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“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” – Buddha

“I don’t go to church every Sunday, but when I do…” I spend some time in prayer.

Or at least I should. But sometimes I get caught up in the routine of my church-going and miss obvious opportunities for spiritual growth.

Last week, I arrived at church and instead of meditating and praying, I spent the pre-service minutes visiting with friends and looking around to see who else had braved the hot summer morning. I noticed how some of my friends were aging and wondered if I looked older to them. All distractions of any unfocused heart and spirit.

I only had time to glance at the bulletin, seeing who was preaching and to spot the number of our first hymn before the service began. After all, I didn’t want to fumble in my book when it was time to stand. All habitual behaviors, but not habits for a deeper connection with the divine.

The service was good and afterward I stuck the bulletin in my pocket and headed home. Later that day, four of us enjoyed a baseball game, with our Knights finishing with a double, driving in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Monday morning arrived with the bulletin still on the counter where I had dropped it. Only then did I take time to look at the cover and its painting by Marc Chagall titled, “Magic Flute.”

I know that story because my wife has taken me to see it many times over our fifty years.

But this morning was different:

Vivid Divina (latin for “divine seeing”) is a method for praying with artwork, photographs, or other media. It invites us to see at a more contemplative pace. When you are ready, slowly look and notice the image, taking your time to let feelings and thoughts come to you as you take in forms, figures, colors, lines, textures, and shapes.

My Protestant tradition uses fewer iconic figures in the liturgical practices than some faiths. Each culture chooses their own symbolic expressions. The differences are neither good nor bad, only different.

Personally, I am distracted when there is too much going on. Yet on the other hand, the idea of some Vivid Divina in my life is good.

My Vivid Divina is this peaceful image. It’s arrival in my life is a spiritual memory I now enjoy daily. Some may not see the religious connection. Do you?”

The right image removes distractions and gives me more of what I need. A few of these and soon I don’t need to wait for Sunday to be connected to God.

What about your faith tradition, tell me how you see the Vivid Divina in worship, and if you see it in daily life?

My Muslims neighbors are called to prayer at five set times each day, others neighbors pray randomly, maybe on a walk, or in the middle of the busy city. Tell me about the times that are best for your personal tradition.

Thanks for listening, and, as always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran

Epilogue

When I open my eyes and my heart I see Vivid Divina everywhere. It’s in everything and everyone. Do you see it?