February: Creative Contemplation

The goal of contemplative practices is to develop deep intimacy with God, but sitting still and silently meditating isn't the only way to do that. Our unique gifts, talents, heritages, and cultures all contribute to how we uniquely draw near to God. So, to celebrate this (and hopefully inspire you to contemplate more creatively), each month we'll post a different piece of art along with some reflecting questions.

Some months this will be a song, a poem, a painting, a video, or a sculpture. Some months the piece will resonate deeply with you, some months it may upset you, and some months it may confuse you. Lean into whatever feelings the piece stirs up and allow it to draw you nearer to God's heart and expose your own. 


This month’s Creative Contemplation practice is written and shared by Abbey Leader Krista Fleming.

This picture hangs in our front room. The original artwork was four of these squares with a large black canvas hanging on top that the artist painted on. The large canvas was sold. When the wooden frame was revealed we discovered an imprint of the original art on the black frame. I was immediately drawn to the image that was reflected on the backside of the original art. So, I brought it home. I often spend my morning time in our front room gazing into this picture. It is just a representation of Jesus but He has used this image to draw me into his peace, rest, love, mercy & compassion. My hope is that you experience some of this as you reflect on this picture. The hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” often comes to mind as I gaze upon the picture.

Take a few deep breaths, offering your mind, heart, and imagination to the Lord as you gaze at this image. Without searching for some deeper meaning, allow the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and feelings. Be aware of what comes up.

Then perhaps look at the lyrics of the hymn and questions below to prompt deeper prayer or time of journaling.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
O'er us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are

Oh, turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

His word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

Oh, turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
Oh, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

-Hymn written by Helen Howarth Lemmel


How does the painting’s origin story speak to you? Krista writes this painting was actually the imprint from a canvas laid on top of it. Does this bring to mind Jesus being an imprint of the Father and we being an imprint of Jesus?

What characteristics of the man Jesus stand out to you from this painting? Does this representation reveal qualities or characteristics you don’t normally associate with Jesus?

In this painting, only one part of Jesus’ face is seen. Does this remind you of the nature of parables – their mystery, how they try and tell a complete story in just one small part? Take some time to think about this relationship of part and whole, mysterious and complete.