of prayer and bring us close to the heart of God.
The artists who create these do so with colours and forms that not only depend upon the imagination and taste of the iconographer but are handed down from generation to generation in obedience to venerable traditions. Each brush stroke, each tap with the small hammer to temper the silver or gold incorporated with prayer and therefore steeped in prayer. It is no wonder that they speak more to our inner than outer senses and to the heart that searches for God.
The icon is not just a painting it is a prayer and it struck me that marriage and life in general is all about a succession of brush strokes. In that each twist and turn that life brings to a married couple or an individual should be surrounded by love and prayer.
As I write this, we have just completed our 10 Days of Prayer between Ascension and Pentecost, culminating in our Churches Together ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ service last night. During those ten days many of you will have been focusing ever more intently on prayer both corporately and individually, for our world, our communities, friends and families, our Diocesan Strategy the list of subjects will be endless.
Prayer is about not only speaking but listening to God and it’s important we make space in our lives to be in God’s presence and be aware of those things that are stirred in ours and our brothers and sisters hearts and offer them in prayer.
Every blessing Revd Ali