This project, that you can see in the Narthex Gallery at All Saints during Lent, and on the All Saints website, was birthed out of a conversation that we (David Lutes and Josh Keller, with inspiration from Craig Chapman) had in the spring of 2019. We had both been wondering for some time what it would look like to see the All Saints 10 Spiritual Formation Practices lived out in our church in a way that would inspire, motivate, and compel anyone in our congregation unfamiliar with the practices to take them up. Our conversations always centered on two ideas.
First, we both believe that beauty is one of the most effective apologetics for the wonder of faith and the dramatic tension of following Christ and being remade in His image. We had both been involved with these practices for several years and knew first hand that beginning a practice seems daunting and difficult. But beauty had led us both to set out and take on these practices - the beauty of lives that we had seen transformed by these practices, the beauty of the written word that captivated our imaginations, the beauty of art and music that spoke to our souls and called us into one of the 10 practices. So, we both knew that beauty would have to be foundational.
The second was the simple reality that as humans, we tend to go where others have already been and can give us the vision and clear the landscape to guide us on our way. Beauty inspires us to get on the path. Those who have gone before us clear the route.
Once we crystalized these two ideas, everything began to come together. We only needed one more - the idea of doing a Lenten season that we could reflect upon with 20/20 vision. It was 2019 at the time. It was irresistible.
What you have before you is the work of a community of people who, over the fall of 2019, completed a 40-day spiritual journey. Before the church began her Lenten pilgrimage in 2020, this group – this vanguard – had already travelled the 40 Lenten days with one another. They reordered their schedules and pruned things from their life, in order to take on one spiritual formation practice and then show the beauty it produced. In other words, they committed themselves to go first and lead us, helping to remove our barriers and show us the way, so when we as a church came to the season of Lent, we could go with their guidance. They also committed to bring forth the beauty that God produced in their life to share with all, knowing that it may be the very inspiration needed to compel your heart to take on a spiritual formation practice this Lent and allow God to use it to form you into the very image of Jesus Christ.
We trust that God will do just that. You will find in this project a compilation and combination of visual art and written art that seeks to guide, inspire, reflect, and communicate the experiences, struggles, frustrations, joys, and glories of taking on one of All Saints 10 Spiritual Formation Practices into your life. It has inspired us. We know it will inspire you as you travel the 40 days of Lent in 2020.
- Josh Keller and David Lutes