Many of us live in nice safe neighborhoods with few opportunities to interact with those who are disadvantaged except maybe on the street when we are approached by a homeless person. And while disasters are all too common today I would guess that most of us are relatively unaffected by such actions as shooting incidents or natural disasters. So today I would like you to put yourself, through your imagination and pictures, in places you might be uncomfortable with. I have chosen three pictures only two are images that may disturb you or make you uncomfortable. The third is a quiet scene and I would like you to ask compare your feelings of that scene with the others. This is not my usual spiritual practice but using our imagination to be in a place of comfort or discomfort is also a spiritual practice for it opens our hearts and minds to the possibilities of where we need to grow or what we fear. Finding God in uncomfortable places is just as important as finding God in places we are needed but don’t want to go.
Follow the directions for using the imagination combined with Visio Divina:
- Study the picture slowly, taking a first glance noting the colors, people, places and things. Remain with the image for one to two minutes. If you would like, jot down a few words about the image.
- Take a second, deeper, look. Where is there movement? What relationships do you see? Engage your imagination. Where are you in the artwork? What do you see from that perspective? What deeper meaning emerges?
- What feelings arise within you as you gaze at the images? Do you feel fear; are you uncomfortable? When you gaze at pictures 1 and 3 then contemplate picture 2 what changes in you as you look at this serene scene. Do you see the sunset in a different way?
- Respond to the images with prayer. Did the images remind you of an experience, person or issue for which you’d like to offer thanksgiving or intercession? Offer your thoughts as prayer to God.
- Find your quiet center. Breathe deeply. Relax your shoulders, arms and legs. Rest in the quiet moment. Let God pray in you. God prays beyond words.
Ruth Jewell, ©February 2, 2016