Raised in the evangelical tradition I was more familiar with Easter than this season called "Lent." I was comfortable with somber Good Friday services, and celebratory Easter Sundays. Then I learned about Lent, and how it is a time to reflect on our longings, our losses, in a way that leads us to confession at the feet of Jesus. Sometimes getting to his feet I found I needed a little help, a gentle push to move forward. I needed someone to remind me of the love of God amidst all this grief.
From these experiences, and through gathering materials I've found helpful, we're offering this half-day Lenten retreat guide. It's filled with prayer practices, journaling prompts, and reflective invitations. It can be used individually, or with your community group. It can used on a half-day away at a museum or over a weekend up on the mountain. It was created with flexibility in mind.
It was also created to remind you how much God loves you. Using Scripture, art, and thought provoking journaling experiences this PDF guide offers you the opportunity to open your heart to God through these practices and to prepare to celebrate the hope we have in Christ Easter Sunday morning.
If this idea excites you, or feels like the last thing you want to do but you feel invited by God to do it anyway, click below to learn a bit more and view a sample page. The PDF guide is designed to be flexible in use and time, so feel free to take a half-day to yourself or a weekend away with your community group.
If you have any questions about this retreat guide, or how to best use it, feel free to contact us anytime. We'd love to hear from you.
Wednesday marks the beginning of a new liturgical season: Lent. It is a season of waiting, of longing, of loss. It is a season of lament. Lent gives us space to grieve, to let go, to exist of the tension of already and not yet with Jesus.
Below is an image, followed by instructions, to help you engage and process and connect prayerfully with Jesus as you open to the places of your heart and life where you feel tugs of grief and yearning.
Peace as you enter this sacred space.
Begin in a quiet place...
How did it go? What surprised you? Where were you led?
Using art to help us pray is a tradition rooted in Christian history. The method is simply to observe, reflect, and then to respond. As we do this in prayer, asking Jesus to lead our minds and hearts, we come to embrace our identity in Christ, open to ourselves and others more fully, and walk in the freedom Jesus offers us. May you be led in to the goodness and grace of Christ as you sit with this image.
How'd it Go?
Take a minute or two to share with us in the comments from your experience.
Instructions for Visio Divina
I'm excited to announce this fall we'll be offering our first visio divina workshop! We'll be reflecting on how images can form us spiritually, and experiencing it firsthand. I hope you'll join us! Feel free to invite a few friends, too.
If you don't want to miss the details as they're released, signup on our email newsletter list to have the info delivered straight to your inbox. I promise not to spam you or sell your information. :)
I hope to see your friendly faces there!
Welcome to today's visio divina. I titled today's image "hope," but I want you to know that may not be what you find. If another word or theme surfaces for you as you pray - go with it! God may be leading you somewhere he has specifically for you today.
Grief comes in many forms, over many different kinds of losses. Some of those losses may include loved ones, dreams, or freedoms - sometimes they're literal and physical or tangible, other times not. This morning's image may help you process grief, or something else may come up for you. Whatever it is, go with it.
Take a few minutes to just view the picture below. Notice the details, colors, and feelings it brings up in you.
After you've spent sometime interacting with the image, process through a few of these questions as they're helpful (I recommend using a journal to do this portion):
Once you've journaled through some of these questions, take a few minutes to breathe deeply. As you do, close your time in a simple prayer like, "Jesus, have mercy."
If you like, share with us what this time was like for you in the comments section. We'd love to hear.
Visio Divina came to me while studying at Talbot School of Theology's Institute for Spiritual Formation. One day while I was meeting with my spiritual director she brought in a paper copy of an icon. She had me gaze and reflect on what it meant to me, without telling me what it was supposed to mean or what the right reflection was. As an artist I was intrigued by how God's Spirit would speak to me in such a unstructured manner -- there was no text to exegete or commentary to reference to see if I got the answer right. It was God speaking to me personally through beauty and my senses. I later learned that St. Ignatius highly recommended visualizing Scripture -- using your imagination to observe yourself playing a part (observer, one of the key characters) in the text. He believed new and deeper understanding would emerge. Genius.
All that to say I found an interesting article by Patheos.com on "Praying with Art: Visio Divina" that I wanted to share.
How have you experienced God speaking to you through art, or beauty? How did that impact your relationship with God? I'd love to hear - please share in the comments.