Icons are images that open us up. They act as windows that let the light of God shine in. This week’s activity invites you to compose your own “icon” for the Kingdom of God. Draw or paste in pictures that help you recall God’s vision, to create a collage that lets God’s light shine in.
Br. David Vryhof introduces the fifth week’s activity, “Icons of Hope,” which invites us to envision God’s Kingdom.
Transcript: In this fifth week of our program, we’re focusing on the Fourth Mark of Love, which is transforming unjust structures, challenging violence of every kind, and pursuing peace and reconciliation.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And in order to lean fully into this prayer that we pray every day, and into this Mark of Love, we’ll have to do two things. First of all, we’ll have to recognize our complicity with systems that are unjust, and to recognize the ways that we benefit from systems that oppress others. To recognize the way that we participate in racial oppression, in economic oppression, and the ways that we benefit from systems that are created to support people of privilege and which marginalize others. So we need to do some soul-searching about our own fears, our own prejudices, our own complicity with these kinds of systems in the world.
But secondly, we also have to have a vision for what this Kingdom is that we’re praying for. What is the Kingdom of God, how does it look, how is it different from the world’s system and the structures that we encounter that are oppressive and exploitative? In God’s Kingdom, there is no oppression, there is no exploitation, there is no hatred or violence, there is no division. In God’s Kingdom, there is peace, and love, and reconciliation. How can we long for that Kingdom to be established on earth as it is in Heaven?
First, we have to be able to envision it, and our exercise this week gives you a chance to try to envision what this Kingdom might be about. It’s called Icons of Hope, and we’re actually asking you to come up with pictures, with images, with icons, that represent the values of this Kingdom to you. So for example, a picture of a garden might represent God’s desire for everyone to have access to food and to water. A picture of children playing together might be an icon for you of the kind of peace and harmony that God hopes for and longs for among the peoples of the earth. What are the icons that you can picture for yourself that represent this Kingdom for which we are praying and for which we are striving?
– Br. David Vryhof