I spent another day yesterday working on my icon at the studio near St. Maximos the Confessor Skete. I know I have been discussing the writing of my icon quite a bit in the last month or so but it has been, for me, a moving experience and an experience of much learning and education. I’m happy to report that I probably have another 3 – 5 hours to go and my icon will be finished. I then can bring it home for display and discussion.
In our devotional yesterday before we began working on our icons, we talked about the light that is highlighted in our icons. Coincidentally, I was completing my final highlighting (the third one) so as I was later working through the subtle highlights, I considered several items about light that we had talked about.
First, there is deified light that emanates from within each of us who live in faith. In our actions and words, the light comes from within and not only exposes us, but it also exposes that which is around us. As I was highlighting the creases and folds in St. Michael’s garments, wings, and hair, I was reminded that we have the ability and responsibility to let light shine from inside all through and over us in everything that comprises our being. It is often the light that many will recognize in us first before they even know us. It is important that we let light radiate from inside of us.
And second, I highlighted St. Michael’s garb in such a way as to also demonstrate the cosmic light that surrounds us all. God is in us but he is also all around us, too. God is the essence of the universe and, with this being the case, we all experience, so to speak, the influence of the cosmic ambient light of God. It’s as if we all are swimming in God’s light all of the time.
I am far from being an accomplished iconographer but I have learned this about the symbolism of iconography – God’s light is everywhere. It emanates from within the faithful and it pervades the universe that we exist in. We cannot escape the lighting influence of God.