It begins with a title…
As we talked about the title of this current teaching series, we felt that we wanted to avoid relying on words like “questions” or “issues” because at the core of many of the topics are people, and we don’t want to remove or minimize the realities of our experiences. Because our experiences matter – they are our context. And they are useful in helping us fruitfully engage with the biblical witness. Many esteemed pastors and teachers, past and present, hold to a paradigm that seeks to keep Scripture, Tradition, and Experience in dialogue with each other to guide us – with the Spirit’s help – in our discernment.
In light of this, we thought, rather than a title that merely reflects the topics, we wanted a title that would reflect our prayer and desire for this series. Grant Us Wisdom, Lord, seemed not only fitting, but also helpful in keeping our collective posture one of humility and listening.
As we open the Scriptures together each week and consider some of the significant questions or uncertainties we might have about this life with Jesus… Grant Us Wisdom, Lord.
The title becomes an image…
Our new series, “Grant Us Wisdom, Lord,” explores some very real and emotional topics (like pornography, abortion, and unanswered prayer). As I sought out a graphic that would encapsulate the series, I began thinking about how we might best approach these topics as followers of Christ. It seemed to me that, alongside listening to scripture, the best place to start would be listening to stories from those who have walked through these multi-faceted and difficult experiences.
If we take the time to view these topics through the lens of true human experience, surely any judgment or condemnation must give way to compassion and empathy. The camera lens in the series graphic reminds us that a complex issue is often best viewed through another’s eyes. And it also calls to mind the fact that a snapshot is not the entire story. Let’s remain open to having the tough conversations with each other, seeking for understanding and wisdom for the journey.
The image begins to move…
After seeing Ali’s image, the colors and shapes, and the various beautiful ways the Lens draws out different aspects of an image based on the angle and the way it bends the light, I knew I wanted to create a visual meditation that did likewise. As I looked at the image more, it seemed to me that within the slices you could see a city. This seemed perfect for the series, as the city is our context – it’s where we live and where the lived realities of these topics are experienced daily.
I used a single shot of Calgary (taken by Lindsay Nichols some time ago) as the foundation and began to play, allowing the different slices of Calgary to respond to various lighting and prism effects, and to dance and move with the music.
As the title is a prayer, I wanted to include a prayer that would bridge the visual element with the theme of the series. For this I used the words of St. Augustine,
“Look upon us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls vanish before the beams of thy brightness. Fill us with holy love, and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom.”
Beginning with a confession of our own darkness and inviting divine light to illumine and color our souls, this prayer presents the wisdom of God flowing out of “holy love.” To me, it seemed such a perfect pairing.
As you watch the Call to Listen over the coming weeks, notice how the words of this prayer are made visual, and the thoughts or feelings that stir as you watch slices of our city shine and dance.
May love of God, each other, and those that make up our city, be the solid ground from which we pursue wisdom.