By Ann Gillaspie
In the midst of this health crisis, I find myself drawn to my faith art. It pulls me to God’s Word and invites me to share that Word with others in the hope that they will find peace and comfort as well.
As people are told to shelter in place and exercise social (physical) distancing, they are searching for things to do, and for answers to what in the world is going on. The art I share is one small way I can try to help.
I designed these three pieces of visual faith art as margin illustrations for Bible Journaling. However, you could also use them as a bookmark, or a prayer card to share with others.
As Bible margin art, you could copy and color these illustrations and then glue them into your Bible, or you may choose to trace them into your Bible and color them there. Or maybe you want to watercolor some splotches of color in the margin of your Bible, and then trace the image and words onto that colorful margin. These illustrations are a jumping point for you to use your creativity to draw closer to God as God uses His Word to draw close to you. When I create a Bible margin based on God’s promises, I often find the peace He promises to give, and wants to give to you.
If you choose to use these illustrations as a bookmark, you could print them on a heavier weight of paper, color them, and cut them out. If you have clear shelf paper or access to a laminator, you could cover them to protect your art. You could even choose to write a prayer on the back of the bookmarks, for yourself or for someone else.
Make several copies of these pages as a family project, and color them for others who are isolated from family and friends. Pray as you color, and be sure to include a prayer on the back of the card. That bookmark now becomes a visual reminder of the prayer you prayed, both for you and for the person who receives it. Those artifacts of faith are powerful, even when they are simple. Try it and see if you agree.
You might even add music to the process of prayer, Scripture meditation, and visual faith. I have included a link to a YouTube video of the First Song of Isaiah. It is such a beautiful song. I invite you to listen to it as you color and pray over the margin art.
Please find the following Bible passages and read them in preparation for your art journey. I found hope and comfort in each one. Ponder them as you color or paint. You will find the Holy Spirit moving in your heart.
Psalm 91 reminds us that we can dwell in the shelter of the Lord under the wings of God’s protection. We have no reason to fear. The entire chapter is such a great chapter of comfort in knowing how much God loves, cares and protects us. Jesus draws us right under His wings like a mother bird would do to her vulnerable chicks.
In John 14: 15-27 Jesus is promising His disciples that the Holy Spirit will be with them FOREVER! He doesn’t tuck tail and run from difficult times. He lives FOR us and IN us! We are not left as orphans but are cherished children. Jesus gives us HIS peace so we do not need to fear or let our hearts be troubled. What a beautiful promise!
Isaiah 43: 1-3
But this is what the LORD says–He who created you, O Israel: “Fear NOT, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Throughout the Bible we see God’s presence over and over again. God rescues people from their enemies, through drought, through storms, through a desert, and from their sins. Isaiah reminds us that when we pass through the waters, the Almighty God will be with us. Why? Because God created and redeemed us with Jesus’ blood to be a holy people, a people belonging to God!
What does this have to do with the Covid-19 virus rampaging its way through the world? We can draw comfort from the Word that God will never desert us. The Maker of the Universe has called us by name. (Isaiah 43:1)
Does this mean we will be immune to Covid-19? Absolutely not! Troubles may assail us from all around AND YET we still have the promise that the Holy Spirit will always be with us, we have salvation, the promise of hope, and the promise of peace.
When the waters get deep, when the river flows too fast, when fires and flames shoot around us and every kind of trouble that may assail us, whenever and wherever we are, the Spirit is with us. We are God’s people, just like the Israelites, and Jesus loves us, now and forever.
What is your next step in faith going to be? For me, it is digging into God’s Word and connecting it to my art. It is seeking the Holy Spirit to move in me and through my art, inspiring me to being a blessing to many.
Ann Gillaspie is one of the illustrators for When from Death I’m Free: A Hymn Journal for Holy Week. You can download a printable version of her Covid-19 Bible Margins here or from Visual Faith Ministry’s Covid-19 Resource Page.