Our iconography retreat at Camp Calumet began today. I’m teaching with Rev. Nancy Beckwith. There are seven iconographers in the class, and we’re painting in the Micah Room, in the Conference Center. The space is large and airy, with views of the woods on three sides.
Out under the pines, small winter birds dart here and there, to the feeders near the windows, goldfinches in winter plumage, house, and maybe purple finches, titmice, chickadees, juncoes. It’s lovely to be in wintery weather, cold and quiet, no traffic, and the snow crunches when you walk on it. I didn’t drive my car all day. For the most part, we’re keeping silent as we paint, except for necessary questions about technique. One of the rules for iconographers is to paint in the presence of God, so that everything you are doing, every stroke of the brush is done for the glory of God, and not oneself.
We’re the only folks here in the Conference Center besides the winter staff, and I’ve never quite experienced Camp in this way. It’s as quiet as a contemplative house of prayer, well almost, except at meals when we chat. After dinner and devotions, we sat in front of the fire in the dining room and sang hymns from the ELW, and then for some reason launched into goofy camp songs. Good to be able to laugh, and to laugh at ourselves, midst popcorn, and a loud round of “I am the Concert Meister,” not quite a Lenten hymn.
Verse for today: this came up this morning at breakfast, and was in the Portals of Prayer: Galatians 2:20. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ in me…” This might be my favorite verse in the Bible, next to, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Be well, be at peace, and maybe even get some rest.