Visio Divina: A Spiritual Practice for Lent (and COVID-19)

Visio divina is a spiritual practice that may help focus our distracted minds and engage in prayer with God. Like its cousin lectio divina, visio divina is a way of praying and being attentive to God.  A simple definition from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Practices that Transform Us is this: “Visio divina, holy seeing, is a way to pray with the eyes.”  (If you search for visio divina, I guarantee you will be directed to many flaky websites including some not grounded in our Christian faith.)  Like lectio divina, visio divina is a practice that requires time and attention to Scripture.

This past Sunday, Beth preached from John 11, and David is using this painting The Raising of Lazarus for morning prayer this week. The painting, by artist Leon Bonnat, dates from 1857 and is in the Musée Bonnat Helleu:


Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1896 rendition of the The Resurrection of Lazarus, is from the Musée d’Orsay:


Bonnat’s rendering is truer to the Biblical passage in John 11, but I commend both to us for the practice of visio divina. Here are some simple steps that may help us in our practice both lectio and visio.

  • Read through John 11 and perhaps choose a verse, then be still. Settle into a posture to listen to God’s voice.
  • Meditate. In lectio, ponder the words. For visio, gaze, look, observe, ask questions and ask God to help you see what he wants you to see, what he wants you to notice. What stirs within you?
  • Pray. Pray through the text or what you notice in the image. Pray to God and ask for his help.
  • Contemplate. We live the text. A contemplative spiritual exercise is meant to lead us to gospel action in the world.

After a time of meditation and prayer in lectio, you might also consider using one or both images for visio divina. Spend a few minutes in observation and consider:

  • What caught your eye? What do you notice?
  • Reflect on the structure: color, lines, shadows, values, intensity.
  • What is the mood of the painting?
  • How do you react to it?  Do you sense an invitation from God?
  • Does anything else strike you?

Biblical meditation provokes questions. Will you allow this passage to transform you?

Rev. Mary Amendolia Gardner

Mary is a Spiritual Director with Coracle, DOMA clergy, and attends Restoration. 

Food Support for our Neighbors

Thank you for generously serving our neighbors.
We are putting a HOLD on collection/distribution at this time due to the instructions of Arlington County Police. 

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We will update this page regularly with needs and instructions.  Feel free to share it with friends in your community and check back often.

Food collection in narthex

Serving our neighbors

Restoration has an ongoing partnership with one of our local elementary schools, Glebe Elementary.  They have a number of households that are in need of food, and they are not able to get it through their normal channels.  Restoration is providing a place for food collection and distribution while Arlington Public Schools is closed. We are happy to receive food donations from anyone who is willing to give and is in the area, provided they are healthy. 

Collection and distribution will happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Collection [Donation Drop-Offs]: Tue/Thur between 10am and 1pm.

We ask that you try to bring your food ONLY during these hours and leave it by the sign at the parking lot door.  We will have volunteers on-site to take it inside and sort it.

If you cannot come between 10a and 1p, you can leave non-perishable food at other times by our front door, streetside.  Thanks for working within these times as we try to build a rhythm that is sustainable over the coming weeks.

Please do not bring gift cards. Actual food items best serve our neighbors at this time.

Distribution [Neighbor Pick-Up]:  Tue/Thur between 4pm and 7pm

Our neighbors will pick up food on Tue/Thur between 4pm and 7pm.

Serving in person

If you would like to volunteer during our collection or distribution times, you can sign up here.  Thanks for serving, sorting, and caring!

Food Ideas for Donation

Each Tuesday and Thursday, almost everything that was donated gets distributed.  Although it’s tempting to do bulk orders, it is actually more helpful to receive smaller donations by individual family. Consider working one donation a week into your CoronaRhythm.  That regularity would help us stay stocked.  

Here is a general list of items needed, items in bold are our most pressing need. Thank you for your partnership in this!

  • maseca (for making tortillas)
  • eggs
  • milk (we have cold storage)
  • fresh fruit
  • fresh vegetables
  • anything canned
  • cereal
  • oil
  • cheese
  • sugar
  • beans (dried and canned)
  • rice
  • snacks like granola bars, trail mix
  • bread
  • diapers
  • baby formula


Financial Donations

One of Restoration’s members, Nicole, is coordinating the collection of financial contributions and placing an online order of food each week.  The order will be placed on Friday and delivered the following week.  Please consider contributing before Friday morning.  But donations are welcome at any time.  You can reach Nicole if you have questions, or send contributions to her via PayPal via her email 


As we get questions, we will answer them here.

  1. Can I order online and have it delivered?  Yes and no.  Feel free to order food supplies from your favorite online retailer, but please have the food delivered to your home (NOT THE CHURCH).  Then bring the food to the church between 10-1 on Tue/Thur.  (Again, 4-7 on Tue/Thur if you can’t do the earlier slot.)
  2. Do you need grocery store gift cards?  Thank you, but no. The best is for you to provide actual groceries that our neighbors can carry from our parking lot straight to their home.
  3. What do you need most? See the list above. Prayerfully walk through the grocery store and fill your cart. Each day, “enough” has come in, so much so that it’s hard to request a specific item over another. Fishes and loaves. Thanks for your generosity.
  4.  I have a question that is not answered on this page.  Please contact, Beth Tipps, Associate Rector.
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