Lenten Reflections: An Introduction

by Matthew Snow

Storytelling is a wonderful means of cultural transmission. At a time when a majority of the population could not read or write it was a way of passing on information — lessons in behavior; lessons in survival; important life lessons. The Greek myths are full of life lessons and problem solving messages. So, too, are fairy tales.

So much of Jesus’ teaching was done through storytelling. Indeed whatever knowledge we have of Him has come down to us through stories — the Gospel Stories themselves.

Last August there was a solar eclipse, the shadow of which spread across the country on a diagonal. We were warned not to observe the eclipse without wearing sunglasses or it would cause permanent eye damage and even blindness.

So, too, the human condition. To view the human condition, to try to understand the world and our place in it, we must see it through a filter, a protective lens; the protective lens and filter of metaphor, poetry, painting, music, dance, theatre, storytelling, fable, myth and religion. Without this filter the experience would be too incoherent; too crushing; too searing — like Moses viewing the face of Yahweh without a veil.

Throughout Lent, we will present a collection of stories and reflections, each reflection written by a member of the congregation who has been provided with scriptural references. Many of the reflectionists attempt to understand the stories Jesus told, as well as the Jesus story itself, by relating stories from their own life, each story reflecting back on the other and offering greater clarity and insight into themselves, their lives and their true purpose. This year I have expanded our format, providing each group of words with its’ own visual, adding, I think, a necessary element of beauty and a greater emotional dimension. There is much to ponder within. Much to stir the heart. I hope it pleases.

Matthew Snow / The Spiritual Development Committee