Monday, March 10, 2014

Art Journaling through Lent {invite and be transformed}

The older I get, and the more I journey with God, the clearer it becomes to me that in our desire to know all of the answers we humans often miss the miracles.  We read of Jesus in scripture and casually ingest the Truth of who He is on a surface level because it's what we've heard for decades, and in doing so the crazy-amazing mystery of this God-man is lost.  

I know this, because I've done this over and over again.

I am trying to read John with eyes free of the blindness of familiarity.  I am allowing the Holy Spirit to inform my reading, and I'm following the rabbit trails of association, letting them draw me in.  

"Are you willing to be transformed?" ~Nouwen

This question will not let me go.  And as I read John 2 this past few days, this water-to-wine transformation took on new meaning.

"Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification...Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the jars with water.'  And they filled them up to the brim."  ~John 2:6-7

I've read this, heard this, passage dozens of times at least.  But a few things struck me this weekend that I hadn't paid attention to before.  Jesus was invited to this wedding feast, so He obviously knew the couple, and this invitation led to a transformation, His first miracle, a manifestation of His glory.  

I want to be transformed.  
Transformation comes after invitation. 
Thus I must invite Jesus in.

And the water in these jars, set aside for the act of ceremonial washing, was then transformed into wine, the same substance Jesus served as His symbolic blood at the Last Supper.  The forever cleansing and transformation that Jesus offers.

"Do not despair, thinking that you cannot change yourself after so many years.  Simply enter into the presence of Jesus as you are and ask him to give you a fearless heart where he can be with you.  You cannot make yourself different.  Jesus came to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body.  Let him transform you with his love..."
~Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

I am drawn to these things: invitation, the willingness of the servants to do what this guest asked, the transformation itself, and the metaphor of the wine.

So as I drove around on my daily errands, shuttling kids here and there, I passed a cemetery and glanced over at the statue of a welcoming Jesus facing the busy street.  It was so quiet and restful, so unassuming, and I had missed it hundreds of times before.  This statue reminded me of the statue of Christ above the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which I had actually visited on a choir trip in college.  I wish I could stand at the feet of the statue now, twenty years later, with the sense of appreciation and mystery that colors my view.

Once I saw that statue I knew I wanted it in my journal.  There was something about it I needed as a reminder.  So I sketched a likeness of the statue and prepared a background with spray ink over stencil. 

The colors were too vibrant and I didn't want to overwhelm the focal image, so I covered them with a layer of white tissue paper using mod podge.  

I had wanted to use colorful magazine pages with blues and reds (for the water and the wine), so I cut strips and glued them side by side on craft paper.  I desired to use them almost as prayer beads, praying with each strip I placed.  

I traced a circle out of the collaged pieces and placed it as a halo.  This Jesus was so inviting to me.  And I wanted to invite Him in as well.  I placed water flowing at His feet left to right, turning to wine as it traveled past.

I added the quotes from John 2, and the Nouwen, and let it be.

John 2 is so full.  There is the clearing of the temple, and John's closing assertion that Jesus knows what is in men and didn't trust Himself to them.  I wanted to do more journaling but didn't have the time.  Maybe your revelations will be different.  I pray that you will be open in your creating.


Read John 2.  Invite Jesus in.  Ask the Spirit to reveal to you a mystery you had missed.  Which section of this passage calls to you and what colors or images stand out?  Start by writing the verses, or by creating a background.  Let the process flow from your openness and willingness to serve this invited guest.  Or perhaps it's the temple scene that speaks.  The house of God that has been corrupted.  This human emotion that comes from Jesus is strong and active.  Can you relate?  Are there things you need to clear from your inner temple?


Jesus, I invite you here.  The mystery of your fullness sometimes escapes me, but I acknowledge now that only you can transform the inner place in me so it is a welcoming home.  Guide my hands to create, guide my eyes to see, guide my steps in love.  Amen.

{Share on Instagram with the hashtag #lentenartjourney14.  I'd love to connect with you there.}


  1. Love this. I'm looking forward to meeting you at Refine. Glad Kris shared this. What a meaningful practice for Lent.

    1. Thank you Shelly. :) It will be wonderful to meet you and share in this meaningful time together.

  2. Beautiful, Christine! Cannot wait to spend time with you soon!