Ordinary Time: Proper 17

Procession of Souls (after Louis Welden Hawkins, 1893) by Michelle L Hofer — acrylic painting with gold leaf on paper, 8 x 10 inches, 2022.

August 28, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C

Jeremiah 2:4-13 and Psalm 81:1, 10-16 • Sirach 10:12-18 or Proverbs 25:6-7 and Psalm 112 • Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 • Luke 14:1, 7-14

View Lectionary

Image description: The scene features indistinct figures along a river bank across from a simple church building surrounded by large and thick shrubbery. The muted blues, greens and brown tones would indicate the time of day to be either dusk or dawn. A soft golden light glows from the church windows on the opposite shore. Two figures emerge from a small boat onto this side of the river while a group of figures draped in cloaks and bearing golden halos is present on the shore at left. Tall grass and young trees with sparse foliage fill the foreground.

“I am the Eternal, your True God. I liberated you from slavery, led you out from the land of Egypt. If you open your mouth wide, I will fill it. But My own people did not hear My voice! Israel refused to obey Me. So I freed them to follow their hard hearts, to do what they thought was best. If only My people would hear My voice and Israel would follow My direction! Then I would not hesitate to humble their enemies and defeat their opposition Myself. Those who hate the Eternal will cower in His presence, pretending to submit; they secretly loathe Him, yet their doom is forever. But you—I will feed you the best wheat and satisfy you with honey out of the rock.” — Psalm 81:10,13-16

This piece was commissioned this summer by my daughter who found the original to be an intriguing work of art. I wasn’t able to find much to explain the artist’s intentions beyond it depicting a sculpture (of the figures possibly) which the artist admired. There is much to ruminate on and many questions come to mind with this mysterious scene. The Scripture passage I have selected and included brought this piece to mind this week. How does the scene depicted here align with the words of the Psalmist?

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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