by Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter March 14, 2019
Even before our recent work in music and theology, I have always gravitated toward a song, or a soundtrack, or a symbol for the Lenten season each year. Not a church symbol, mind you, but an image out there in the world that captures the sensibility of Lent in some way. I look for things that embody a particular worship season. It is my art piece project that mirrors what happens to our communion table. All the more so recently I have been curating music that helps me experience worship throughout the week. In other words, I make mixtapes for Jesus. Whatever the medium, it is the kindling of our spiritual imagination in seasons like this that remains imperative.
The work of our artist-in-residence, Wimberley Rader, inspires me each year. She creates a dynamic table-scape, a tableau, that interprets the text and topic of the season through rock, wood, stone, and ceramics. Look at it on Sunday before or after the service. The act of interpreting the piece changes your experience of the day.
You might try the same thing through song, symbol, art, or sculpture on your own. Go check out some of the galleries in downtown Macon or on Ingleside Ave and see if a painting or sketch provokes your liturgical imagination. Listen to music to discover songs that highlight the holy and hallow your life or other images that may haunt. Take a photo with your phone that defines Lent for you this year. Flood your Instagram with photos that capture the confessional side of the season. Tag them #hhbcmacon to share.
Inside the church, we know that physically experiencing art can be both inspiring and transcendent. If you choose to look at Lent in this way, then you may find that sacred space shows up where ever you attend to it, when you intend to be mindful of it. You may discover what one writer calls, your "altar in the world" at your office, or in your neighborhood.
For me, a new altar has appeared in iTunes. My Lenten list for 2019 begins with "Head Full of Doubt & Road Full of Promise" by the Avett Brothers. The opening words disclose the confessional tone of the song. "There's a darkness upon me that's flooded in light / In the fine print they tell me what's wrong and what's right / And it comes in black and it comes in white / And I'm frightened by those that don't see it.”
For a community still wiping the dark sign of the cross off their foreheads, this song may sound like an alternative anthem. Listen using the link above.
(Be sure to share what you see out there in the world this week. Tag it #hhbcmacon #lentenlense on your social media of choice. If you are sheepish about sharing on social feel free to text me 678-939-8235