May 14, 2023 Lectionary Texts — Year A
Acts 17:22-31 • Psalm 66:8-20 • 1 Peter 3:13-22 • John 14:15-21
Image description: Set on a dark layered black-blue splattered background, a hand (outlined in silver dots) gesturing a blessing emerges from a tangle of scribbled lines. A scattering of silver dots on the background create a night sky glittering with stars. An aura of fine blue and silver dots surround the hand and give energy to the scribbles. The hand gesture is that of Christ as seen in Christian icons.
Paul: I have stopped again and again to examine carefully the religious statues and inscriptions that fill your city. On one such altar, I read this inscription: “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” I am not here to tell you about a strange foreign deity, but about this One whom you already worship, though without full knowledge. This is the God who made the universe and all it contains, the God who is the King of all heaven and all earth… His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us. — Acts 17:23,24a,27
Everyone, bless our True God! Let praise-filled voices be heard near and far — at home and on foreign soil! Praise the One who gives us life and keeps us safe, who does not allow us to stumble in the darkness. May the True God be blessed, for He did not turn away from my prayer nor did He hold back His loyal love from me. — Psalm 66:8,9,20
Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don’t let them frighten you. Don’t be intimidated, but exalt Him as Lord in your heart. Always be ready to offer a defense, humbly and respectfully, when someone asks why you live in hope. — 1 Peter 3:14-15
Jesus: In a little while, the world will not see Me; but I will not vanish completely from your sight. Because I live, you will also live. At that time, you will know that I am in the Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who loves Me will do the things I have commanded. My Father loves everyone who loves Me; and I will love you and reveal My heart, will, and nature to you. — John 14:19-21
After selecting this painting for the week and meditating on the Lectionary Scriptures alongside it, my interpretation of this image has expanded. While I had fully intended this to be hand of Christ when I created it, I now see my own hand returning a blessing back to the True God as the Psalmist declares. I am reminded of my own capacity and ability to bless both God and others. It’s a beautiful reminder as well in light of Jesus’ words from John’s Gospel of our dwelling in Christ and His dwelling in us. As I receive this truth, it gives way to the precious hope mentioned by both Paul and Peter.
Practicing Visio Divina:
- 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
- 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
- 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?