This is a picture of Rublev's icon of Christ the Redeemer from the 14th century. It was discovered in the early 1900's in an old woodshed where, according to ledgend, it was face down and being used as a step. In April of this year, the iconographer, Peter Pearson (http://www.nb.net/~pearson) came to New Harmony and for an Icon Workshop. This is the icon we painted. It was a wonderful experience. I used this icon yesterday as a part of a slide show at St. Stephen's before worship. The gospel lesson was Matthew's story of the Canaanite woman coming to Jesus and the disciples to ask them to heal here daughter. (Matthew 15:20-28) Whatever Jesus was doing in this story he was not using his best pastoral skills. But the woman in the story is such an example to us of persistence and prayer. She is also a model for us of the Jesus Prayer (the prayer of the heart)... "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner..." This woman, although not Jewish, was no doubt a believer in God and one who had called upon God's mercy many times.
I remember how much of a change it was in my life when many years ago I learned the Jesus Prayer at a day long retreat in Durham, NC. The Society of St. John the Evangelist (http://www.ssje.org/) had a house there at the time the the brothers taught us how to pray this prayer of hospitality. It is the place my heart goes when I don't know how to pray or when I am angry or confused. I guess I would say that it is the "home page" for my prayers. This icon of Jesus is one of the pictures that comes to mind with that prayer. Over the years I have had other prayers that have meant much to me, but this prayer of the heart has been my home.