A few years ago on a day trip to Tarpon Springs with Melanie, I picked up a small icon triptych at one of the shops there. There is a central image with two hinged panels on either side that can be closed over and cover the central image. This is done during the season of Lent, as a sort of “fast” from the icon during that time. This triptych stands on a table by my bed.
As I learned more about the history of the Christian church I came to appreciate the non-verbal testimony such traditional works of art contributed. The rest of the year, icons of various saints are a reminder that we have their intercessions and examples to support us. Covering them during Lent is a way of underlining the time of repentance and self-sacrifice we are called to as we approach Easter. For the same reason, the crucifix carried in procession at the worship services is covered with a veil during Lent.
A side note: The picture above is the first one I have taken with my camera since I had the stroke. The last pictures I had taken, one week before that, were of Melanie being awarded the Judges’ Prize at a church food fair. Since the stroke my hands are too shaky to hold the camera safely. I don’t get out of the house much and, when I do move around, my hands are needed to grip the handles of a walker to keep from toppling over. When I pulled out my camera today the battery was dead and needed to be recharged.
Just as well that my icon saints had their eyes covered. My season of fasting continues.