Today’s Bible reading
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” — John 8:3-11
More thoughts for meditation
There’s something playful about “wind”—trying things out, sticking your hands (then your whole head) out the car window. What was Jesus doodling in the sand during that tense encounter with the Pharisees?
Praying with our imaginations through drawing can get us experimenting with what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and working in us. It is one way to enter the kingdom like a child. It is play.
Practice: Make a circle drawing (like a “mandala”). It is a common Christian art form, like the “rose window” from Chartres Cathedral, above.
- Get a blank piece of paper or cardstock (5×7 or bigger)
- Freehand or trace a circle onto it
- Have watercolors, colored pencils, pens or pencils ready
- Pray to acknowledge God’s presence with you, to guide you, and to open you to anything God wants to say to you or show you.
- Sit silently for as long as you need.
- When you’re ready, open your eyes and look at the colors before you. Notice which color you feel drawn to, and begin drawing inside the circle with that one.
- Use as little thought as possible, and try not to censor yourself. Go with the flow. Play.
- Continue to work with that color or form until it feels complete, and then work with a new color or form. Feel free to pause at any point.
- Continue this process until your mandala feels complete.
- When you are done, pick up your paper and look at it from all angles to determine the proper position (it may not be the orientation you drew from). Mark the top of your circle drawing with a small “t.”
- Gaze at your drawing and give it a title—a first impression is best. Write the title and date under the mandala.
- You can pray with your mandala by sitting with the colors, forms, and themes that emerged, or you can imagine yourself very small and pretend like you’re walking through it, talking to God about it.
- Do it again! Praying through drawing can be especially helpful if you’re having a hard time sitting still or finding words.
- Collect your mandalas into a visual prayer journal.
Suggestions for action
Really. Try the exercise above. Resist the temptation to read about what someone else does and do something that is out of your usual routine. Play with it. It will help you follow the Spirit and not just yourself.
Praying with our imaginations as we study the Bible can help us make new, personal connections with Jesus in the gospels. Take today’s reading and let yourself be “in” it. Visualize yourself in the scene and feel it, hear it, smell it, feel the air—is a new wind blowing? With whom do you instantly relate? As you put yourself in everyone’s shoes: the Pharisees, the woman, Jesus, a bystander, what do you learn? Can you draw it? Play.