• Katherine Cox

Icon of the day

Updated: May 2

Here is a poem, picture, quote or Bible verse for every day of the week. We will post something or a selection each week to act as an icon - a doorway into - our own personal reflections, prayers and experience of God. In this time of crisis when our church needs to be a connection of the spirit and soul rather than body, let us experience our community together through these daily reflections.

If you would like to contribute to these reflections, please do email Katherine at kvcoxtherapy@gmail.com




Monday 13th April

Supper at Emmaus (Caravaggio)


‘God comes to us disguised as our life’ (Paula d’Arcy)

‘’For some reason, which I have yet to understand, beauty hurts. Suffering opens the channel through which all Life flows and by which all creation breathes, and still I do not know why. Yet it is somehow beautiful, even if it is a sad and tragic beauty.’ (Richard Rohr)

‘Suddenly’ by R S Thomas

As I had always known he would come, unannounced, remarkable merely for the absence of clamour. So truth must appear to the thinker; so, at a stage of the experiment, the answer must quietly emerge. I looked at him, not with the eye only, but with the whole of my being, overflowing with him as a chalice would with the sea. Yet was he no more there than before, his area occupied by the unhaloed presences. You could put your hand in him without consciousness of his wounds. The gamblers at the foot of the unnoticed cross went on with their dicing; yet the invisible garment for which they played was no longer at stake, but worn by him in this risen existence.




Tuesday 14th April

The Resurrection reunion of families by Stanley Spencer


‘We are made in love, for love and unto love, and it is out of this love that we act’ (Richard Rohr)




Wednesday 15th April

Although the Wind (Izumi Shikibu)


Although the wind

Blows terribly here,

The moonlight also leaks

Between the roof planks

Of this ruined house’




Thursday 16th April

Trinity by Andrei Rublev


There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun…There are no strangers…If we could see each other as we really are all the time…the gate of Heaven is everywhere’ (Thomas Merton)




Friday 17th April

The Morning after the Storm JMW Turner


‘One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious’ (CG Jung)

‘He who learns must suffer

And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget

Falls drop by drop upon the heart,

And in our own despair, against our own will

Comes wisdom to us, by the awful Grace of God’ (Aeschylus)




Saturday 18th April

Vincent Willem by Van Gogh


We do not handle suffering, suffering handles us in deep and mysterious ways that become the very matrix of life, especially new life’ (Richard Rohr)




Sunday 19th April

Past Auction by Benjamin West


Sometimes the boulder is rolled away, but I cannot move it when I want to. An angel must. Shall I ever see the angel's face, or will there always only be that molten glow outlining every separate hair and feathered quill, the sudden wind and odour, sunlight, music, the pain of my bruised shoulders.

‘The Angel’ by Ruth Fainlight




Monday 20th April

The return of the prodigal son by Rembrandt


‘When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when they whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced. This is our chance to come out of our self-protecting bubble and to realize that we are never alone. This is our chance to finally understand that wherever we go, everyone we meet is essentially just like us. Our own suffering, if we turn toward it, can open us to a loving relationship with the world’ (Pema Chodron)




Tuesday 21st April

Butterfly Windmills by Salvador Dali


‘We can never give the butterfly of happiness to another. Each must catch it alone. For some it will be ever elusive, and love must work within that painful understanding’ (Sister Wendy Beckett)

‘It seems there is a cruciform shape to reality with cross purposes, paradoxes and conflicting intentions everywhere. Jesus hangs right there amid them, not even perfectly balancing them, but just holding them… the virtue of hope, with great irony, is the fruit of a learned capacity to suffer wisely, calmly and generously’ (Richard Rohr)




Wednesday 22nd April

Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí


‘Since my mother bore me, you have been my God.

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near’ (Psalm 22: 10-11)

‘Out of my distress I called on the Lord

The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place’ (Psalm 118

‘Jesus died ‘for us’, not in the sense of ‘in place of’ but ‘in solidarity with’ (Richard Rohr)




Thursday 23rd April

St George’s Day

Saint George and the Dragon, by Paolo Uccello


“We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God's family.”  Archbishop Desmond Tutu




Friday 24th April

Dawn After The Wreck by Turner


‘Somewhere, out at the edges, the night

Is turning and the waves of darkness

Begin to brighten the shore of dawn

The heavy dark falls back to earth

And the freed air goes wild with light,

The heart fills with fresh, bright breath

And thoughts stir to give birth to colour’

From Matins, by John O’Donohue




Saturday 25th April

The Feast Day of Mark the Evangelist


One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12: 28-31



Icon of the day for the week beginning Sunday 26th April

The mother of one of our congregation suggested to her son that he used Psalm 91 as a prayer. We thought that was such a good idea that this week we have used the psalm each day. You may want to take each day as a separate moment or read the psalm cumulatively through the week.



Sunday 26th April

Mother and child Henry Moore

Psalm 91

'You who live in the shelter of the Most High,

who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,

2will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress;

my God, in whom I trust.’




Monday 27th April

Confiscated knives used to commit crimes have been collected to build a sculpture outside Liverpool Cathedral. The Knife Angel is a national monument against violence and aggression and aims to show the impact knife crime has on people's lives.

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence;

4he will cover you with his pinions,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.




