Moving Creatively Through Lent

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Yesterday I posted information on a new series called EMBODIED that starts this Friday, February 16th and goes through Good Friday. Embodied is a 7 week-long exploration of postures of praise & prayer to help us move mindfully through the Lenten season. I will be posting one posture each week (on Friday) to take us through the season of Lent.

In addition, to further help us move through Lent creatively, I will also be posting from the previously featured  “7” Virtual Art-Walk series each week on Wednesdays throughout Lent, as well as reflections from our church’s Lenten sermon series on Monday of each week. The 7 Virtual Art-Walk includes the artwork of Matt Durbin, the poetry of Sarah Wells, and music that all focus on the last 7 words of Christ spoken from the cross. And our church (5 Stones Community Church) will be working with passages throughout Ephesians to help us prayerfully remember and reflect on Jesus during this season. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

jodythomae.com

In Luke 10, when the lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, he asked him how to inherit eternal life. Like a learned rabbi, Jesus turned the question back to the lawyer, who answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus confirmed his answer as true, with a command and a promise: “Do this and you will live.”

When I teach on embodied prayer and worshiping with your whole self (including the often-excluded body), I am often asked where to begin. “EMBODIED” — a 7 day exploration of postures of prayer and praise — is designed as a starting (or restarting point) for those wanting to engage their bodies in prayer and worship.

  • Perhaps you have never used your body to pray or worship?
  • Or perhaps you’ve danced like David before the Lord and are looking for a new way to explore the movement of worship that flows freely from your sinew and bones?
  • Or perhaps you’re looking for an embodied way to spend an intentional week of prayer and worship before the Lord?

Whatever your reason, I’m glad you’re here. Continue reading

Blessed me to tears…

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This dance from Mickye Castillo’s Freedom in the Dance ministry at The Potter’s House blessed me to tears…

 

The lyrics, the choir, the dancers, the music, the movements, the lighting, the enthusiasm of the congregation, and even a short glimpse of the “floor” choir director directing with all his might (see lower right corner around 4:10++) were all so very powerful.

Oh Lord, you are my strength and my refuge…  my very present help in time of need.

Oh, now I need you.

Continue reading

Poem ‘She dances’ ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

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My next book is all about healing from trauma using the creative process. This poem is a perfect example of it. And it is…
So incredibly powerful… so trUly BEaUtiful….
From blogger Lilly Hope Lucario at
https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/

Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

Sad Ballet

Ballet, dancing – was my saving grace, while enduring child sexual abuse by an old man paedophile, for several years ending at approx age 12.

She Dances ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

Childhood
In her garden
Of evil

Of gods and monsters
Evil presides

No safety
No protection
No rescue

Scared
Frightened
Silenced

Deep pain
Seared into
Her fragile soul
Unable to cope
Verbally suppressed

She dances

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Returning to Center: an Embodied Prayer

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embpryretThis is an embodied prayer I created for the Art of Spiritual Direction retreats at which I teach. It is based on the Lakota Native American Four Directions Prayer.

Participants stand in a circle, facing center, where a large cross is placed. You can also Create a Sacred Space like the one pictured at right and use that as your central focal point.

Featured above is a picture from a YogaFaith training where a beautiful pool of water was our focal point. Serendipitously, we ended up with our hands on both of our neighbors shoulders (at the part of the prayer where we prayer for the person on our left and right). It became a powerful symbolic action of unity and solidarity of purpose.

Returning to Center: Embodied Scripture Prayer

Facing Center, we look to Christ Our Center and read from Luke 4: 

Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah),
Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy),
to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the favor of God abound greatly].”

Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all those in the synagogue were attentively fixed on Him.

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Painted Presents and the Art of Christmas

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Don’t ever be “too busy” to give your gift of ARTistry, BEaUty and CREATivITy…

The Secret Kingdom

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It’s hard to paint with a cat in your lap.

