“He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness” (Job 26:10, ESV).
The foyer of Maple Park Church in Lynnwood, Washington is filled with art. Each unique work was inspired by a different passage of Scripture. The individual compositions all began with a circle, and they are filled with light. These are mandalas.
Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle. Westerners often associate the notion of a mandala with eastern religions, chanting, and incense. Our mandalas are Christian!
Mandalas can be traced in the Christian Church as far back as the 12th Century AD. Two brilliant mandala creators from the 1500s are Lutherans. Both Martin Luther and Jakob Böhme created these circular compositions to communicate Christ. We also find mandalas built into the circular stained glass windows of Europe’s cathedrals, as well as Christian churches in other parts of the world.
Consider using your most powerful sense, vision, while you study Scripture. As you study the Transfiguration of Jesus, imagine yourself present. Then sketch out a simple drawing to capture what you see in your mind’s eye. Scripture comes alive. You become present within the scene.
At Maple Park, we have been using a new curriculum called Christian Mandalas in small groups and Bible studies. Individuals in the small groups, using the curriculum, study a passage of Scripture for three days. They create a mandala for each of the three days. Next, the individuals come together as a group and share their mandalas with one another.
At first, people in the groups worry that they can’t draw. They can visualize a passage of Scripture, but not everyone is comfortable with translating their ideas onto paper. It turns out that if you can play Pictionary®, you can make mandalas that capture powerful insights into Bible passages.
Here is the surprise: The worse people draw, the more lively the group discussions! Lutheran Brethren people in their twenties and their seventies come together, showing one another their mandalas. They begin to laugh. Even the Norwegians. I did not see that coming. The laughter creates a more relaxed environment and people become comfortable sharing their mandalas and the profound truths they have discovered in a given passage.
Most importantly, the visual element, and the repetition of studying and sharing, helps keep the passage alive in the student’s mind throughout the week. That visual summary of Scripture stays fresh, is reflected upon, and is lived out in individual Christian lives.
If you are in the area, stop by Maple Park and look at our gallery of mandalas. You will find that they are centered on Christ. They celebrate Christ, and they open up discussions about Christ.
Kerry Pierce is a member of Maple Park Church in Lynnwood, Washington. He is the creator of the Christian Mandalas Curriculum.
To learn more visit: www.ChristianMandalas.com