Yesterday, my Windwatchers group spent time praying with an object from the created world. I had prepared a tray with stones, shells, nuts, driftwood, a couple finch nests, and some dried plants. After a few minutes of settling and opening themselves to God's illumination, my participants each chose an object that drew them in some way.
The prayer itself is much like lectio divina, but with the focus being the object rather than a scriptural passage. We gaze and take in the object through eyes and touch, noticing any particular aspects that shimmer for us or nudge at us for attention.
Then we allow memories, feelings, images, and connections to our lives to surface. We listen for any invitations the Holy Spirit might have for us through this object. We rest in gratitude. We have time to share with each other from our experience and to name the invitations we've heard.
I was drawn to a pine cone. Since I was leading, my attention was somewhat divided between guiding the others and time focused on my pine cone. Still, I was entranced by the patterns and lines of this piece of God's creation and resolved to spend more time with it later in the day. Here are the results of gazing with my camera, ending with the cone back in its current normal location, at the side of a much larger cone my mother picked up in California years ago.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"