Ordinary Time: Proper 24

At Days End (Elijah’s Raven) by Michelle L Hofer — mixed media painting on paper, 8 x 10 inches, 2019.

October 16, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
Jeremiah 31:27-34 and Psalm 119:97-104 • Genesis 32:22-31 and Psalm 121 • 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 • Luke 18:1-8

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Image description: A colorful depiction of a raven bringing Elijah bread in the desert (I Kings 17: 6) Bursting from the upper left corner, a golden raven form descends carrying a disk of sustenance in it’s beak. From the bottom Elijah’s hot pink open hand reaches up to receive the delivery. The image background is energetically filled with an abstract splattering and smearing of soft gold, sky blue and shades of bright pink. Pink dot work flows from under the raven’s wing while the bread disk emits blue and white dots some of which spray down onto the open hand. The raven is outlined in metallic silver and the hand is traced with white dots.

Your words are sweet to my taste! Yes, they are sweeter than honey in my mouth! — Psalm 119:103
If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice? — Luke 18:7

This week’s texts encompass themes such as: God’s restoration and a deepening of relationship (Jeremiah), the sweet tasting wisdom of God’s teachings and truths (Psalms and 2 Timothy), and persistence in asking God for justice or help (Luke).

The images I choose to work with begin as illustrations. This piece illustrates Elijah raising his hand to receive bread from the raven whom God sends to provide him food in the desert. I love this story for the ways it teaches us about God and the relationship potential available to us. But what I most enjoy about working with an image (and especially continuing to work with the same subject, even the same exact composition), is the way in which an image becomes symbol of truths and wisdom beyond even the original story.

Explored with the texts today: we view a snippet of what that intimate relationship can be, bread represents the wisdom of God’s teachings and a raised hand encourages us to bold in our asking of God.

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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