I wrote this post a few weeks ago. Last night I was asked what the point of Lent was (ironically as we were eating pancakes). The piece was originally written for the creative folks in our church. Each liturgical season we ask those amongst us to create a piece of art around a theme associated for the season. For instance during Advent we asked the photographers to present a series of pictures around the theme of “Anticipation”. The exhibitions we had done have really ministered to people and helped them enter into the biblical story. This piece is written to provide some sought of direction to our Lenten exhibition.

“Lent is a double journey – a journey together (and alone) toward the mystery of God’s redemptive embrace in the death and resurrection of Christ. At the same time, it is a journey into the depths of our humanity.” Don E Saliers

Lent is a journey with Jesus towards the cross. It begins in the wilderness of Judea and comes to a completion in the garden of Gethsemane. It is a journey defined by the attitudes of humility, sacrifice and repentance. Along the way, as we allow our heart and mind to enter into the story of Jesus, we draw closer to God and allow God to draw closer to us. It is a confronting journey in which we enter the depths of our own humanity and discover the darkness of our own soul within the security of grace.

The metaphor by which we might describe lent is that of journey; a journey from the wilderness to the garden and onto the cross. As we journey with Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we encounter various people: Nicodemus, the unnamed Samarian woman, the blind man, Lazarus and his two sisters. Each of the characters in the story isn’t any different to us. In each encounter Jesus challenges attitudes that keep them from seeing and believing in Jesus. Traditionally the attitudes which define lent are humility, sacrifice and repentance. These attitudes are reminders to us of what it means to journey with Jesus from the wilderness to the garden and on to the cross. There cannot be repentance without sacrifice, sacrifice without humility or humility without repentance. Likewise we cannot journey through Lent without Jesus. He is the reason for each attitude.

Readings: The Sundays of Lent, Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday

1st Sunday of Lent – Matthew 4:1–11 Jesus is led into the wilderness: The journey begins…

2nd Sunday of Lent – John 3:1–17 Jesus encounters Nicodemus: You must be born again…

3rd Sunday of Lent – John 4:5–42 Jesus Encounters the Samarian Woman: You will never thirst…

4th Sunday of Lent – John 9:1–41 Jesus encounters the man born blind: You have seen him…

5th Sunday of Lent – John 11:1–45 Jesus encounters Mary & Martha:  You must believe…

6th Sunday of Lent – Matthew 21:1–11 Jesus arrives on a donkey: Hosanna, Hosanna…

Good Friday – John 18:1–19:42 Jesus is led away from garden to the cross: The journey ends…

Resurrection Sunday – Matthew 28:1-10 He is risen: It all makes sense…

Art and Photography themes

I would describe the Lenten story as humility, sacrifice and repentance. These three attitudes are encouraged throughout the Lenten season. However, the themes of Wilderness, Journey and Garden also provide the perfect reminder of the story’s chronology. It might be possible to create art/photography around each of these themes in order to draw people in to the story.

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