~ Advent Four ~
moon and stars pour their healing light on you
“Moon and stars pour their healing light on you ” is our prayer for the fourth week of Advent 2023. If the world ever needed healing, it surely needs healing and peace, justice, and love right now.
Let us offer prayers for deep peace for people of all ages, all over the planet facing loss, war, grief, loneliness, illness, heartbreak, and threats both natural and human generated. This “Prayer for love and longing and loss” puts words around the vulnerable feelings that surface in this season.
To offer a different rhythm for this season, we are exploring a new-yet-ancient prayer practice. Music and art come together to guide our Advent meditations and prayers for deep peace.
If you appreciate lectio divina, then we hope you will try visio divina. It is also a prayer of contemplative meditation. Rather than sacred reading, visio divina is sacred beholding. In this case we are offering art and music to help us encounter 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, hovering close and also shining like the healing light of moon and stars. May we know this deep peace poured into our hearts and over the wider world where moon and stars shine.
The more widely known lectio divina prayer 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 offer a 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 the third week of Advent we prayed grounded in the image of the “deep peace of the quiet earth to you.”
In this final week of Advent, let us continue the practice of visio divina. The pattern of prayer, detailed below, will help you focus your attention. May the sounds and images support you, pour over you, and heal you in this Advent season.
Please set aside time for meditation each day this week. Listen, Look, Love, and Live. Repetition and returning daily, help us to make lasting habits and shape our desires for peace, healing, and a more vibrant life.
Find the Advent Four music from A Gaelic Blessing here.
Libera – Deep Peace (A Gaelic Blessing)
Recorded live at St Johns Smith Square on 6th December 2020.
Music – John Rutter
Words – Traditional
Filmed by Amy Ryan Media.
Listen to A Gaelic Blessing sung by Libera, a boy’s choir from South London. This recording includes a full repeat of the lyrics. After you listen once, then replay while you focus visio divina ~ moon and stars pour their healing light on you ~ with image for the week open on your screen. Allow the music and image to draw you into sacred time and healing presence.
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 and wants to heal you with love nourished in holy darkness and pouring light as soft and alluring as starlight and moonlight. God loves you, carries you, and sustains you by healing every pain and loss in your life. Breathe in the healing light of this sacred 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 healing light that shining on you? How will you pray with love joining in work of God our divine healer?
Live your life this week with a sense of belovedness, healing, and deep peace. Step outside on the long nights of winter and look up at the light of moon and stars. What needs God’s healing embrace in your life?
How can you allow God’s healing love and power pour over you, reassuring you that you are beloved, upheld, and sustained in every moment this week?
God’s moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
by Julia Goldie Day
“She Who Speaks Light and Life”
12’x24” oil on wood panel ($600)
With Advent Four, “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:
Wilda C. Gafney’s translation of Psalm 78:4 speaks of “the praiseworthy deeds of SHE WHO SPEAKS LIFE and her might and the wonderful works she has done.” Generations will remember what God has done! As we come closer to the fulfillment of the promise of this God who speaks light and life, who sends a healing holy child unto us, we receive the gift of healing light. Let it be with me.
Read more about “She Who Speaks Light and Life” by pastoral artist, Julia Goldie Day.
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.