This post is part of our series on making meaningful homes, following G.K. Chesterton’s advice: “It is the main earthly business of a human being to make his home, and the immediate surroundings of his home, as symbolic and significant to his own imagination as he can.” If you’d like to contribute, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your guest post! Thanks to Meghan Tarsitano for her contribution and be on the lookout for more “windows into meaningful homes” as we continue this series.
Isn’t it marvelous when things material and temporal point toward truths eternal and unchanging? Even in small ways, it is better than it simply being a “thing.” A chair has a purpose; a table has a purpose; decorative items are best when they have a purpose too. Certainly, beauty is a purpose in this context, and beauty itself can point toward our Creator. This is partly why in addition to our more explicitly religious decorations, we frequently have fresh flowers. God designed those flowers; He called them good; He delighted in his creation, and He wants us to delight in it too. Indeed, nothing man can create could be more exquisite than the gentle folds of a rose, or the radiant purple hues of a pansy, or the intoxicating aroma of a freshly cut peony
Some years ago, I purchased a family Bible for friends who were getting married, and then realized I’d never purchased one for our own family. After some searching, I found a lovely antique Bible with Rembrandt illustrations throughout. This Bible for its first few years in our family resided with good company in my husband’s library, but thanks to an antiquing parishioner, it now has a dedicated Bible shelf. The shelf has also become a favorite landing spot for a few (of the numerous) orphaned prayer books, Bibles, and hymnals which naturally have come into our lives.
(Note: If you look closely, you will notice my three-year-old’s “mural” contribution that we’ve been unable to remove.)
Above the Bible hangs a print of Nancy Wilds’ enchanting illumination of The Collect for Grace, a gift for my husband’s diaconal ordination. It seemed appropriate that this little station be the first thing one sees upon entering our front door.
Family Prayer: “For the Children”
I have a fondness for paper cutting as an art form, and when a local artist began selling some pieces at my favorite consignment shop, I commissioned her to make this piece. Originally, it hung in my daughter’s bedroom, but I’ve since moved it to my desk in the playroom so I can be constantly reminded of it.
“Fishing for Souls”
My husband and I first admired Adriaen Van De Venne’s masterpiece “Fishing For Souls” on the faded cover of an Owen Chadwick paperback, and for our tenth anniversary we decided to purchase a printed canvass of it. In the painting, the Flemish artist allegorically depicts the Reformation with both Roman Catholics and Protestants “fishing for souls” in a river, the opposing parties on either bank. The painting is fairly even handed with a rainbow pulling the whole thing together, but it does offer some moderately subtle hints at the personal persuasion of the artist.
Psalm Prints by Matthew Clark
I recently did some deep searching on Instagram for anything and everything Anglican, and stumbled upon Matthew Clark’s work. Matthew is an art teacher in central Florida, and a fellow Continuing Anglican. He’s been working on a series of prints inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, and I’m the proud owner of two of them. These are so new I haven’t even framed them yet, and I’m still deciding where to put them. You can visit his Etsy shop here.
And though I cannot bring the hills of Donegal into our living room, I can faintly smell the freshness of the air when I look at the watercolor print I purchased when last there. All of this makes me yearn for places and times, but none more so than the new heaven and new earth where I know all will be restored. And that is the main point of all this religious decoration after all: To use our temporary, earthly homes to reflect God’s glory in preparation for the triumphant day when we shall no longer see through a glass darkly, or know only in part, but face to face and fully.
Meghan lives just outside Jacksonville, Florida, and attends St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church (Fleming Island) where her husband, Richard, is rector. She recently launched “By God’s Help” to blog about raising children as Anglicans. So far, the raising of the two little Anglicans has been preventing very much blogging about it.