~ Advent Three ~
deep peace of the
quiet earth to you
“Deep peace of the quiet earth to you” is our prayer for the third week of Advent 2023. Here in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, we felt a stark reminder of how unpredictable and threatening the earth can be. Over the weekend tornadoes swept through smaller towns just North of Nashville taking six lives, sending almost two dozen people to the hospital, and leaving extensive property damage in its path.
Our prayers for deep peace can be offered for these families and people all over the planet facing loss, war, grief, loneliness, illness, heartbreak, and threats both natural and human generated.
This season we are exploring a new prayer practice, rooted in ancient ones. Music and art come together to guide our Advent meditations and prayers.
Perhaps, lectio divina is a more familiar and routine part of your prayer life? This season, we invite you to try similar, yet different, visio divina. It is also a prayer of contemplative meditation. Rather than a sacred text, art and music guide us in the prayer of visio divina. The purpose of both prayers is to bring us an encounter with holy presence beyond the words and images that guide the prayer.
We are exploring A Gaelic Blessing in both written and musical form. Each week of Advent and Christmas, we are bringing together one line of the blessing, a musical rendition composed by John Rutter (and others), and an abstract painting by pastoral artist, Julia Goldie Day.
The holy is always near, even attending to us through tragedy and loss. May God’s steady quiet and deep peace of the quiet earth comfort and calm your heart this week.
The more widely known prayer practice called lectio divina typically follows a pattern of Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest. To build on that pattern of prayerful attention, with a visual art object and A Gaelic Blessing set to music, I am offering this new pattern: Listen, Look, Love, and Live.
During the first week of Advent, we explored the phrase, “deep peace of the running wave to you.” And in the second week of Advent, we prayed guided by the phrase, “deep peace of the flowing air to you.”
In this third week of Advent, I invite you to continue practicing the new-yet-ancient prayer of visio divina. May this pattern of prayer, detailed below, help you focus your attention. And may the sounds and images support you, like the earth itself, through the Advent season. Set aside time for meditation each day this week. Repetition and returning will imprint the desire for peace, and may it repay your attentions by shifting your heart and mind to encounter the holy.
Find the Advent Three music from A Gaelic Blessing here.
John Rutter – A Gaelic Blessing (solo version)
Keaton Whitehurst, soprano
Kevin Kwan, organ
Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Norfolk, Virginia
Listen to A Gaelic Blessing set for organ and a solo voice, recorded as last week’s selection, during early months of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a lonely and isolating time on planet earth. Music and video helped bring us together when other gatherings were not safe. Listen once then hit replay while you focus visio divina ~ deep peace of the quiet earth to you ~ on the image for the week. Let other distractions and shiny objects in your environment and your mind go for a time. All else can drift to the back of your mind. Your focus can be on the image before you. Make the image full screen to help you focus, and return to is when you feel other distractions.
What do you hear with the ear of your heart?
Look at the painting, and continue looking after the music ends, allowing yourself a time of silence and deep, prayerful attention. In that time of reflection and attention, let yourself encounter the flowing air that sustains God’s creation with your own breath and heartbeat.
What do you sense in and through the image of the prayer? How does the flow of God’s presence, move through and beyond the words, images, and thoughts, to speak to you through your body?
Pray your loving response by writing in a journal, speaking, singing, or humming, or with silence by simply breathing
Love God who created you from the same materials of the earth itself. God loves you, upholds you, and sustains you by rooting and grounding your very life. Breathe in the groundedness of this time and place, experiencing fully a sense of wonder and being held in belovedness. Breathe out love returning life to the One who gives you life. Love the One who is the source of all life.
How will you embrace your life as rooted and grounded in God? How will you pray with love joining all creation and thanking God our maker?
Live your life this week with a sense of belovedness, groundedness, and peace. Return to the quiet earth which anchors you. Let each step you take upon the earth be a prayer that upholds you, and weaves itself into your life this week.
How can you allow fullness of creation to remind you that you are beloved, upheld, and sustained in every moment this week?
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
by Julia Goldie Day
“The Earth at This Time Fervently I Kiss”
10”x 20” oil on wood panel ($550)
For Advent Three, “deep peace of the quiet earth to you,” Julia shared her painting, “The Earth at This Time Fervently I Kiss,” and she says about this painting:
This painting is titled from a phrase spoken by Mary Magdalene in a late Medieval play. As told in the gospel of John, Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with her tears and weeps once more at the tomb in sorrow and then again in joy when she meets her risen Lord. Then at the end of her long life, after thirty years of living as a hermit where she is lifted up to heaven by angels and fed manna daily to sustain her, Mary’s final gesture is to kiss the ground in humility. “Thys erth at thys tyme fervently I kysse.” The quiet earth is the gift of God’s creation, the garden, deep peace of a new heaven and a new earth.
The Longest Night
We invite you a gathering on this year’s Longest Night. As we continue building on this year’s Advent Prayer series, drawing from materials of the earth and connections to the holy. Join us for a live Zoom event on The Longest Night, Thursday, December 21. We will make space for all who join us to breathe the flowing air, connect to the quiet earth, grieve and seek healing, and experience a sense of deep peace. We will invite the return of light and love. Please sign up to join us.
The Pastoral Artist
In order to learn more about pastoral artist Julia Goldie Day, visit her website for more information and a gallery of her paintings.
Read her Advent series for Baptist News Global: Mary Christmas: The Blood of Advent. In her BNG series, you will see Advent through the eyes and body of Mary.