Pat Desnoyers Presents...
Spiritual Awareness and Prayer Through the Arts
September 23, 2005
How Do We Communicate With God?
Each of us experiences God in a different and unique way. How we interpret God and our ability to express God in our lives... is very individual.
Using the ARTS ...can open us to new ways of reaching out to God ...and from God.
What can we do?
Even if we do not consider ourselves to have artistic talent... we are God's works of ART...so give these ideas a try!
- Choose and listen to a piece of music that the students are not familiar with. Listen to it at least twice (have them close their eyes for the second listening).
As the students listen... ask them to sense what message/themes/images come to mind from it.
Ask them to share what God spoke to them/told them as they listened.
- Give students an opportunity to CREATE MUSIC using instruments. Ask them to let God/Holy Spirit speak through their music.
Have fellow classmates share what messages they received from God/Holy Spirit in the sharing of these creations.
- Use music to inspire creativity on a theme you suggest... have the music playing while the students create a prayer, a prayer picture, or a prayer dance/movement
- Collage - Have the students create a collage showing/interpreting the theme you suggest. i.e.
What/Where is God?
Who is God for you?
Who am I?
What is Belonging?
What is Community?
Have students try to interpret the feelings/ideas/messages that their peers' collages speak to them.
* A CLASS COLLAGE may be created to inspire 'group interpretation/representation'
- Painting Project - Have students choose a symbol and color that expresses their identity/how they see themselves. Paint this somewhere on the paper (where they see themselves in relation to this world).
Have them choose another color and symbol for the most significant person in their lives. Paint them on the paper.
Have them choose 2-3 other significant people in their lives and choose colors and symbols for them. Paint them somewhere on the paper.
Add a color and/or symbol for CREATION in the painting.
Choose a color and symbol for GOD and paint that into the picture.
After the painting is done and dried... have the students look at their painting and reflect on the following...
What word/phrase comes to you as you study your painting?
If God was standing behind you looking over your shoulder...what would God say to you about your painting?
What do you think God would bring/add to your picture?
What song/psalm/scripture does this/your picture remind you of?
THEN...have the students share these with peers and have them interpret the painting.
AND/OR... have the students create a prayer to God on the back of their painting.
- Have students create an 'ART PRAYER JOURNAL' that contains various projects and the prayers that were created from them.
- MANDELLAS - (see Grade 7 Religion Program for detailed explanation)
Pose a faith-filled question to your students... and have them respond with a mandella.
Give the students a prayer, a bible passage or other scripture... and have them create an 'ART RESPONSE' in the form of a mandella.
Have the students do a mandella to illustrate a bible story.
Have students use clay or other medias to create a symbol/image/metaphor of GOD.
- TABLEAU -
Give the students a prayer, a bible passage or other scripture... and have them create a TABLEAU to illustrate this.
Questions to focus their creative interpretation:
What key images do you see in the reading?
What is the struggle you feel as you read this?
What are the main feelings in the reading?
Is their repetition of words/phrases/ideas? Why?
What theme(s) is/are represented in this selection?
What piece of music do you think of as you reflect on this?
- MIME/SKITS/CLOWNING -
Have the students act out their TABLEAU or create a dramatic presentation of a prayer, a bible passage, scripture OR even a word/phrase.
- Have students SHARE their TABLEAUS, MIMES, SKITS, CLOWNING with each other ...and have fellow students interpret the messages/feelings/readings that were presented.
- Have students illustrate prayer in the forms of SPORT movements, LITURGICAL dance/movement, or other non-traditional ways of thinking of prayer.
*USING PROPS...can inspire students to be more creative!
- EXERCISE/STRETCHES -
Taking time out in the day to have the students do some quiet and gentle movements... can bring about prayer-filled conversations with GOD.
This has been the most familiar/commonly used way of interpreting and expressing GOD and prayer.
There is and always be the need for us to teach the ROTE prayers of our Catholic faith.
HOWEVER... MORE needs to be done with WROTE prayer!!!
- Give the students a piece of poetry to interpret and inspire them to create a PRAYER POEM.
- Have the students create a PRAYER SONG...after listening to various pieces of inspirational/spiritual music.
- Have students learn actions for ROTE prayers (i.e. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be in Grade 2 program) or have them create an ACTION PRAYER, using own/other prayers.
*REMEMBER... It is better to use something SIMPLE for the students to work with/from... it will allow them to create something MORE!
...DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT...
In order for you to notice a difference...
you must try something different...
and then you (and your students) will
MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Your students will
SEE more, FEEL more, DO more and BE more...
when you open up the world of the ARTS...
in their discovery of GOD!
Please see attached handouts provided at the session.