“The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the one who is first over all creation…”
Colossians 1:15 (CEB)
“Click on the icon to open the program.” How often have we been asked to do that? It’s one of the most common words in our technology lexicon. (Look, there’s the word icon…again!)
But what does it mean? An image? Representation? A substitute or stand-in?
Before it was something on our computer and mobile devices, it was a religious image. Icons are famously known in Christianity’s Eastern Orthodox branch for being windows into spiritual realities. Not something to be looked at in and of itself, but looked through to see an aspect of God depicted, not explained, through the visual arts. Here’s one of my favorites, originally written by the master Russian iconographer Andrei Rublev in the 1400s, in which the Three Persons of the Trinity are depicted as the three strangers that visit Abram & Sarai under the oaks of Mamre.
That tradition of spirituality and art was inspired by passages like this one from the Letter to the Colossians. Here the little churches in and around Colossae are encouraged to see Jesus as the perfect depiction of who God is. The unique representation of God, not in a literal sense (does God really have a body? Would God physically look like Jesus?), but for us to understand the most important things about God. Jesus doesn’t just come on a mission to save human beings and repair the fabric of creation…Jesus also shows us what God is really like.
Join us this Sunday at 11 am to hear more about Jesus’ role — seen and unseen — revealing God ultimately and uniquely to us, and accomplishing God’s divine mission of reconciliation and peace.