This is a gift saved up for you for later. A photographic calendar counting down through the long days of Lent to Easter week. You’ll have to be patient and wait for it to arrive in your inbox.
For now though, I’ll tell you why I made it, how it all started, the inspiration for this mosaic, this cruciform windowpane woven of story and light.
Years ago, during the rush and bustle of our wedding preparations, my bridesmaids in secret sewed me a wedding gift, the story of our friendships all stitched and sewn…. a quilt of patches from people in our lives all sewn together. As I wrap this quilt around me, it reminds me of my friends, of the people that have carried us, supported us, loved us through the years. Some still close, others now far off. It reminds me of the story of us. And it drapes over our bed for four months of every year (the months it is cool enough to need a quilt so thick) and drapes over my heart like a hug, like a squeeze of the hand, “you are loved”.
Then a few years after we were married, during the thunder and roar of a hurricane, my husband made me a birthday gift… the story of our lives all in photos glued and framed. It was the story of us. And it now hangs on our wall right by our dining table, every day reminding us of who we are and where we have come from in a hundred frozen moments framed in light.
But it was two Easters ago that both these gifts gave me inspiration for this gift I will offer you.
As I began to soak in this new way of seeing the Easter Season wondering what it would it mean to have Lent as a lens through which I saw everything else; Seeing the world through the story of Easter.
My quilt and my collage picture frame, well they are both the stitched together story of my life, our life, as a couple as a family as a part of the community of humans we belong to. And I started to think about the wider human family, and the wider human story.
We all have this family story that we are a part of. A wider human family story, beginning at the beginning, the genesis of all things, and continuing through time, generation by generation, story by story.
And the beginning of the human story, well it was captured all in stories and in poetry, written and framed in the word of God, by the Word of God. It is the story of us. And it hangs on the walls of our consciousness whether we give it space or not, reminding us who we are and where we have come from in a hundred frozen moments framed in light. It is our family story. The story of us. The great human family.
And this story it begins with one family, and then another and then another. And slowly the family becomes a people, and then an invitation to all people, to come and join this family; God’s family.
And I began to count the steps from Eden, to Caanan, to Egypt, to Galilee, to Bethlehem, to Nazareth and all the way to Jerusalem, Gethsemane and to Golgotha. And each step Jesus takes is a step towards the cross and every step He takes leaves hope imprinted in the dusty Palestinian earth. And His walk, beginning at the beginning of all things and continuing through all generations, is a gathering to Himself His family, the family, the community, the children of God. And the story of Jesus walk to and through the cross, well it’s the thread that holds the whole story together, the threads that make it all make sense.
On the journey towards Easter Jesus is on the dusty road, declaring a new way of seeing to the World. If we should be doing anything at all in the lead up to Easter, shouldn’t we be bending our eyes to see the world through His? So last Lent I attempted to join Jesus on the dusty roads of Israel, listening to His voice and walking in His footsteps.
And just as my photo collage gift reminds me of the story of us, of who we are and where we have come from in a hundred frozen moments framed in light, so Jesus story, His walk through all of time towards Golgotha and though the grave, it tells me who He is and who I can be in his story stitched in light.
And it all unfurled as a sort of Advent for Lent, an Eastertide advent, anticipating Easter, and I imagined an advent calendar like a mosaic cross all made up of pictures of the narrative, a whole tumble of meaning and story and scripture. Photographs joined together telling the one long story that matters, the story of God, the story of Humankind, the story of a love that never ends.
And my quilt all stitched in love, well it is also stitched in the design of a cross. A square with two cross beams at the centre, like a window into a life. A cruciform story.
And there it is, the advent calendar for Easter, the window-pain made up of a thousand stories, ancient and new, a window into who we are as children of God and who He is, and the leagues He walked to reach us.
And so now, here is my invitation to you…. a little gift to lead you through to Easter. A trail to follow, a road to travel down in company with Christ. Placing our footsteps inside of His in the dusty Galilean earth, on the long walk with Jesus to and through the cross.
So here you’ll find it just before Lent, this gift, like breadcrumbs to follow or to leave behind you to help you find your way to Him during the Easter season; An advent calendar for Lent created from 49 photos, photos of the story, reminders of who we are and where we have come from in a hundred frozen moments framed in light. It is our family story, your family story, the story of God and the leagues he has walked to find us and bring us home to ourselves.
And when you are done, I hope you will add your own photos to the mosaic as your walk continues, because as we follow Jesus along the dusty back roads of Galilee and listen to His story, strangely we begin to discover our own.
Grace be to you this Season.