Many years ago I painted a portrait of my sister

for her Christmas present.

I am a slow painter.

If I remember correctly…

I started that painting

many months before Christmas

giving myself time

to linger over my work.

“Portrait of Sherry” by Michele Bledsoe

This Christmas

my sister asked for another portrait.

Not of herself,

but one of her beloved cat, Munchkin

who passed away this year..

leaving me 6 days to finish the painting.

6 days.

As of today, it is 5.

Did I decline her request?

Did I make excuses?

Did I explain that I simply had too many other things to do before Christmas?

No.

I just grabbed a blank canvas and started painting.

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #219 — ADVENTure Prayer Walk

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I originally posted this in 2015 as a creative resource for Advent. I wanted to post it here as well as a Creative Spiritual Practice. ADVENTure is a creative and interactive prayer walk to contemplate the reason for the season. Designed to accompany the four weeks of the Advent season, each weekly devotional includes a focus on a “character” of the CHRISTmas story, as well as instructions for a creative or sensory experiential to accompany the meditation. This can be done within a church, ministry, small group, or family context. Kid-friendly and engaging.
This post includes links to all five devotionals and instructions to assist you. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
Merry CHRISTmas, Jody

Nurturing the Creative Spirit Within

Advent BabyJesus strawADVENTure is a self-directed prayer walk we did several times at church on our college campus. It includes scriptures and short meditations combined with an activity at each prayer station designed to help ponder the true meaning of Christmas.

The church is set up with four candles around the outside of the room to represent a traditional Advent wreath. Another candle is positioned in the middle of the room to represent the Christ candle. These candles become the prayer stations where there are scripture meditations and supplies for an activity associated with each scripture passage.

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Arise

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Part 1 of a two-part series from artist Colleen Briggs
“And, then, what if Love has the power to cry, “Arise!” and it pulls you up out of the dirt, into the sun, into looming space so broad and free it takes your breath away?”

Colleen Briggs Art & Writing

arise-final-lo-res Arise; 2016; 14″ x 17.5″; mixed media: ink, watercolor, acrylic.

There you are, backed into a corner, walls closing in, ceiling compressing and floor heaving to meet it.

Suffering has a way of whittling the world down into compact space with infinite feeling.

Like a tiny dandelion in a vast open field, exposed. Like the deafening silence of lonely cries withheld in a crowded room, because no one will hear. Like the ache of an amputated limb.

But what if there, in the negative space, the space around what is, there is something more? What if it actually pulsates with something invisible, but something more real than what you see or touch?

What if it is actually love, standing there on the compact grave of buried memories of what was stolen and lost?

And, then, what if Love has the power to cry, “Arise!” and it pulls you up out of the dirt, into…

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Arise (2)

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Be inspired by this BEaUtiful artwork from the heART of artist Colleen Briggs.
My original devotional song “Song of the Beloved” was based on Song of Solomon. You can hear that here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQKZeNemOGM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQKZeNemOGM

 

Colleen Briggs Art & Writing

arise-2-lo-res Arise (2); 2016; 14″ x 17″; mixed media: ink, watercolor, acrylic. 

Song of Solomon 2:10-13

“My beloved responded and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along.
For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’”

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Tend Your Soul

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Painting / depicting your “Safe Place”…
Where do you go to get away with God and how can you depict it through your creativity?

Colleen Briggs Art & Writing

Recently I painted a friend’s “safe place.” Turbulent waters threaten her survival; and in her mind, she swims to a quiet, peaceful space to weep, dream, hope, and gain new strength before plunging back into the storm.

Places possess power. Yesterday I wandered one of my own safe places, a prayer labyrinth buried deep in the forest. Breezes in the pines, vibrant flame of yellow fall leaves, all whispered to me truths from the heart of God. Messages gathered there ground me today, even as they lift me up above everyday realities into eternal promises.

