Icons of the Beloved Life: Jesus with St Menas

 

‘I strike a match, bring the flame to the candle, watch it take. I kiss the icon. A kiss of greeting, recognition, humility, affection and yes, of love. And then a pause. How natural, how earthy, how good this seems. This practice of the Orthodox church has become part of my life. I’m an iconophile, I’m an iconodule, I love icons. I believe that they are a great gift of the ancient and unfolding Jesus tradition, simultaneously suggesting an alternative way to see the world for what it truly is – an earthly-heavenly paradise – and opening ways for us live that paradise to the full wherever we are…’*

 

icon of Jesus & St Menas
icon of Jesus & St Menas

We’ve been asked frequently about the icon on our website that we use as our social media avatar. It’s  a reproduction of a sixth-century Egyptian icon of Jesus with Saint Menas commonly known as the icon of “Jesus and his friend.” The original is at the Louvre museum in Paris, and a copy is used in prayer at the Church of Reconciliation, the home of the Taizé Community. We love it very much…

*This reflection by Ian Adams is from ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press) in which the gift of icons – and other ancient spiritual practices of the Jesus tradition – are explored further.

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Morning Bell: 40 Temptations – a series for Lent

 

This Lent series of Morning Bell is a meditation on the nature of temptation. It draws on the Gospel accounts of the 40 day testing and temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, one of the deep roots that have formed the spiritual practice of Lent. These reflections in text and image attempt to see behind any obvious temptation urging us to do something wrong – and to look for the deeper questions that are being asked of us about life, love and faith. If we are truly attentive the apparent temptation or taunt may turn out to offer a gift, enabling us to understand who we are and to embrace what is being called of us.

 

Morning Bell: 40 Temptations - series for Lent
Morning Bell: 40 Temptations – series for Lent

This will be a demanding Lent series, as it should be. The themes are tough, the images have a bleak quality, and the language will be sometimes be earthy. If you need to opt out for a while please do that – be kind to yourself. But as and when you are able, please join us as we journey through wilderness. The photos that form the base of the images begin with a series taken on a train journey this winter.

If you can, check out one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s time in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1-11 / Mark 1.12-13 / Luke 4.1-13) and consider how he responded to the temptations that came his way. As we pray and reflect together this Lent no doubt at some point the wild beasts may come, but so too may angels…

Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Cave Refectory Road 4: in the refectory

 

In the Refectory continues our second year of spiritual practice in Beloved Life. Working with ideas from Ian’s book Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living we are exploring how ancient practices from the Jesus tradition might be a gift in our own times and in our own places, helping to bring about the kind of better world that Jesus described as the ‘kingdom of heaven’ coming near.

We’re suggesting the refectory – the dining hall or canteen of the monastic settlement – as a symbol of the way of life that an individual or a community seeking to be in the way of the hospitable Jesus might follow. This is the community deciding to offer itself as a source of stability, presence and hospitality to its wider communities. This is the individual seeing their own resources as being a table set for more than one…

 

Cave Refectory road: in the refectory
Cave Refectory road: in the refectory

The monastic tradition almost always sees itself as being expressed in a flow between prayerful engagement with God and activity on behalf of the world – and specifically on behalf of the most needy. This motion invariably begins simply as presence, being alongside and with those who suffer, sharing their situation, and then working to bring relief…

©Ian Adams ‘Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living’ (Canterbury Press and Liturgical Press USA)

Look out for short daily posts around this latest theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including  Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell: if I do not love

 

This series of Morning Bell explores the theme of love. For this series we are pondering and re-mixing lines from St Paul’s famous meditation on love in his letter to the church in Corinth (chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians). He begins by suggesting that without love all our best efforts are worthless (If I do not have love he says I am nothing). He then opens up the possibility of love as it is lived, shared and encountered…

 

Morning bell: if I do not love
Morning bell: if I do not love

The theme of Love is developed further in Ian’s book Running Over Rocks – particularly in the closing chapters Face Fear with Love / Embrace Intimacy / and Give Everything To Find Everything. The images for this series are all from street photos Ian has taken in Plymouth.

Grace and peace to you, beloved…
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More