Genesis 9:12-13 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
The Hebrew Scripture for Sunday was from Genesis 9, the covenant between God and the earth. Following the Flood, God voluntarily disarms, self-limits, herself by making a promise between Noah’s descendents and all creation never to destroy the earth again. It is promise made to all of creation not just humans. God’s promise means we are to be in relation with each other and all of creation. (If you are not familiar with God’s promise please read Genesis 9:8-17.) Above is the painting by Joseph Anton Koch of Noah’s Thanksgiving Offering, which we will be using for today’s 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?
Respond to the image with prayer. Did the image remind you of an experience, person or issue for which you’d like to offer thanksgiving or intercession? In what way does God’s promise change, or not change how you visualize your relationship with the earth, each other, and God? Offer your thoughts as prayer to God.
Find your quiet center. Breathe deeply. Relax your shoulders, arms and legs. Rest in this quiet. Let God pray in you. God prays beyond words.
Rainbows are symbols of hope, and renewal following a crisis. May this day bring you your own personal rainbow.
I am preaching next Sunday and the first step in the preparation for my sermon is to pray my scripture using Lectio Divina. The last step in my Lectio Divina is to write in my journal what I hear in the scripture. Often I will draw a Mandala as a visual image of what I hear and the Mandala above is my representation of Romans 6:1b-11, which is my text for next Sunday.
Lectio Divina is one of my favorite practices to delve into a particular scripture and I often add the process of drawing a Mandala when the scripture is long or very visual. I find the resultant drawing adds another layer to my spiritual practice. I draw circular Mandalas for my reflections; I find the confined space of the circle helps me focus on the most important aspects of hearing. But, prayers through art can take any form that reflects your own personal prayers. Therefore pen and ink drawings, soul collage, painting, sculpting anything that lets you express through your artistic and creative senses will help you find a new richness in your prayers, and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy putting the color and form of your prayers onto paper. Trust me I’m no Rembrandt and if I can do it anyone can. Just give yourself permission to play and be open to what happens.
This week I suggest trying prayer through art. Using 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 try praying with art.
Begin your prayer using the steps of Lectio Divina:
Reading/listening: read the passage to yourself twice. Listen for the word or phrase that catches your attention. Silently focus on that word or phrase, allowing it to sift through your heart and mind.
Meditation: As you focus on your chosen word pay attention to your feelings and thoughts, what images, thoughts, or memories does the word or phrase bring to mind.
Responding: What desires has your prayer brought, is there something you need to work on, or does your prayer lead you something you are grateful for. Sit in silent prayer and listen as God forms your prayer in your heart.
Resting: Having heard the word or praise that has drawn you closer to God and having felt a response to the prayer allow yourself to rest in silence. As you continue to sit in silence pick up your paper and pen or pencil and if an image has come forth in your prayer try putting it down on paper. When you feel the prayer has ended express your gratitude to God with a “Thank You”, or, “Amen”
Remember you are not looking for a drawing of perfection rather you are expressing your feelings and thoughts as a visual image and whatever it is it will be your image, beautiful in all aspects.