I think the better part of prayer is not us talking to God, or requesting items from a divine vending machine, but asking questions, listening, waiting, noticing, and being delighted by God's endless creative energy and revelation to us through all our senses. 

Barry Sherbeck is a photographer and writer, who often posts haiku poems with his photographs, forging a sort of dual sensory essay. (You can link to Barry’s instagram account here.)

A son of missionary parents, his spiritual journey has featured multicultural and ecumenical experiences. When asked, How does prayer intersect with your work as an artist?, Barry’s answer reflects the same thoughtfulness he brings to crafting a subtle haiku or multi-layered photograph.

“I think the better part of prayer is not us talking to God, or requesting items from a divine vending machine, but asking questions, listening, waiting, noticing, and being delighted by God’s endless creative energy and revelation to us through all our senses.

Consider a busy insect; a snowflake; the sun through the trees; reflections on water; the textures in nature; the constant dances of light and color; the eloquence of wildflowers; the industry of thriving wetlands; the uncontrolled impulses of the wind; the sound of an instrument.

The camera, if I think about it metaphorically, also can be a tool for revelation. It can record and show things our eyes would never be able to see in the same way. The meaning of an image can be drawn out, if you will, by freezing a visual in a split second, or smearing a visual over time, or artificially exaggerating what is in and out of focus, or showing very bright or very dark things with a clarity we normally cannot see with our physical eyes.

As people who seek after God, our theology (our vision of God) is too often constrained to our internal rules and logic, our assumptions, our bias for the familiar, or even our idolatry of certainty, which is the opposite of faith.

Sometimes (repeatedly) we need new lenses and filters to disrupt our rigid notions about God. The surprises made possible by explorations of art (both creating and receiving art) can lead us to a posture of willing discovery, and the humility that what we “know” is a fraction of all that we do not yet “know.”

Art is a language in many ways more powerful than our written/spoken human language, and it is a language God created and uses with incredible fluency.

When I discover images that feel almost miraculously hidden in plain sight, and give credit to God for the complex and dynamic relationships that make these things possible, for me it is a nourishing form of prayer.”

Nine of Barry Sherbeck’s images—a series titled “In the Beginning and the Middle”—are on offer as visual meditations at UNVEILED Prayers of the People.  Light, spirit, time, and hints of new possibilities invite prayerful reflection and listening. Come and take time with them.

 

UNVEILED Daytime Schedule and Evening Reservations

Daytime: Unveiled will be open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, from April 6 through May 6 (except for Monday, April 19 when it will be closed). You will be asked to sign in when you arrive.

EVENING OPEN HOUSES

April 22 — Thursday — 25-person capacity per time slot

6:00-7:30pm

7:30-9:00 pm

May 6 — Thursday — National Day of Prayer (final day of event) — 25-person capacity per time slot

5:00-6:30 pm

6:30-8:00

 

SMALL GROUP RESERVATIONS

Attend with your church small group, bible study group, prayer group, family members, or friends by reserving a time exclusively for your group.

April 21, 28, and May 5—Wednesdays

5:00-6:30 pm

6:30-8:00 pm

April 29 —Thursday

5:00-6:30 pm

6:30-8:00 pm

8:00-9:30 pm are available.