Ordinary Time: Proper 16

Yosemite Firefall by Dave Koch, 2021. Photographed on the Nikon D850 at 220mm, ISO 100 f/11 at ½ second as explained in Dave’s post on PetaPixel.

August 21, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Psalm 71:1-6 • Isaiah 58:9b-14 and Psalm 103:1-8 • Hebrews 12:18-29 • Luke 13:10-17

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Image description: Over a sheer mountain rock face in Yosemite National Park in California flows Horsetail Falls eerily lit by the setting sun. The sky’s golden orange glow gives the falls the appearance of it being on fire as if it were hot lava pouring down the mountain.

Be my rock of refuge where I can always hide. You have given the order to keep me safe; You are —my rock and my fortress. I have leaned upon You since I came into this world; You took me from my mother’s body, so I will ever praise You. For You are my hope, Eternal One; You, Lord, have been my confidence since I was young. — Psalm 71:3,5-6

You have not come to the place that can be touched — with blazing fire, darkness, gloom, and a windstorm — You have come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to His sprinkled blood, which speaks a greater word than the blood of Abel. Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him, for He is like a fierce fire that consumes everything. — Hebrews 12:18,24,28-29

It is only recently that I learned of the phenomenon of Horsetail Falls in Yosemite becoming Firefall for a few brief days in February and October when the sun is at just the right position to create this stunning effect. Every year, crowds of photographers and observers gather to witness this glorious sight. I have always considered such things of enormous natural beauty to be God’s way of giving us also glimpses of Themselves to us. I am naturally stirred to a state of awe and praise.

Practicing Visio Divina:

  1. View the artwork
    What do you see?

    Note shapes – color – style – movement
    What stands out for you?
    What are you curious about?
    What questions do you have?
    Hold back any feelings – judgments – opinions
  2. Read the accompanying scripture and look over the artwork again
    What connections do you make?

    Between the image and text?
    What is coming to mind from your own experience?
    What feelings are rising in you?
    Are you uncomfortable with something?
    There are no right or wrong answers
  3. Read the scripture again and explore the artwork a third time
    What do you hear?

    What is God saying to you?
    What do you wish to speak to God?
    What blessing or prayer is rising in you?

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