Advent Creative Lectio Divina.

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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.

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Artwork by Matilda Tempest

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 9:6-7.2015-12-17 10.53.45 1.jpg 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.

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Artwork by Harriet Neale

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.

Random reflections:
-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

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Artwork by Ayla Lepine

The fruits of our Lectio Devina session (aswell as other wonderful stuff) can be seen on the Advent with Westcott blog.

 

What is Creative Lectio Divina?

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Its no secret that I like to combine my creativity with faith. I find that I am able to connect with God through various mediums of art. Whilst I was on retreat the retreat leader gave me a leaflet about Lectio Divina, but with an arty twist.

This seemed to be a photocopied leaflet and I have since tried to find the original author and failed. I have also done alot of research into Creative Lectio Divina and whilst Visio Divina is similar, it is still significantly different. In Visio Divina we use icons and pictures in order to inform our meditations on God. But Creative Lectio Divina is the opposite. We use our meditations on God in order to create artwork. The artwork is based on the response that we have from the text.

The basic premise of Lectio Divina is to go through 4 steps. Reading, Reflection, Response and Rest. A good explanation of that process can be found here. But Creative Lectio lends itself to being done slightly differently. The reading and reflection goes together, but the process is repeated three times as the person is attempting to listen to the spirit.
In the leaflet I was given there is a process and some sentences for the person to read so that they may lead themselves into a creative ‘response’ time.

The response time is ‘where the magic happens’ during the time of response the person/people  have a time of creating and making art. It is important to note that it doesn’t have to be super detailed some may just be a word from the scripture that has been adorned with decoration.

Sometimes I find that God will speak to me through ‘pictures’ that I will attempt to create in order to make a better sense of them. This is a similar practive, but is the other way around. By meditating on Gods word and letting that fill us, then we can create something that will show a glimpse of God. In the same way that Lectio Divina is completely personal, so is Creative Lectio. The emphasis is on taking the scripture passage, letting it speak to you and then using your time of reflection/creation for a purpose that will help you grow with God.

I am such a visual learner, and to be able to find a way to put my meditations on paper in a way I can work with has really helped. It is also something to just put an hour aside to dedicate it to creating something for God. I hope that the idea of it will appeal to those creative and non!
I wish that I had more resources to link to, but unfortunately I dont! I suspect that things like this have bee done as a spiritual practice for a while, hence the leaflet I was given. However, I cannot currently find anything published.

I was really taken by the idea and started using it occasionally to deepen my understanding of scripture. I began to build on the idea and talk to people about it, which led to me leading a Creative Lectio Group at Westcott! If you would like to read more about how I led my first Creative Lectio group then that can be found here.

Peace and Joy.

 

The picture featured is from my own meditation on Isaiah 43.15, 16, 18, 19, 20c, 21. Which is a part of CW Morning Prayer from All Saints to Advent.  If you would like to use it then please ask permission. kittycatcollar@gmail.com