Wood, Missy, Liturgy of Being, charcoal on paper, 20 x 24 in., 2020.JPG

Daily Office - Visual Art

Liturgy of Being, 2020, charcoal on paper, 20 x 24 in.

“Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.” -Søren Kierkegaard

The Daily Office is a scheduled cadence of scripture reading, song, and prayer, at different times of the day. This spiritual practice helps me center each day in the presence of God while engaging all of Scripture. Breaking up the day like this helps to regulate my pace and stress, as well as to sync the prayers of the church with my biorhythm, as I move through morning prayer, midday prayer, evening prayer, and night prayer. The structure of this liturgical approach to the day can calm me or inspire new energy. It makes me feel a part of community as well as centering my self. As with any rhythm of new habits, the work of this spiritual practice doesn’t have an immediate effect, but eventually the daily actions coalesce into a new state of being.

As I contemplated an artistic response to the Daily Office, I reluctantly accepted that a self-portrait would be the most honest treatment. I myself am a work in progress, and I wanted to create a self-portrait that reflects this state of becoming. Instead of taking the typical approach to a head-shot, where I’m presenting the best version of myself, I tried to show something both more authentic, in my expression, as well as visually portraying myself as incomplete. I’m learning that as much as I want to be fully formed, my story isn’t yet fully told, and God has much more work to do. As I contemplate my current state of being, I’m aware that as I get closer to the Lord, I will not just find him, but also find my true self.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” - Psalm 139:14-16

- Missy Wood