Bethlehem John Baptist
30cm x 40cm, 23ct gold leaf and egg tempera on 5 ply birch
The prototype of this icon came from an iconostasis.
The hand gesture of the Baptist was saying, "He must increase, but I must decrease." [John 3:30] John was acknowledging that he must make way for Jesus to embark upon a mission greater than his own.
I often thought "decrease" was a pessimistic gesture. It took me literally decades to realise that it is in giving way that we become an integral part of our own ideals. Always claiming a dominant position means I am wide open to the temptation of self interest.
This icon was written at the Monastere l'Emmanuel in Bethlehem. I am eternally grateful towards Mere Marthe, Soeur Isabelle, and the community for their care and friendship.