For a basic primer as to what Creative Lectio Divina is see my other blog post here.
After much discussion with some of my Wescottian friends I decided I would try to run a Creative Lectio Divina group during Advent to just see how it would work.
The room was set up so that the tables were in a rectangle, and the chairs were all facing inward. (As close to a circle of tables you can get.) I originally had planned to have a centre table with things like candles, and fabrics in order to prompt people if they got stuck. However, I needed all the tables I could get and so I put a small tealight on each table, and a large candle on my table instead.
I started by explaining what we were going to do. I was going to read the passage aloud once, and then say a few words in order to start the meditation process. Then another person would read the passage to everyone and I would say another few words. After the third person had read the passage I would say a few more words then play some music to begin the time of reflection/creation.
I had put some supplies out for people to borrow, but some people brought their own. I wanted the first session to be a ‘dry’ run. So nothing too serious like paints ect. I had a large mixture of magazine,tissue paper and other papers for collage which went down really well. As well as lots of markers, pastels and chalks. I also had different sizes and colours of paper, although some people created within their own sketchbooks. I decided to mix mediums, some people didn’t. That’s the beauty of doing this in a group is that its nice to reflect on your work and how different each persons is.
The group had never really done anything like this before (neither had I except on my own), although most of us had some experience of Lectio Divina. I decided to use the passage Isaiah 9:6-7. Partly for familiarity and partly to make it Advent themed. I had chosen a slightly longer passage, but the ordinand who runs the Lectio Divina group within college said it was best cut to about 8 lines. I agree completely reflecting back on it. It meant that the words that connected with us really stood out and didn’t get lost. I decided to print the scripture passage out not only so people had a copy infront of them, but also so that they could use it as a part of their artwork. Some of meditation lines in the beginning focus on finding the words that really speak to you, and so having the passage infront of you to underline ect I think really helped. Some people even cut lines or words from the passage and used it within their art!
The meditation lasted for around 40 minutes. During that time music played. I wanted people to feel that they could get up to get more/different supplies if they wanted to, so I did prewarn people at the beginning that this is okay. Although the atmosphere was quiet, I think people still felt able to ask for things if they needed. I gave people a ‘5 minute warning’ but the emphasis was not on finishing. The whole idea was to lead people into creating things based on the passage.
It wasn’t about how ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’ those works could be. It wasn’t even about trying to finish them. But to bring the group into a place where they could create art for the glory of God. I finished with some words to end the meditation and a prayer to give thanks to God for all the things we have created or started to create. Then we packed up and off we went. As someone went around taking photos of the work we all shared the joy of each others art. I felt it was important to celebrate what we had did together, but also to give people the option of not sharing if they didn’t want to. I’ve always loved doing things like this by myself, but doing it in a group added a beautiful richness to it.
-Someone kindly offered to make tea and bring cake for the beginning, which is now a needs must for every session!
-Setup/room atmosphere is essential. The room we had was perfect size for the group we had. Including big tables ect. A tealight on every table was perhaps a mistake. Someone noted that it was quite dangerous considering there was lots of tissue paper about!
-As the ‘leader’ I felt it was just as important that I took part. That was the whole reason I created the group in the first place!
-Having some kind of ‘neutral’ music was very useful. Wordless is perfect for creative stuff. I used the piano soundtrack from some Studio Ghibli films which worked a treat!
-‘Creative’ doesn’t have to mean paint. The mix of mediums was brilliant, someone even did some digital artwork. It also doesn’t have to be perfect either. Its up to the person creating that it represents for them what they think the scripture holds.
I must give a massive thank you to all of the ordinands who let me try it out on them! Everyone in the group said how much they enjoyed it. Hopefully this means that they will all be up for repeating it again!
Stay tuned for more Creative Lectio Divina adventures.
Peace and Joy
The fruits of our Lectio Devina session (aswell as other wonderful stuff) can be seen on the Advent with Westcott blog.