When I was travelling in southern Germany and Poland last summer, I was struck by the number of personal shrines, devotional images, statues, and other items of devotion. Not just in churches, but in neighborhoods, road intersections, on walls of homes, and in yards. It was wonderful to see.
When I look around my own hometown, I see all around. . . not expressions of Christianity but of Eastern religions: Buddha or Shiva statues in gardens, many Tibetan prayer flags hanging from rooftops, fences, and porches. I thought I’d do something to openly share my own faith, at least in my yard, and decided to make an Orthodox-style small shrine with an icon inside. I painted the icon with acrylics and a heavy varnish of marine spar varnish. I think that will be more durable outside in the elements.
I made one for a friend, who built the wooden shrine for the icon. He chose St.Michael the Archangel. It is installed in his backyard as a special prayer spot.
I made one for myself, this one 2-sided. It is installed on my front deck, one side facing our front porch/entry, the other into the private deck as a prayer corner for our family. One side is Theotokos & Child Jesus, the other side is Christ Pantocrator.
I hope that this small witness to faith in our Lord Jesus might inspire someone else to create something beautiful in their own space.