Framing a New Picture – Part 1


One of my hopes for this Sabbatical is to be open to things the Lord may have to show me as we worship with other churches, travel to different lands, and experience new things.  Yesterday while on our pilgrimage trip to Iona, where the Christian faith is said to have started in Scotland through St. Columba, I learned a bit more about the tradition behind the Celtic Cross.
These stone crosses were carved by the monks at Iona in great detail, featuring several Biblical scenes on the vertical and horizontal parts of the cross.  You might, for example, see a carving of the Madonna and child, or Adam and Eve in the Garden, or Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

Once the cross was finished and erected, it not only served as a marker of faith witness, but was a meditative aide or object.  A monk would come to stand before the cross in prayer, lifting his head to look up to and above the cross as his attention was focused on God.  As the sun hit the cross and traveled up or down it’s vertical axis – depending on ones orientation to the cross and time of day – the pictorial Biblical scenes carved into the cross were illuminated in turn.  The light drew focus to the monk’s prayer and meditation on that story and aspect of God’s message, as a compliment and reinforcement of the message of the Cross  of Christ

In this way the monks of Iona were using a new technology to frame their understanding and devotion to God.  Isn’t it interesting that what to us today may appear an old relic was at one time a new technology applied to the faith?

As we capture our own contemporary pictures of faith and ministry perhaps some new technologies will offer themselves as frames to focus our prayers and worship.

#Sabbaticalsummer. # IonaAbbey. # Framinganewpicture


Filed under Christian Faith, Ministry, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Framing a New Picture – Part 1

  1. charseawell

    You are on my dream trip. So cool to learn about the Celtic cross…enjoy every moment of this journey!



  2. Jeff Caldwell

    Will meditate a bit after reading this posting, Dan, and reflect on Kip Wright being live-streamed sharing the welcome and announcements….what aspect of that will one day be seen as an old relic? Hmmmm……..

    Safe and blessed and happy travels.

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