Lent – February 14-20, 2016
Value of This Activity:
Helps us escape from a disembodied and rationalistic encounter with the text. Invites us to use our sensory imagination as a means of engaging the text.
Bible. Ample paper. Pen, pencil, or drawing materials.
To Begin . . .
Spend a moment in quiet prayer. If you wish, begin by freewriting for 3-5 minutes. Just let the pen empty out your concerns and thanksgiving for the day. Breathe.
How to Play . . .
- Read Zechariah 3:1-10. Freewrite for 1-2 minutes about your initial response to this text.
- Think a bit about the nature of Dreams and Visions. How are they alike? What are characteristics of these phenomena?
Dreams and Visions are very similar: both are somewhat confusing, sometimes spectacular, both can live long in the mind, the heart, and even the body even when we don’t consciously “remember” them, and both require sensitive and ongoing interpretation.
Dreams are almost always in some form of a narrative. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember the whole narrative after we’ve awakened from the dream. Often the narrative jumps around and the story seems confused. But we almost always remember a particular image or perhaps several images from the dream.
Dreams often speak to us through images. Any particular element in your dream that “clings” to you upon awaking could be called an image. If you wish, jot down some strong images from a recent dream of yours, or an image that keeps recurring in your dreams. (Note: an individual can be an “image” in this sense.)
What are your own thoughts about dreams and visions?
- Looking at the Zechariah text, make a list of all the images in this vision. Just list them. No need to explain or describe. A simple list is best at this point.
- Finally, spend time drawing the images.
- Pick one image that’s particularly powerful to you.
- Sit still and imagine that image in your own imagination. (For an exercise in “thinking in images,” listen to these audio files and follow the instructions. It’ll help you believe in your own imagination!)
- Now, draw the image.
Use your pen or a pencil or any art supplies you like. Don’t worry about whether you can draw well or not. Be a child–Draw like a child. Draw the image your imagination sees. Try to represent what you “see” in some form on a piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be realistic. It can be any expression of that image. If no one else would be able to recognize it as the image mentioned in the text that’s just fine—this is your playdate!
- Repeat this process for any other images you listed in step 3. As a reminder: do not bother with trying to explain the images or make sense of the image with words. Just let the images live in you and on the page in whatever way they show up on the page. Play with the images. Don’t “figure them out”! Think with your hands and your eyes.
- Read back through the text — but “read” the images this time, not the words. Let your mind move through the text, visualizing/imagining the images from beginning to end. Let the dream-movie play through your mind without words? Can you do it? Try!
In Closing . . .
Take a moment to breathe and let the playtime settle around you. Carry your curiosity and insights and questions into the day.
Playdate Reference Material:
Playdates with Scripture by Virginia Wiles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at virginiawiles.com.
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