Jesus was just born, and now we’re on the way to his death and resurrection. Lent is just around the corner. I’m not the only pastor who is exhausted and overwhelmed by this every. single. year… Right? But here we are, lent is upon is. Maybe the lesson is, ready or not, Jesus grows up, just like all of us. Last year Chalice Press asked me to write a lenten devotional for their Fellowship of Prayer devotionals that come out every Lent and Advent. It was a great spiritual exercise to write a lenten devotional during lent, and i’m excited about the end result. So you can learn a little about the theme of the devotional and to give you a sneak peek, here’s the “Dear Reader” letter on the front page. If you’re interested in purchasing the devotional, you can get it from Chalice Press or Amazon. By the way, my mom read it and said it was good. Lenten Devotional 2015 — endorsed by Traci’s Mama. Good enough for me.
One book on my shelf with very special meaning to me is a collection of art journals published in 2007 called The Journey is the Destination. The journals were created by a photojournalist, artist and activist Dan Eldon. Eldon’s life was full of adventure. He packed a lot of life into his 23 short years. In that time, he traveled to 46 countries photographing world events, filmmaking, and going on safari. The journals contain incredible photos, social commentary and cartoons. They were published after Eldon was stoned to death in Modadishu, Somalia, while photographing a bombing.
I love Dan Eldon’s journals for many reasons. They are vivid, personal glimpses of what he saw on all his many adventures. Some of the pages show him trying to make sense of that which can not be understood: war, famine, and injustice. Other pages are bright and cheerful: photographs of the people closest to him.
The title of the book, The Journey is the Destination, is also very meaningful to me. So often life is described as a journey, and it’s a very relatable metaphor. In life there are twists and turns, forks in the road, hills and valleys. Yet the metaphor of life as a journey seems to imply that there is always a starting point and an ending point, and that part has never resonated with me. The idea that the journey itself is the destination is a beautiful way to go through life.
This Lenten devotional is made up of what my preaching professor in seminary liked to call “slices of life.” They are snapshots of one moment in time that shaped me in some way or gave me new insight about God.
I hope you find some of the moments I have captured will inspire you to reflect on some of the moments in your life that have had similar meaning. Perhaps you will want to journal your own reflections during your Lenten journey. I invite you to share your thoughts and insights if you are so inclined. You can get in touch via www.traci-smith.com.
As you travel through Lent this year, I hope you will not put pressure on yourself to “arrive” at any particular destination. The journey itself is the destination.
Grace and Peace to you,
Rev. Traci Smith