October: 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 offering is thoughtfully designed by “Curator of Awesomeness,” Scott Erickson, a touring painter, performance speaker, and creative curate who mixes autobiography, mythology, and aesthetics to create art and moments that speak to our deepest experiences.

Scott’s production gifts us something beyond what we expect. He uses an everyday observation to trigger us into a “below the surface” response. Can we not give into our knee jerk reaction to quickly move past the moment or avoid the “sit with it” feeling that therapeutically exposes us to discomfort?

This is an invitation to allow your perspective to take any amount of depth that connects on a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical aspect. These are avenues our Creator uses to connect with us; allow Him to lead.

Scroll down to the photo so it is your focal point.

For about 30 to 60 seconds, center your attention on just noticing the shapes, lines, colors, positive and negative spaces.

Without scrolling beyond the image itself, can you begin to craft a caption for it? What message does this image illuminate in you?

Now begin to soften your eyes or close them as you recreate the picture in your mind. Just take note (again without judgement) of what your memory first recalls about the picture?

As you reopen your eyes, allowing the picture to speak to you again, gently shift your reflection of the picture on Scott’s image caption beside the picture shown.

"I invite you to discover your vocation in downward mobility.
It's a scary request... The world is obsessed with wealth and security and upward mobility and prestige. But let us teach solidarity, walking with who the world calls victims (but we know better), serving and loving. I offer this for you to consider - downward mobility. And I would say in this enterprise there is a great deal of hope and unlimited possibility. .
Have the courage to lose control of your Life. .
Have the courage to feel useless. .
Have the courage to listen. .
Have the courage to receive. .
Have the courage to let your heart be broken, again and again. .
Have the courage to feel everything. .
Have the courage to fall in True Love. .
Have the courage to get ruined for Life. .
Have the courage to make a Real Friend." -- Dean Brackley
"He who loses his life will find it."

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
— Matthew 13:31-32

How does this image and this language of downward mobility resonate with you in light of this month’s parable?

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
— Matthew 10:39

Lord, you are welcome to come and sow your Kingdom into my life. Get your hands dirty as you weed out things not of you – my concern with upward mobility and obsession with appearances – and make space for your seeds of heaven. Amen.