Sacred Simplicity

Learning to live “Out of Control/In God’s Hands”

I’m not a huge fan of still life paintings and yet this painting by Spanish Baroque artist Zurbarán is very compelling to me. It is difficult to understand why at first unless I allow it to draw me into the beauty and simplicity of each perfectly rendered object. As I slow down to examine the details of each item, I become mesmerized by how the artist has exquisitely crafted every nuance and I have to catch my breathe as I am humbled by his mastery.

(I hope you will consider enjoying this painting while you sip a perfectly brewed cup of tea:)

Continue with me…and imagine the weight and texture of each object…

In your mind’s eye, allow yourself to be enticed to reach out and touch the lemon…

Breathe deeply and take pleasure in the aroma of the orange–

Close your eyes and feel the silky softness of the rose petals…

Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, 1633, Francisco de Zurbaran, oil on canvas,   23.6 x 42.1 inches. Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena California. Image Source 

Slowing down in this way, making time to create sensual experiences, creates in us an environment of wakefulness to God’s tremendous blessings every day.

I’m slowly working my way through a book by Sister Wendy called “My Favorite Things” and here is how she expresses Zurbarán’s intent:

…the sense of sacred is very strong. Zurbarán has laid these things along a table, as if it were an altar. We feel that he has a deep respect for these simple objects, that he sees them as somehow a revelation of the order that hold all things in being. (p. 29)

In light of this painting, I can see that learning to live more in God’s hands, means placing each day on the altar before God so that we might ask him to bless every encounter and make us more aware of his presence all around us.

This week notice with awe and wonder:

The things that God sends to you…

The little surprises…

The interruptions…

The smile of a stranger you pass in the grocery store…

The quiet whisper of a new idea…

Be more attentive to the things that make your heart sing.

And allow yourself to relish in the moment of discovery:)

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? ~ I Corinthians 3:16

Dear Lord,

I heard you call my name today but I’m not sure why?

I am listening and awake Lord.

Thank you for beautiful music, and the sounds of morning song birds and the gentle rain on my roof.

In Christ Alone:)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. debhumphreys says:

    This is truly beautiful…in every way.


    1. Thank you! Hugs and best wishes for quality tea sipping time in the presence of God:)


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