How did art become primarily relegated for children or the (supposedly) refined?
“Darling, do you see that Art? I love the way the blah, blah, blah highlights the use of the unusual technique that very under appreciated artist used. What’s that? Why yes, I think it is time for a cuppa and a scone.”
Yet another great tactic of the enemy of our souls. Believe this lie: Art is for them, or her, or the very talented, not for you. Not for your soul.
Thankfully we have a God who says, “What a bunch of nonsense. You are made in my image and as imagebearers you were made for art. You need it to feed your soul.”
You might have heard of Lectio Divina, Latin for Divine Reading. “Traditionally, Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. First a passage of Scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.”
As wonderful and meaningful as Lectio Divina can be—and let me also say as powerful as the Bible is—not everyone has an easy time with reading. Again, thankfully God doesn’t have one right way to interact with Him. Enter Visio Divina. It’s Latin for divine seeing or “praying with art.”
One blog put it this way: “Think of Visio divina like this–putting on God-glasses to see how an image illuminates Christ for you.”
Another blog explains, “Visio divina invites one to encounter the divine through images. A prayerful consideration of and interaction with a photograph in the magazine, icon, piece of art, or other visual representation allows the viewer to experience the divine in a unique and powerful way.
“Visio divina can be practiced individually or with a group in a small group or worship setting by using a piece of art as a focal point for prayer. Scripture can also be paired with the image in order for the viewer to reflect on the scripture through the art.”
We want to give us all a chance to practice Visio Divina and share insights in the comments. Here is a simple description of how to practice this discipline. A modified version of these steps can be found here.
- Pick out an image. (We will provide one below.)
- Look at the image and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see. Keep your attention on that one part of the image that first catches your eye. Try to keep your eyes from wandering to other parts of the picture. Breathe deeply and let yourself gaze at that part of the image for a minute or so.
- Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the photograph. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so.
- Consider the following questions:
- What emotions does this image evoke in you?
- What does the image stir up in you, bring forth in you?
- Does this image lead you into an attitude of prayer? If so, let these prayers take form in you. Write them down if you desire.
- Now, offer your prayers to God in a final time of silence.
As we are in the season of ordinary time, try vision divinia using an image depicting Christ in the desert.
Ivan Kramskoi (1837-1887), “Christ in the Desert.” Image source: WIkimedia Commons
Here are three suggestions if you would like to continue this Spiritual Practice:
- When you look at Instagram, choose an image for Visio Divinia
- Pick a piece of art from your host country
- Use this meditation for Rest on the Flight to Egypt
Had you heard of Visio Divina? How was trying Visio Divina with the picture of Christ? What did God reveal to you through this practice?