Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday (not including Sundays). Traditionally, it is a season for fasting and repentance, a season of soul-examination drawing from Jesus’ experience in the wilderness. This year, Lent starts on Wednesday, February 14 and lasts until Saturday, March 31.
For the past two Lenten seasons, I have adopted the practice of reflecting on a word prompt and taking a photo as an expression of that day’s reflections (I have also done this for Advent, in preparation for Christmas). I began this practice at a time in my life when I felt like I was living in a wilderness and it felt more do-able and life-giving than abstaining from or giving up something. While this Lenten practice is not “giving up” anything per se, it does require intentional focus and going deeper – a setting aside of shallower thoughts and mindless ways. 40 days is a long period and usually by some point in the middle, I start feeling the “discipline” aspect. It’s very tempting to give up and let it slide. I welcome this as a reminder of my frailty and my need for God to sustain me through each day all the way until Easter.
In past years, I have journeyed with prompts that others have put together. This year, I created my own. Most lists I’ve found have included Sundays, which I don’t like, because Sundays during Lent are supposed to be Sabbaths – days of rest and celebration – different from the rest of the week. So on my list, there are no prompts for Sundays (save for Easter Sunday, which is too happy of a day not to take a photo). Also, I have carefully selected my prompts based on a theme for each week. My hope is that through the themes, we can be led to a deeper place of appreciation of God in our daily lives, as well as greater illumination of our own hearts.
If you’re looking for a simple, reflective way to engage with the season of Lent, consider joining me in this exercise. I’ll be posting my photos on my personal Facebook and you’re welcome to do the same. (Use the hashtag #LentPhoto2018.) Let us open ourselves to God’s movement in our lives in a purposeful way as we journey toward Easter.
For a printer-friendly black and white version of the prompts, click here.