Luke 4: 1 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.”

I am a photographer. I love coming around the bend of a trail with my camera hanging on my hip, and realizing that I have wandered into something remarkable - a piercing shaft of light; the deep greenness in the leaves; perfect reflections of sky in water; clouds shaped like a thunderbird holding the moon between her wings. That kind of holy encounter doesn’t happen often. Sometimes I do just wander into it. But I have had to train myself to slow down and look for it - to teach my eyes, mind, and heart to see it.

Good photography also involves a lot of planning, and listening to the wisdom of those who have more experience on the journey; learning about what time of day the light is best, and what challenges will be faced photographing in various places and in different seasons. Good photography involves learning about the technology - what your camera can and can’t do - what its gifts and limitations are. Most of all, to be a good photographer, you have to take pictures - lots and lots of pictures. And out of the thousands, upon thousands of pictures you will take, many will be useless, some will be just a little bit off, and many will be good and a few will be remarkable. The art and journey of photography - the getting to the remarkable - involves a lot of experimenting, slowing down, seeking, waiting, watching, practicing, choosing and deleting.

The journey of Lent is a lot like the journey of photography. Lent is a time of discernment - a 40 day journey in the wilderness in which we are called to slow ourselves down and take a careful look at what is going on around us. It is a time of listening to the wisdom of Jesus who has been on the wilderness journey, who knows the blind alleys and hard climbs, and who knows how to encounter darkness face to face - filled with authenticity and the Holy Spirit. Lent is a time of understanding on our strengths and our weaknesses. It is a time of watching and waiting, a time of choosing and deleting, a time to figure out what to hang onto and what to let go of. A time of setting ourselves up, so we have a better chance of rounding the bend and standing face to face with the remarkable - the magnificent and life changing presence of our Still-Speaking God.

I invite you during our Lenten journey in coming weeks to seek out the light, listen for the wisdom, and be open to encountering the Spirit. I invite you to hold close what is sacred and delete what you no longer need. As your Pastor/Photographer, I am forever hopeful about what we may encounter when we walk around the bend.

May it be life-changing, may it be remarkable, and may it be the shot of a lifetime.

See You on the Road.    – Rev. Jeanne