Good article, cheesy photo

The Calgary Herald ran a nice spot on my book Seeking God’s Face in today’s paper – you can read it here. Although the article’s title (“Taking the struggle out of prayer”) might lead you to think I’ve discovered the magic bullet to your and my prayer woes, I have not.  Prayer is still work – which is what praying the office literally is.

Seeking God’s Face is a daily prayer book modelled after the ancient Christian practice of prayer called the daily office (more on that in future posts).  Office comes from two latin words, opus (work) and facere (perform).  The daily office is the work of every Christian – the service of prayer.

However, the photograph that accompanied the print edition article was typical church cheese – me holding my book sitting in front of a stained glass window in our church.  And I knew this was the photograph they were going to run in the article long before the photographer ever showed up.  Photographers are looking for something interesting in the image; and nothing screams “churchy” like stained glass.  I offered other ideas, almost begged for something different, but it was the usual suspect that ran in the paper.

I wonder if that’s the image many people in Canada have of the church and the Christian life – this quaint but dated, stained-glass religion, a very Sunday-ish life and generally limited to a building.  Can we not find something better?

But then again – take a look at stained glass.  It can be arrestingly beautiful, magnificent art.  Most of them tell a story through image.  And here’s the interesting thing about stained glass.  Without backlight, you won’t see its beauty, you’ll miss the richness of its colours.  But when that light shines through, they’re incandescent, almost electric that makes any neon sign pale.

What if Christians could be beautiful stained glass icons through which the light of Christ bathes this world in colour, the Church a masterpiece through which people could see the beauty and radiance of Jesus?

I still think the photograph in the article was cheesy but perhaps we just might reclaim the stained glass image after all.

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