Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 7, 2011
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 7, 2011
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As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
"Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
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Take up your cross and deny yourselves
"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any want to
become my followers, let them deny themselves and
take up their cross and follow me. For those who
want to save their life will lose it, and those
who lose their life for my sake will find it.
For what will it profit them if they gain the
whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will
they give in return for their life? For the Son
of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of
his Father, and then he will repay everyone for
what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are
some standing here who will not taste death before
they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.'"
On one of the walls of my writing study hangs an
inexpensive copy of a very old Byzantine or Slavic
icon called "Christ, Pantocrator." I am not talking
about computer icons, but a sacred art form providing
visual focal points for reflection and meditation on
Christian revelation and aspects of discipleship.
These cherished religious images are the result of
the prayers of many icon painters, providing a
powerful prayer form that has continued to evolve
over nearly 2,000 years. They help people pray
with their eyes and hearts, without any need of
rationalization or even verbalization. You simply
gaze at them in silence and stillness. I often light
a candle by mine when writing meditations, trusting
the Spirit of God to work deep within my soul. Many
of these beautiful icon images are available online,
providing powerful prayer experiences using modern
The Greek word, Pantocrator, translates as "Ruler of
All." This popular icon has been often used in the
high, main domes of churches for centuries,
acknowledging Christ as Ruler of the universe,
Creator and Savior. Christ typically is painted
facing directly frontally, holding the Gospel, Book
of Judgment, or an Orb representing the world in his
left hand, with his right hand raised in blessing.
He is often painted with riveting eyes staring
straight at the viewer, although sometimes his eyes
My particular copy has an unusual feature, which a
woman noticed when I facilitated an indoor Lenten
labyrinth walk, for which I placed icons throughout
the room for meditation purposes. She came up to me
and asked if the eyes of Christ were different. Yes.
The artist painted one eye open and kind. The other
eye is keen and piercing.
The Christ sees deep within our souls and all hidden
inner thoughts. Words and actions are revealed for
what they truly are. Sometimes we forget that someday
Jesus Christ will repay everyone for what has been done
when he returns in power and glory to judge the world
of its sin.
But through the brush of this particular artist, the
kindly eye of Christ, Pantocrator reveals an invitation
for every viewer to experience God's amazing grace.
This brings to my mind the ever-present reminder that
Jesus has always been a great friend of sinners such
as myself. We are all sinners saved by grace. Christ
is indeed a great Savior.
God, help us appreciate the powerful image Christ,
Pantocrator brings through the powerful words of
today's gospel passage. Thank you for the amazing
grace that gives us confidence now and when Christ
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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