Where is your safe place? Can you go there soon, if not physically, at least in your mind? Take some time to tend your soul. Linger for awhile and listen…

 

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Anne Unfiltered

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Wow! Wonderfully insightful piece from Kathryn Jackson. Must-read!

Crayons In My Water

Anne has very little ability to filter her own thoughts. This results in her complimenting strangers and interrupting conversations. Most of the time, she is delightful, but then there are episodes like today…

This morning, I started a new adventure in our new church – teaching a 5th grade leadership/discipleship class. My experienced co-leader warned me that this year’s class could be the biggest EVER. Kate and Anne – both being 5th graders – get to have me as their teacher. Lucky them 😉

Anne, Kate and I arrived early to church to welcome the 5th graders to class. Imagine my surprise when TWENTY NINE crazy kids showed up. Consequently, I decided to begin the year with a serious talk about behavior expectations 😉 As I began my spiel, literally, as if she had planned it, Anne began SCREAMING at me. Seriously. Screaming. “Stupid, mom! I want a snack!!” Kate tried to calm her down which only made Anne madder…”KATE…

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Painting and Listening

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Colleen Briggs has dusted off her brushes and is back to canvas with this sweet reminder. I had the privilege of catching up with Colleen one day over lunch — that was almost two years ago. What a BEaUtiful time… kindred hearts…
Thanks Colleen for listening to that Inner Voice

Colleen Briggs Art & Writing

hesedIn the last few months I traveled halfway around the world. The trip was like a rock dropped in a lake, and I’m flowing out in the ripples. Opportunities to share the story of Sanctuary of Hope and Pamba Toto abound. I’m swimming hard to keep up.

Amidst it all, my children, home on summer break from school, moved in and out of my coming and going. Summer bustled with joy. Now, as they return to school, quiet settles over the house and over my soul.

I feel expectant and afraid.

Brushes and paint, gathering dust during my longest break from painting in the last four years, quietly whisper, “It’s time.”

I try to ignore it.

The same old taunts leak into my mind. Art is such a lonely journey with no clear markers, like wandering in a forest without a trail. Every tree looks the same and there are few guides…

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Connecting the Dots

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Great article from Manuel Luz on our role as artists, creatives and worshipers in the church!

Adventures in Faith & Art

It happens to everyone, at an early age.  At some point in our wonder-filled Kindergarten experience, we were all handed a piece of paper smothered in dots.  And we were all instructed to carefully draw lines from one dot to another, following the numerical sequence, with the promise that an image would appear.  Thick crayons scrunched in our tiny hands, we all learned how to “connect the dots” and find the hidden pirate or giraffe or pumpkin.  It was like magic.

The ancients knew how to connect the dots too.  The Greeks, the Romans, the Babylonians, the Chinese—they all pondered the night sky and grouped the stars into constellations upon which they tried to derive greater purpose and ultimate significance.  There were figures in the stars that pointed to something greater than themselves—ancient mythos, creation stories, immutable fates and foreboding omens—and although this was more related to superstition than truth…

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity — Year in Review

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Create-A-Day
In December 2014, God pressed on my heart an idea that would take a year-long commitment and some serious sleuthing. And now, 253 posts and over a year later, the project is done! That project was Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity!  A play on One-A-Day® Vitamins, the idea was to refill, replenish and renew your creative soul. My goal was to provide you, the creative Christian, with resources to help develop ARTistry, CREATivity & your capacity for BEaUty.

Over the course of the year, I connected with some amazing folks doing creative ministry in many different ways and places around the world. In connection and conversation, I learned that there is a movement of artists and creatives on the leading edge of what many believe will be the next Great Awakening, as artists rise up to take their place to reveal God’s glory on this earth. Will you join those artists and creatives in making his praise glorious? Follow the Spirit’s leading in your life and reveal Christ through the BEaUty you create!!

If you’ve enjoyed Create-A-Day, be sure to like me on Facebook as I will be using that as my main platform for sharing resources of ARTistry, CREATivity, and BEaUty in the future.

