By Cameron Silsbee 

Begin with prayer

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment in silence, in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Exodus 31v1-5 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the teaching from Jan. 7

  1. What stuck out to you about the teaching?
  2. How does the idea of art appreciation as a spiritual discipline sit with you?

Read this overview

God is an artist who invites his people to appreciate and create art. While this may seem to be something of an overstatement by some type of art enthusiast, the Scriptures prove otherwise. From the beginning of the Scriptures to the end, art is an integral and interwoven part of the story – not just part of the story, but even how the story is told.

Discuss the following questions and prompts

  1. What sorts of art have been meaningful to you within the church context? (e.g., worship songs, poetry in the Scriptures, the architecture of church buildings, stained glass windows, etc.)
  2. Describe your experience of art appreciation within the context of your discipleship to Jesus. 
  3. How do you differentiate art and entertainment? How solidified are you in this answer?

Talk over this coming week’s Practice:

This week, incorporate art reflection into your practice of Lectio Divina as you read Mark 4v35-4 one to three times. Utilize the following guide as you practice Lectio Divina:

Prepare to meet with God: Turn your phone off and leave it in another room. Situate yourself comfortably in a quiet, solitary place. Calm your body and quiet your mind before God as you work to prepare your heart to receive what God has spoken through the text and to respond accordingly. Finally, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and feeling as you read.

Read: Read the passage slowly and carefully. Take your time. As you move through the text, pay close attention to what words and ideas draw your attention uniquely. When your focus draws to a particular word or thought, pause momentarily to reflect on them.

Reflect: Upon completing the passage, return to the beginning and read again. Allow it to connect with you on your second journey through the text. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart, your season of life, your person in this moment? 

Take some time to reflect on the following works of art that depict the scene in Mark 4. Notice the tones, artistic interpretations, and body language of the characters in each painting. How does it resonate with or differ from your assumptions of the text? What do you suppose the artist intended for you to think and feel as you looked at the painting? How do you feel as you reflect on the art?

(paintings in order: Christ in the Storm on the Sea, by Rembrandt. Jesus Calming the Storm, 10th century, from the Benedictine monastery in Reichenau. Jesus Calms the Storm, by Gustave.)

Respond: Talk to God about your experience. If you’re confused, say that. Moved? Express gratitude to God. Upset? Tell him about it. Compelled to worship? Worship. If the text has brought something else to mind, talk to God.

Rest: Pause in God’s presence before fleeing from the moment. You might express wonder, awe, gratitude, or praise through words or allow yourself to feel and experience these things quietly before God.

Be prepared to share with your Community next week your experience of Lectio Divina and which works of art resonated with you and which didn’t.

Close in prayer

End in prayer by having one person read this poem from the Scriptures.

 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, 

 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him. 

 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. 

 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things. 

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son 

and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross—through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 

Colossians 1v15-20 NET