Sometimes the only way to get a different perspective on Jesus is to force ourselves to see him a new way.
How often do we miss experiencing God or Christ in our midst because we can’t see past the routine of everyday life and our preconceived ideas? In this activity, youth are challenged to meditate on an image of Christ and attempt to recreate their own version of that image as a line drawing. The catch? They look at the image upside down and draw it upside down.
Rather than trying simply to reproduce the entire image “as is,” turning it upside down challenges the artist to focus on the various shapes and lines that make up the picture. Perhaps surprisingly, even those who claim they have no skill at drawing can create quite vivid images when they free themselves to focus only on line, shape, and shadow rather than the entire image. (This activity is based on an exercise in the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.)
Gather together a collection of images of Jesus (I just did a Google search and printed out paintings and drawings as well as photos of various actors portraying Jesus). Invite youth to choose one of the pictures that speaks to them in some way. Challenge them to turn it upside down and, using it as a guide, attempt to recreate on another sheet of paper the lines and shapes of the image just as they see them. Tell them to resist the temptation to try to turn the picture “right side up” in their brains as they draw. Just focus on the lines and shapes that they see. Doing so allows our brains to see things in a new way. When finished, invite the teens to look at their images right side up and reflect on the experience.
- What was it like to try to draw the image upside down?
- Why might we be stuck in seeing Jesus in only certain ways?
- What still surprises you about the life, ministry, and work of Jesus?
- In what ways do you think Jesus' own ministry was an "upside down" way of seeing the world and others?
- What might you do in the coming week to see Jesus in a new and challenging ways?