Yesterday was Leap Day, and so don’t know whether to count it as an extra day in Lent! Don’t know whether to say March is coming in like a lion; but it is coming in with a snowstorm. There’s no wind, so it doesn’t feel like a storm, and the snow is as peaceful as the silence in the Micah room where our iconography workshop is happening here at Camp Calumet.
Painting proceeded all day with the most intense work of the week thus far: constructing the Face of Jesus. It’s painstaking work, so the virtue required of the day was patience. Each layer of paint has to dry before you can paint another. The face itself rises out of a very dark background, a mixture of pigment called sankir; it’s almost the color of mud, and as you add layer after layer of lighter and lighter pigment, Jesus’ face rises out of the darkness.
Theologically, this process of painting from darkness into light reflects the scriptures that speak of the light of Christ shining in the darkness, of the light that comes into being at creation, or as one of the students put it: the uncreated light of God.
The snow has started this morning, coming down lightly, and beautifully resting in the pines. It’s been a remarkably silent retreat. We talk at mealtimes, and after dinner. During our breaks the staff at Calumet wander in to look at the progress.
Today, we’re laying on the gold halo, and putting final touches on Jesus’ face, like his beard. May the light of Christ shine in each person for you today, and may you shine back.