Beads are prayers

The English word “bead” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “biddan” meaning “to pray.” A woman was said to be “doing her beads” when she was using her rosary. Beads and prayers are the same thing. Sometimes I like to express certain religious ideas in bead form. This was the original intent of this blog, but I couldn’t figure out how to add pictures. Thanks to help from a coworker and some dogged persistence on my part (and no thanks to two different WordPress books), I’ve figured out how to marry up words and pictures. Here are two examples of how I speak in bead, when it comes to religious topics.

This necklace is referencing two verses from the Gospels. The fish refer to when Jesus said to his new-found disciples “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The grape leaf and the purple bead together (a symbolic grape) refer to when He said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) (translations from the New International Version)

I also like the medal. It is a Sacred Heart medal. Rather than being a crucifix that depicts Christ’s agony on the cross, the Sacred Heart shows us the depth of His love for us. It also reminds us that we are to create within our own hearts a sanctuary for Jesus.

vine branch

This bracelet depicts the world before and after Jesus. Start at the bottom at the 6 o’clock position and go counter-clockwise to follow the story. The small dark green bead represents the beginning of the Jewish people. The large green bead (both are antique watermelon beads) represents their many years waiting for a Messiah. Then the red bead is for the Holy Spirit, next to the blue bead for Mary. This combination symbolizes humanity saying Yes to God’s requests for us to bring forth His love into this world. The following bead has all three colors of green, red, and blue. It is the merging of history and destiny – Jesus as the culmination.


I believe it is good to have prayers made visible.

The History of the Church, in beads.

I’m attempting to explain the history of the Church in bead form. I apologize for the dark pictures – this is a work in progress. (edit – I’ve added new pictures that are brighter. )

Here is a picture that gives an idea of what the whole thing looks like.


And another –

It all starts with the cross.


Then the large fancy beads near it represent the Byzantine era. I chose blue, purple, and red because those were the colors God said to use for the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.


This section represents the Middle Ages. One church, so one unifying pattern. Lapis lazuli represents the material used by monks in their illuminated manuscripts. The red is antique “white hearts” from the African trade to remind us of history and time.


Here is another picture of this section –

This section has the three colors of the temple, but it is casual and a little jumbled. There is a pattern if you look hard. This is now, the age of strip-mall churches and Mega churches.


And also here –

Pure and unadorned, the color in this section has the best of blue and purple to it, and was started off with red, the color of the Holy Spirit. Blue is also the color of Mary – a human being who said Yes to God and allowed The Divine to work through her to bring forth healing and redemption to our world. This is the future. This is what we as the Church are being called to.


Better lit –