26 February | Ash Wednesday
The 800-km (500-mile) Camino de Santiago French route is a rough yet rewarding road: one less traveled by most. I remember at times walking for hours, not seeing a soul other than my husband. And maybe that made the difference. During this time and space hiking the Camino, God allowed me to experience a two-fold ephphatha: He opened my physical senses to His magnificent natural creation while also unsealing the spiritual senses of my heart—this unique unveiling gave me an opportunity to reflect upon the worst and best parts of my innermost self as well as my personal walk with Jesus.
Today is Ash Wednesday. This day begins Lent—six weeks devoted to fasting, reflection, and almsgiving in preparation for Easter, a season celebrating Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. The ashes placed on our foreheads symbolize our physical mortality (dust-to-dust) and repentance for our sins that have separated us from God. After the Psalmist repents of his sins, he prays, “A clean heart create for me, God, / renew within me a steadfast spirit” (51:12).
What are some ways we can design our Lenten plans to acknowledge our sins and renew our hearts and minds in order to grow closer to Christ and to each other?
*The image above is the stone Braelyn found in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. The tradition is to choose a stone at the outset of the journey and carry it until Cruz de Ferro. There the pilgrim places it on a massive pile surrounding a cross. People leave notes, tokens, photos, and many other things representing their reasons for doing the Camino. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26*
23 February | The Sunday before Ash Wednesday
You are Invited!
Take a spiritual walk with us as we climb the peaks and descend into the valleys of the Lenten season through the lens of hiking the Camino de Santiago (the 800-km pilgrimage across Spain, called The Way of Saint James) and Catholic Lenten Scripture. The Way of St. James (aka, The Way) represents one of three essential ancient Christian pilgrimages (the others are Rome and Jerusalem). The French Way travels from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, France to Compostela, Spain.
Why walk with us?
To experience Lent through visual and written art as a collective physical, mental, and spiritual pilgrimage.
Who is “us”?
We are Braelyn and Nicol, both Ohioans now teaching in Savannah, Georgia. Unbeknownst to each other, we hiked the same Camino route this summer about a week apart! This collaboration will feature Braelyn’s art and Nicol’s writing.
What will we explore?
The first two weeks will cover the physical Camino; the following two weeks will reflect upon the psychological Camino; and, the final weeks will be devoted to the spiritual Camino. Then, we will culminate with the commencement of the Easter season!
What is Ephphatha?
Ephphatha is Aramaic for “be opened” and refers to Jesus healing the deaf man’s ears (see Mark 7:34). Using this theme, we will reflect on how the Holy Spirit opens our ears (and hearts) to God—His Word, His Spirit, His direction.
Join us each Wednesday for a new reflection!
Braelyn and Nicol
About this Blog
The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage through Spain, ending at the spot said to contain the relics of Saint James the Apostle. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims travel this route each year.