Velasquez / Clarke

Sacred Text Reading Group (Saturday)
Date(s) - 12/17/2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A twice-weekly online sacred text reading group. We meet on Saturdays, 4-5, and on Wednesdays, 12-1. All are wide open and you are welcome! Please note that the Zoom room now requires a password, so please drop an e-mail to to express interest.

Using a spiritual-practice approach, in each session we will explore a different brief scriptural text in depth. The aims of the sessions are educational (learning something about the texts and traditions), spiritual/moral (discovering what the texts ask of us), and community-building (getting to know each other better). Our practice usually follows this version of Lectio Divina.

The facilitator will have a version of the text available to share; “bring” your own if you like. All are welcome, as are your suggestions of future texts. Group members also take turns facilitating, if they want to try that role.

Our text for Saturday, December 17, 2022, our 200th session, is actually an image: Diego Velasquez’s Las Meninas.

Las Meninas (The Ladies-in-Waiting), Diego Velázquez, 1656, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


That will be the main text. However, to help us focus our thoughts, we might also begin with art historian Kenneth Clark’s comment from his book Looking At Pictures:

In the main Velazquez room of the Prado there are as many portraits of buffoons as there are of the royal family (nine of each). Surely that goes beyond official instructions and expresses a strong personal preference. […] Was there there not the feeling that their physical humiliations gave them a reality which his royal sitters lacked? Take away the carapace of their position, and how pink and featureless the King and Queen become, like prawns without their shells. They cannot look at us with the deep questoning gaze of Sebastian de Morra (a dwarf from a famous portrait) or the fierce sullen independence of Maribarbola (the dwarf near the center of “Las meninas”). And so I begin to reflect on what would happen to “Las meninas” if Maribarbola had been removed and a graceful young lady of the Court put in her place. We should still feel that we were there; the colour would be as subtle, the tone as scrupulously correct. But the temperature would have dropped: we should have lost a whole dimension of truth.”

Additionally, a description of the people depicted in “Las Meninas” can be found here.

To have check-in time, or if you are new and would like a brief orientation, arrive ten minutes early. And all are welcome to stay ten minutes after as well, for more getting-acquainted time.

How to join: First, e-mail, since you will need a password. Then:

  • Join this class from your Web browser:
  • Join this class using the Zoom app: Meeting ID: 910 1985 7324
  • Join this class by phone: 669 900 9128 US (San Jose), Meeting ID: 910 1985 7324
  • Join this class by on-tap on mobile phones: +16699009128,,91019857324# US (San Jose)
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