Today, icons are mostly associated with Eastern Orthodox churches. In the eighth century, many people considered the worship of images blasphemous, and included the use of icons in the category of images. These people sought to destroy all images in churches, and became known as “iconoclasts”. A comprehensive account of the iconoclastic controversy can be found in “A History of Christianity” by Diarmid MacCullogh, which is prescribed as the core textbook for church history in the proposed new EFM programme, pages 442–456. In the next few blogs, I will be posting information on resources for the study of icons which may be found useful by EFM groups.In the meantime, if your group has used an icon for meditation or worship, or done a theological reflection based on an icon, please tell us about it! (firstname.lastname@example.org).
These icons of St Francis of Assisi and St Columba of Iona were “written” by Rev’d Jean Malcolm while visiting Assisi and Iona on her sabbatical leave recently.
Samuel Marsden is widely revered in New Zealand as the ‘Apostle to New Zealand’, but has a somewhar different reputation in Australia, where he served as a magistrate to the convict colony, and was known as ‘the flogging parson’.
A recent book by New Zealander Richard Quinn presents a chilling portrait of Samuel Marsden as an antipodean Jekyll and Hyde.
Would make a good subject for a theological reflection.
Samuel Marsden does not rate a mention in Diarmaid MacCulloch’s ‘A History of Christianity’, and only brief coverage in the New Zealand EFM text ‘Chiristianity in Aotearoa-New Zealand’ where an account is given of Samuel Marsden’s care of Ruatara, and Marsden’s efforts to establish the mission in New Zealand. There are several interesting insights into Samuel Marsden in ‘Te Wiremu – Henry Williams, Early Years in the North’ edited by Caroline Fitzgerald and published by Huia Press.
Prayer: Before the San Damiano Crucifix
Most High, Glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart.
Give me, Lord, a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, that I may carry out your holy and true decree. Amen.
The internet link I posted before doesn’t seem to be working anymore! Instead, here’s another link: http://saintmichaelparishbedford.org/crossfr.htm
The San Damiano crucifix is probably the best known and venerated crucifix in the world. In 1206 it was probably hanging above the altar in the apse of the Chapel of San Damiano, just outside Assisi, and is the cross which spoke to St Francis.
The name of the artist who designed the cross is not known, but the tiny head, looking over the shoulder of the Roman centurion on the right-hand side of the cross is belived to the face of the artist!
Use the cross for a reflection, and one of the prayers associated with St Francis: “Canticle of the Creatures”, “Instrument of God’s Peace”, or “Before the San Damiano Crucifix”.
Finish by singing (or listening to) the song, “Make me a Channel of your Peace.”
A good website with information on the cross is http://www.capuchinfriars.org.au/sandam.html
This would be a good time for your EFM group to do a reflection on the role of a cathedral.
The “cardboard” cathedral is intended to be a temporary structure. When the new permanent Cathedral is built, should it be a traditional design, or a contemporary design?
Current mentors and students are invited to contribute to this blogsite!
Send blogs telling us about what is happening in your own EFM group, such as reports on good theological reflections, or ideas for worship which have worked well in your group.
Also, comment on any theological issue or topic is welcome.
Information on any resources which you have found useful – books, dvd’s, websites, etc.
However, please keep blogs short and to the point!
You are also welcome to send in any questions you might have relating to the EFM programme, and the operation of EFM in NZ. If we don’t know the answer, we will endeavour to find out for you.
Email contributions to email@example.com