Seventh Sunday After Epiphany

Winter Landscape with Church (after Caspar David Friedrich) by Michelle L Hofer — acrylic and metal leaf on canvas, 2011

February 20, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
Genesis 45:3-11, 15
Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40
I Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50
Luke 6:27-38

View Lectionary

Our image this week is a landscape icon. And by that I mean a landscape painting infused with spiritual meaning. This is my version of Casper David Friedrich’s Winter Landscape, 1811. Friedrich was a Romantic Era German painter who saw nature as a place of worship.

Here we see a figure who, having cast his crutches in the snow, is now seated against a rock. (You may need to zoom to see them.) The person holds his hands in a gesture of prayer and gazes at the crucifix standing among the evergreens.

For Friedrich, landscapes were temples; his paintings themselves were altarpieces. His reverential mood demands from the viewer the silence appropriate to sacred spaces filled with divine presence. — Gardener’s Art Through the Ages

I don’t feel a need to elaborate much more on this piece of art. I would just really encourage you to allow yourself to enter into the scene. Relax your body, take a few deep breaths and begin to explore using the visio divina practice:

  1. View the artwork and read through each of the lectionary passages. Simply observe the piece looking over all areas of the art…
    What do you see?
    Note color, style, movement, etc.
    Try to keep an open mind and hold back any thoughts of judgment/opinion.
  2. Now take a second look over the art this time exploring feelings and thoughts that arise…
    What about this piece has me curious?
    What stands out for me? what am I drawn to?
    What questions do I have?
    What does this make me think of?
    How does this make me feel?
  3. Finally, read the lectionary passages again and view the art a third time. Now explore meaning…
    Listen for anything the Spirit wishes to reveal.
    Is there something you wish to speak to God?
    Do you sense a prayer or blessing rising in you?

Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good— live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness. Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! Commit your path to the Eternal; let Him direct you. Put your confidence in Him, and He will follow through with you. He will spread out righteousness for you as a sunrise spreads radiance over the land; He will deliver justice for you into the light of the high sun.
— Psalm 37:3-6

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