Tuesday 28th April

The Old Tower in the Fields van Gough


You will not fear the terror of the night,

or the arrow that flies by day,

6or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

or the destruction that wastes at noonday




Wednesday 29th April

Claude Monet milieu du jour (Haystacks, midday)


A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

8You will only look with your eyes

and see the punishment of the wicked.

9Because you have made the LORD your refuge,

the Most High your dwelling-place,

10no evil shall befall you,

no scourge come near your tent.



Thursday 30th April

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa


For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways.

12On their hands they will bear you up,

so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.



Friday 1st May

Anonymous, The Archangel Michael


You will tread on the lion and the adder,

the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver;

I will protect those who know my name.

When they call to me, I will answer them;

I will be with them in trouble,

I will rescue them and honour them.

With long life I will satisfy them,




Saturday 2nd May

Marc Chagall 'Jacob’s Dream'


Psalm 91

You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,[a] Will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, Or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,[b] the Most High your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.

When they call to me, I will answer them; Will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honour them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.




Sunday 3rd May

John Sell Cotman 'Doorway of the refectory, Rievaulx Abbey'


Liminal space is an inner state and sometimes an outer situation where we can begin to think and act in new ways. It is where we are betwixt and between, having left one room or stage of life but not yet entered the next. We usually enter liminal space when our former way of being is challenged or changed—perhaps when we lose a job or a loved one, during illness, at the birth of a child, or a major relocation. It is a graced time, but often does not feel “graced” in any way. In such space, we are not certain or in control. This global pandemic we now face is an example of an immense, collective liminal space.


The very vulnerability and openness of liminal space allows room for something genuinely new to happen. We are empty and receptive—erased tablets waiting for new words. Liminal space is where we are most teachable, often because we are most humbled. Liminality keeps us in an ongoing state of shadowboxing instead of ego-confirmation, struggling with the hidden side of things, and calling so-called normalcy into creative question. (Richard Rohr)




Monday 4th May

Fishing at Sunset by Joseph Farquharson


Leave the familiar for a while. Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof. Make a new water-mark on your excitement And love.

Like a blooming night flower, Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness And giving Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence Lie beside an equator In your heart.

Greet Yourself In your thousand other forms As you mount the hidden tide and travel Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven Are sitting around a fire Chatting

While stitching themselves together Into the Great Circle inside of You.




Tuesday 5th May


This is one of the famous pictures of Van Gogh’s bedroom. All his work is intensely personal, which is one of the reasons why we love it, but nothing is so personal as one’s private bedroom. This was the first time that van Gogh, perpetually unsettled, had had a house of his own, and he invested in it an immense amount of psychic energy. That is partly why this great painting is so alarming: it is a symbol of van Gogh’s inner centre. If you think about it, to come close to van Gogh would indeed be a frightening experience.

The room is claustrophobic, with those blue walls closing in on us and the floor tiles seeming to shoot like rockets towards the vanishing point with a dizzying sense of perspective. We are shut in by that back wall. There are two doors, both closed, and a window out of which we cannot look. There is a mirror that reflects nothing but chaos. He has tried, pathetically, to enclose in this room all that matters most to him. On the right wall hang two paintings: one of himself, because he was a very self-centred man, though innocently so; the other of one of the rare people who befriended him, the local postman. Over the bed there is a weirdly tumultuous landscape that suggests his own mental state at times of disturbance. There are two rather indeterminate sketches (he was a passionate draughtsman) and there is a small washstand, almost quivering with electric power, held down by the sheer force of personal artistry. The towel hangs near it like a great flag drooping without wind, and there is the touching effort to impose order on his clothes: three sad little bundles neatly aligned. (Sister Wendy Beckett)

In this airless cell, van Gogh believed he was expressing great ‘tranquillity and restfulness’, as he wrote to his family. He is actually expressing intense anxiety and frustration, ordered, held in vigorous, trembling tension. It is this moving contrast that makes us feel close to him. We are an anxious, neurotic generation, and we warm to this neurotic man, struggling so bravely to impose calm upon the turmoil of his mental stresses.




Wednesday 6th May

Church bells will ring tonight at 19:30 all over France, the federation of bishops in France has announced.

People are also invited to burn a candle at a window in their home while the bells ring for ten minutes to celebrate Annunciation day, today March 25.

The bishops said it is a way for Catholics to celebrate and continue to pray while gatherings are forbidden due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

It is also a way to show support and solidarity during the health crisis.


‘All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated....As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.’ (John Donne)




Thursday 7th May

Michael Andrews – Melanie and Me Swimming, 1978-79


This perfectly observed picture of a father teaching his child to swim celebrates a simple happy moment on the grand scale of oil painting. The dark water and rocks may suggest a harsher world that surrounds this peaceful pair. But for the moment everything is good.


This perfectly observed picture of a father teaching his child to swim celebrates a simple happy moment on the grand scale of oil painting. The dark water and rocks may suggest a harsher world that surrounds this peaceful pair. But for the moment everything is good.




Friday 8th May

Commemoration of VE Day

The Grieving Parents, Kathe Kollwitz




Saturday 9th May

‘The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.’ (Albert Einstein)

Under the wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave), Hokusai, 1831

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is offence, let me bring pardon. Where there is discord, let me bring union. Where there is error, let me bring truth. Where there is doubt, let me bring faith. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, let me bring your light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy. O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that one receives, it is in self-forgetting that one finds, it is in pardoning that one is pardoned, it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.


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Twickenham

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