Our weekly evening Bible Study will resume on Wednesday, May 8 with our new five-week series, Iconic.
Their meanings matter.
But over time, words change. Their meanings evolve.
Myriad used to mean precisely 10,000. Now it just means a lot.
Literally used to mean verbatim, precisely. Now it’s a handy, almost decorative, word to add emphasis.
Awful used to mean full and worthy of awe. Now it means horrible. Literally.
Sometimes these shifts are simply reflections of humanity’s creative stamp on language. But sometimes, they’re iconic failures.
Icon, for example. Icon used to refer to “a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.” But now, Taylor Swift is an icon. The image of Marilyn Monroe on the subway grate is iconic.
To say the meaning of this word has changed is a literal and iconic understatement.
But icon used to refer exclusively to a form of religious art developed in the third century. Icons were created to allow our human eyes to glimpse into something indescribable, unseeable. God could not be depicted, but Jesus, in his human form, could. Intentionally unrealistic, iconographers created these images to be a window through which the Kingdom could be glimpsed.
And when you catch sight of something new, everything has new meaning.
When Jesus appeared after His resurrection, He was consistently unrecognizable. Something about Him reflected something new. Something iconic. A world where the Kingdom broke forth in a new way, leaving nothing untouched.
Things were redefined. Nothing was left untouched by the holy. Everything, everything is sacred.
Everything is iconic.