"You must keep in mind," Father Maximos continued, "that an icon is not a photograph of the physical face. For example, the icon of Christ represents the Person in both his divine and human nature. And the icons of saints represent their humanness at the end stage of Theosis, union with God. That is why iconographers are interested in portraying not physical characteristics of the particular saint but the spiritual essence of the theosized or the god-realized person."
Kyriacos Markides, The Mountain Of Silence, p.75
"The perfected individual," Father Maximos went on, "needs neither icons nor chants nor liturgies. But we are not perfect, and as long as we are not perfect we need aids like icons, psalms, chants, and the like. We find these aids in the Old as well as the New testament and they are always available to us as long as we have not reached our destination in union with God."
Kyriacos Markides, The Mountain Of Silence, p.76
Perhaps, being the imperfect person that I am, I came to Boston looking for some visable sign of Unitarian Universalist pointers to God. I need those reminders of tradition, the guidance of those who have gone before. I guess in reading Boston Unitarian, the blog, I thought I would find something here. I was looking for something which would inspire, give me hope, shed some light, motivate me to continue my search.
Perhaps it is a retreat in a quiet and holy place that I was looking for rather than a trip to a modern American city. But as I have written, the Catholics go to the Vatican, the Muslims to Mecca, the Hindus to the Ganges, and the UUs go to conventions in random American cities.
The Roman Catholic world which I grew up in was spiritualized, imbued with mystery and supernatural presences. This Protestant world I have entered seems very cold and sterile by comparison. Perhaps this is a good thing, to give up childish superstitions, and delusional beliefs, but in the de-spiritualized world of Protestantism, I don't find the inspiration of a Michelangelo, or the music of Bach, or the beautiful Cathedrals within which to worship.
No, I am forced to look inward, into my own heart, which is where God, I am told, is, but it seems putrid to me at worst, and barren at best. I want my icons and chants and liturgies. As much as I hated them as a child, as an adult now, I understand their appeal. There is something to be said for tradition and standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before and found God. The only place I have found it in Unitarian Universalism is on the blog, Boston Unitarian. It is interesting how the virtual world is so much more substantive than the actual world. Perhaps it is the fact that reality rarely lives up to one's fantasies that has left me disappointed in the actual experience.