by Laurie Gudim
The Feast Day of Richard Hooker
My prayer is that my icons be windows to the realm of heaven. That does not mean that they will be free from mistakes or shortcomings, flaws or glitches. But I pray that God dwelling in the heart of the people gazing at them will be able to use the images to stir something into life – or greater life – or action that serves life. Or, put another way, I pray that the love that is God incarnate will animate something in each icon and use it to speak to the person gazing at it, revealing God’s incredible love for them. Or, yet another way of framing the same prayer is that the icon will become a pipe through which the Holy Spirit blows her provocative, come-hither tune.
I could say the same about me, or about you. I hope that we are windows into heaven for those who gaze at us. I pray that God will be able to use our words as God’s bridge into the heart of somebody who secretly longs for God. Or, may the God in me inspire the God in you, just as the God in you hears the God in me into speech.
In the passage from the Gospel of John for the Feast Day of Richard Hooker, Jesus says, “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
We are the “they” for whom he is praying. Richard Hooker was a window to heaven in his writing. And, out of the depth of our oneness with Christ, we also must speak, act, write, and sing. We will not do it perfectly, not by a long shot. We will have lots of flaws and opaque bits. But even so, perhaps we will be windows to God’s astounding love.
What will you say in these last few days before the U.S. presidential election? What will you do, how will you sing, what will you invite into life in the hearts of others? In the weeks and months that follow the election, what will you do and what will you say?
May we open ourselves enough that the world sees right through us. May we pull aside the curtain of ego and be windows into Love.
Laurie Gudim is a writer and religious iconographer who lives in Fort Collins, CO. You can view some of her work at Everyday Mysteries.
Image: photo of statue of Richard Hooker, Exeter Cathedral. by Ann Fontaine