the stewardship of courage



This icon, written in Greece in 2000, is of St. John the Baptist for whom the cathedral was originally named. The messy wilderness seemed to be a good place in which to plant a cathedral which was named for a messy man with locust-breath and oily hair.  He is portrayed with wings of fire as is so often the case in iconography and he looks like a man who does not quite fit in at a cocktail party. His feet are mostly bare to indicate vulnerability. He would have a bad end.  Or a good one depending on one’s perspective.

But he had a job to do for Jesus and he did his job.

At some point in the history of the cathedral, leaders felt that John the Baptist was a bit too messy an image for the public relations of the cathedral.  Something more elegant was needed. Something more lovely on stationary and less contentious. Something more Anglican.

Saint John was already established as a name of the cathedral, so the other John was switched in and substituted the Baptist.  From that point forward all the iconography and art of the cathedral was cast as that of John the Evangelist. And so it is today.

One of the things I love about myself and about other prophets in our church; and one of the things I love about the cathedral and its leadership is that both Johns move throughout the place getting things done.  Sometimes the intimacy of the Beloved Disciple is needed.  Sometimes the intellect of John the poet is needed and sometimes only bad breath, steel eyes, gruff determination, and wings of fire will get the job done.


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