I take a lot of photographs. I will see something that inspires me and take several shots. That’s the beauty of the phone! You don’t have to worry about using up film or making a mistake. You can keep what you like and leave the rest.
I use art and photography to inspire me to pray. It’s become a prayer practice. Art is a part of our thinplaceNASHVILLE gathering too. We use slides shows of art to pray with and we go to art museums and art exhibits and let the Holy Spirit speak to us through the different art pieces on display. This past week, I discovered a great resource for both individual and corporate use in worship. The Vanderbilt Divinity School already put together slide shows of art and scripture to go with the Sunday lectionary readings. I’ve used the art from their website before, but this past week was the first time we did a prayer meditation with the pre-made slide show. It was a fantastic addition to our gathering! The process of using art and/or looking at an object or photograph is called visio divina. You look at a photo, painting, or other visual item and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. This link will take you to a PDF with more details on the practice if you want them. For our time today, I’ve selected some of my own photos and one from the Vanderbilt Slide Show to inspire you to try out Visio Divina. You can also pray with the lectionary slide show for this week, Begin HERE
Look through the series of photos below and the one above. Which one do you notice first? Which one speaks to you?
Look at each photograph and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through it… LOOK FIRST.
What do you see? What do you notice? What is God’s invitation to you through this photograph?
AFTER YOU PICK YOUR PHOTO…
Then use the questions to help you pray or take time to answer the questions in your journal.
Are you feeling parked these days, like the truck in the photo above? Or, are you back on the road feeling overly busy?
What road is Jesus inviting you to try out? Or, do you need to stay parked and enjoy the view?
What if God is giving you the gift of the sunset every day, just for you? How does that make you feel?
How are you feeling locked out? What needs to be opened in your life? Talk to Jesus about this.
What pain are you feeling today? What pain or suffering in our world can you give to Jesus to carry for you? Pray for suffering places or people.
Often we focus on the barbed wire and not on the open field behind it… why is that?
What is the new doorway you are being invited to walk through today? Are you willing to walk into new territory with Jesus?
Brazilian street artist, Eduardo Kobra, paints beautiful murals. This one is called “Looking for Peace”. How are you looking for peace these days? Who helps you find it? How can you be a peacemaker in your community?
Fall is in the air. What excites you about this new season? What inspires you? Ask Jesus for new inspiration.
The water refreshes, calms, or crashes against the beach. For many, the beach or being near water is a chance to be with God. Take time to remember a favorite time near water. What were the feelings and emotions? Take time to thank Jesus for the beauty of the place. Maybe you are feeling alone today, like this seagull, talk to Jesus about this. What can you learn from the beach or from the bird, the seagull?
Now your turn to take photos. Take time this week to get outside and take some photos. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through what you notice along your walk. Take several photos throughout the week and then sit down and look through them. What do you notice? What is the invitation from Jesus? What colors or symbols stand out? Take time to be still and be grateful for the simple beauty that is all around you!
If it’s too wet or it’s just nasty weather, find an online art museum or go to a gallery and look at the art. Walk through and find one that speaks to you and stand or sit in front of it and allow God to speak to you.
Share what you notice and what you learn with a friend!
Art is a reflection of God’s creativity, and evidence that we are made in the image of God.
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