“Jesus came to drive a wedge in the status quo and create spaces where new life can happen,” says John Perkins. Our personal lives, the zip codes where we receive our mail and shop for groceries, and the globe we inhabit seem to be spinning out of control. How can we create spaces where the status quo can be exchanged for this new life? How can we engage our world as ambassadors of healing, wholeness and good news?
Visio Divina is a practice of seeing, and praying with images or other media. I’ve used photography as a critical, and now almost indispensable support, as a spiritual discipline. It’s helped me through very dark times but also mountain top experiences. While Lectio Divina is a method of praying with scripture, Visio Divina (Latin for “divine seeing”) is a method for praying with images or other media. While many Christian traditions have long practiced praying with images through icons, Protestants, and more specifically evangelicals, have been less comfortable with this type of prayer. But as a cursory glance through scripture will show, images have been an important part of God’s way of communicating. Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones, and Peter’s dream on the rooftop in Acts 10, as well as the many parables of Jesus, are just a few important examples of how God communicates with us visually.
My yearly photographic calendar invites you to take a journey using my photos in the spiritual journey. Each month I feature a spiritual habit, in most cases observed in the life of Jesus Christ, that we are invited to practice ourselves, aided by visuals of my photography, and important quotes on each monthly topic from other thought leaders. These “stations”, or habits, on the journey fall into some of the classic spiritual disciplines observed by spiritual directors, pastors and mystics through the centuries. I will feature one each month. Clearly, there are more than 12 we could draw from so my list is selective, and confined to the rubrics of the 12 months of the year. Some of these habits (or spiritual disciplines) are more inward leaning while others take us into the world in humble service. I’ve modified, or even switched out a few of the classic disciplines for a focus that is perhaps more relevant for today. I feel this is appropriate, maybe critical in developing a spirituality that we need for our times that will bring us deeper into the new life promised in Christ, but also outward, helping us diffuse the fragrance of Him in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).
If this seems like religious gobbledygook, or just too much like the Christianize you’ve come to despise, let me gently offer this as an invitation to be more spiritually attuned to a new hope that is emerging from the margins. It’s my effort to influence a world that desperately needs more spaces and people where new life can happen. Maybe you can become part of the solution, instead of the problem.
Follow this ongoing story here under the tag “Visio Divina”
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
― Ansel Adams