When I saw this gorgeous Russian icon in a shop in the Old City of Jerusalem, I knew I had to have it! It was surprisingly inexpensive (unless of course I misunderstood the shekels!) .. but it’s an amazing creation. I asked an old man called Fr Seraphim why John the Baptist had wings. He said, ‘Ah that’s for two reasons. Firstly because he is like a messenger from God and secondly because he is already living the life of heaven on earth’.
‘And who is that in the chalice? I asked. ‘Is it Jesus, being recognised by John even when he was in the womb?’ He thought it might be.
But then he added. ‘I think it’s a font not a chalice, so the icon is covering a lot of time – Jesus being recognised by John when they were both unborn, and then simultaneously John baptising him when he is old. Icons are clever like that they can cover a lot of perspectives simultaneously. And look! The baby in the font is blessing him!’
Well, I was pleased with all this new knowledge from Fr Seraphim, but why have I felt the need to put up a picture of my icon today? (By the way I bought it for all the bards, actually, and it hangs at present in Tom’s kitchen like a Pilgrim Icon. I’m not sure where it’s going next.)
But today I was reminded of it because I’ve just returned from that wonderful meeting tonight at the Angel’s Den, where I was listened to and prayed for, advised and encouraged about my bardic business, so carefully and attentively by 3 business men and 1 business woman, who were giving their time for free, that it made me think ‘Yes, there are people who want to live as though it matters that they live like heavenly messengers and that if you want to make others realise that Jesus is present, you only have to listen with the ears and eyes of the spirit, so that others feel heard.’
You think that sounds a bit too easy? I have met very few people over the years who give up their time to really deeply listen to other peoples’ journeys, hearts and plans. But when you are in the presence of someone who is attending, your heart leaps up and you feel recognised.
Often, as artists, we think that our great gift is what we say or create. What I learnt again tonight is that one of the most creative things we can do is listen to someone with the ears of the spirit. And at that moment your ears become creating ears, your eyes creating eyes.
Now that’s what I call prophetic!
More of the Angel’s Den another day when I’ve assimilated all I learnt.
with thanks to Sally, Dave, John and Andrew and all those at the Family Business and Sharon from Faith in the Community, who also listens with a prophetic heart..