In case you missed the excitement, here’s the Create-A-Day 2015 year in review:

Top series:

Top 20 individual posts:

If you’d like to explore resources from the past year, I’ve grouped them so you can explore by category:

Or you can simply click here and work your way down through wonderful plethora of creative resources! I hope you’ve enjoyed our year of creativity. If you find any dead links, comment and let me know so I can keep these resources as current as possible. Don’t forget to visit again and please use these resources for your church or ministry.

And don’t forget: Make His praise GLORIOUS!!

Blessings of ARTistry, CREATivity & BEaUty, Jody

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God's Creative Gift by Jody ThomaeJody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You, a devotional book with Bible studies to nurture the creative spirit within and to serve as a resource for creative Christians, artists, musicians and worshippers. She has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, coordinating artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts. She performs, teaches, choreographs, preaches, coordinates and leads workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. JodyThomaeCDcoverart_FA_printShe has also recently released a devotional CD, Song of the Beloved. Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #253 — Heart of Courage

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Our last post of 2015!

 

Let me leave you with this message of courage as you walk the path God has placed before you for the year ahead.

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what Simeon said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” ~ Lk 2:29-35

Imagine hearing this blessing over your child and then those very last words. Just as Simeon is pouring out this wonderful worship of the infant Christ, he ends with this warning to Mary. Women of Ancient Israel longed to give birth to the promised Messiah, the One who would bring hope, healing and restoration to their nation. Yet few would understand the cost of this “gift.”

What gift has God entrusted to you? How will you work with God to bring it to fulfillment in your life? Will you press forward even when the road ahead gets tough? Even when your soul is pierced? Will you still say yes? Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #252 — Visioning the Invisible

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VisionAs we wind down our year of creative posts,  I want to direct you to a blog post from my friend Dave Weiss of AMOK Arts entitled “Vision… Can You See it?” This post is a short but powerful word of encouragement to artists and creatives about moving forward in the dreams, callings, visions and destinies to which God is calling you.

It is my prayer that as this year unwinds you will seek the Lord’s guidance and will for the coming year. What creative destiny has He placed on your heart? What has He called you to for the season ahead? Make yourself “present” to God and seek what he has for you in this present moment! Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #251 — Nativity Shadow Dance

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Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 11.44.45 PMWe are nearing the end of our Create-A-Day 2015 posts. As we wind down, I want to leave you with a shadow dance to “O Magnum Mysterium” sung live for CHRISTmas Eve 2013 at Northland Church in Longwood, Florida. Such BEaUty!!

“O Magnum Mysterium” written & arranged by Morten Lauridsen

Original Text:
O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum. Alleluia. Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #250 — Infinite Windows

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Infinite Windows

I trust you had a blessed CHRISTmas holiday as you celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Did you know in traditional Christian church tradition, CHRISTmas lasts through Epiphany on January 6th? As we wind down from the CHRISTmas holiday weekend, let us remember that Jesus came both to LIVE as God among us (Incarnation) and to DIE as the final atoning sacrifice (Salvation). He is both Lion and Lamb, Alpha and Omega, Healer and Savior, Infant Babe and Victorious King!

Today let me refer you to an October post on Infinite Windows, a blog with meditations on faith and art. This post describes a powerful encounter the writer recently had with a piece of artwork at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The painting was Caravaggio’s Christ Crowned with Thorns, and it depicts Roman soldiers forcing the crown of thorns upon Jesus’ head. I am often astonished by the power of art to bring us into life-changing encounters and memories of God’s redemptive power, grace and love. Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #249 — What is Christmas?

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What is the true meaning of CHRISTmas? I know this can be a difficult season for many. There is only one way to be truly fulfilled in this season:

Clayton Jennings is on a mission to #TellTheWorld about the saving love of Jesus Christ. One way in which he does this is through powerful videos like the one above. Another way is through spoken word:

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