This Easter particularly brings to mind the need for unity amongst all the Christian denominations.
“Icons are intended to respond to deep questions, and every age has its own set of problems that trouble the heart.” Windows to Heaven, Zelensky and Gilbert.
The Twenty First Century is witness to the dire need of Christians to join together and celebrate the common elements of their faith. It is time to stop celebrating theological divisions. Unity and harmony are the true state of the Triune God.
Facing statistics of the staggering lack of
Christians in the North East of the United States, as well as the continuous rise of Islam, if Christianity is to survive- and it will- the need to respect and love each other’s differences in service to unity is imperative.
Maximus the Confessor (600AD) writes of the Holy Trinity “ It is in this blessed and most sacred peace that unity is achieved which surpasses the mind and reason.”
Aidan Hart, in his book Beauty, Spirit, Matter; Icons in the Modern World, writes :
“Since it is love which unites the world and brings it to fulfillment we can expect that the world’s Fall has been preceded by a loss of love, or at least by a misdirection of love. And indeed, St Maximus speaks of the Fall in terms of a falling away from the double command of love; love of God and love of one’s neighbor.”
As we prepare to celebrate the glorious truth of the Resurrection, consider the crucifixion Icon. It tells the New Testament story that includes the women mourning and watching, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons Zebedee. Also in the Icon is the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus’ side. He is cowering. In the top third of the Icon are the angels prophesied by Jesus in John 1:51:
“Truly, truly I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God Ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Even in this sad scene, we see the golden light of God and hope permeating the background. The angels are pointing to fulfillment of the prophecy.
As a result of Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and redemption and the Holy Spirit’s visitation at Pentecost… “the universe has become one vast church or temple, reflecting the beauty of the Lord, bringing for all human kind the universal message of salvation.” Zelensky and Gilbert.
Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians are united in our love and reverence for the inestimable love of a God who would send His only Son to die for our sins. That we may be the inheritors of His love for us, and bring HIs love to our world that is in such need of it.
May God bless you all this Easter,