During the course of Reading the Bible in 90 Days and fast-forwarding through I & II Kings and I & II Chronicles in the Old Testament during one week of reading, there was so much information to process and ultimately distill for a Sunday morning sermon that I opted to break it down in layers of "stacked journaling" (an art technique advocated by mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt). The readings covered the sweeping history of the various kings of the Israelites from King David until the exile to Babylon. It was a lot of material to read and process for just one sermon, but I was struck by one sentence in II Chronicles 20:15:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God's." For the art reflection, I chose previously prepped pages with the exposed words "Remain in me, as I remain in you" because it is a New Testament verse that complements the verse in II Chronicles. I began by writing the verse from Chronicles 20:15 in large letters. Next I added words in stamped letters diagonally up from the bottom. These represented my current "battles."
I was struck by the common theme of the "bad kings" vs. the "good kings" covered over the 112 chapters of scripture. Essentially, the kings were measured by whether or not they led the people to live according to the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 ("Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD in one...."). I switched to silver ink for stamped words expressing the Shema and purple ink to contrast covenant faithfulness as expressed in Deuteronomy with the New Covenant in the Gospel of Luke 22:20. Identifying key themes and their appropriate scriptures became a springboard for preaching and teaching a massive amount of scripture for a 20-minute message. Next, I opened my sermon journal and expanded on the key themes from the stacked journaling reflection, organized the order of texts to include for the sermon, a noted a few key thoughts for the closing comments.