Take a look at the real Jesus

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple. 
(Psalm 27:4)


Sometimes there is value in just looking at something.  In the Orthodox tradition, icons of biblical characters have been hand painted in lavish colors and minor flaws or perspectives to draw the viewer into a closer look at them.  Down through the ages, icons have been treasured for the replications made that most closely mirror the original. 


There is a first century icon of Jesus that is believed to be the closest anyone has come to an accurate picture of how Jesus actually looked.  The icon shows Jesus, not with even classically beautiful features but with two slightly off-kilter sides of his face looking directly at the viewer.  One might excuse the artist for making Jesus look physically handsome, but that isn’t what happened.


But, as https://orthodoxwiki.org/Iconography tells us “…they (icons) are not simply artistic compositions but rather are witnesses to the truth the way Scripture is. Far from being imaginative creations of the iconographer, they are more like scribal copies of the Bible.”


I would encourage you to Google “The six oldest images of Jesus” and look at the 1st century icon shown there.  Take your time.  What draws your attention?  Look at Jesus’ eyes.  What do you see?


From this Monday’s Spirituality and Practice email, here is a story and practice for your use:


A story is told about an old parishioner of St. Jean Vianney (The Cure of Ars) who used to spend a lot of time alone in church. St. Jean became curious about him and asked him one day, "Why do you spend so much time sitting in church? What do you think about?" The old man answered, "Oh, I just look at him, he looks at me, and we are happy together."

— Irma Zaleski in Living the Jesus Prayer by Irma Zaleski


To Practice This Thought:
Find a quiet place and just hang out with God for a while.

May you, too, be happy.


And a Happy Thanksgiving wish to you and yours!