1 April | The Fifth Wednesday of Lent
Early one morning while passing through a small village on the Feast of San Juan (Saint John the Baptist), I stopped to talk to some women preparing for the festival’s celebratory events. They proudly and joyfully explained their design, a culturally-traditional composition comprised of flowers, plants, and palms cascading from their doorstep alter down into the street. Their artistic expression would welcome that evening’s music, dancing, bonfires, and firecrackers—all part of a Spanish celebration marking Saint John’s birth and the summer solstice. These women’s spirituality, or, the way in which they practice and/or celebrate their faith, deeply impressed me. The time they took designing this temporary devotional space to praise and acclaim God’s permanent promises taught me to slow down and think about how I can be more meticulous in expressing my own gratitude for God’s people and creation.
And yet, there is a difference between what I witnessed in Spain and the worship of the golden statue in today’s readings from Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar condemns Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to a fiery death because they will not worship his god (3:14-15). Astonished to see a fourth person who “looks like a son of God” walking in the fire with the three unharmed men, the Babylonian king cannot deny the power of God: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him…[the three men] yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God” (3:92-95).
God instructs Jews and Christians to avoid idol worship (a few examples can be found in Exodus, Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Kings,Jeremiah, Joshua, Psalms). In part, Lent is about recognizing our idols and discarding them. This is an excellent time to create positive plans to leave our idols in the past and truly celebrate the victory of the Easter season just on the horizon.
Braelyn: Many of these photos reflect elements of the spirituality of the Camino, including religious feast days, tombs, symbols, architecture, and messages from other pilgrims. I chose the diptych for the featured image because I couldn’t help but see in it the reality of the Way. It was easy to feel as though the Camino was MY journey, my walk toward God. But, as Christianity teaches us, we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). The cherubic depiction watching over the departed pilgrim may not give the angelic realm its due, but it still serves to remind me that our entire journey is spiritual, whether we remember or not. The pilgrimage of life is a call. We merely respond to it.
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.