Yesterday I spent the day with a good friend walking through the Cloisters in New York City. It's a great part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was built from the bones of 5 cloisters in Europe. Click here to check it out and plan a trip! We saw dead people. Okay, not really but we saw tombs. I spent the time in contemplative thought in the various chapels and looking at religious art.
It was a very nice day, and refreshing for my lenten journey. I felt a connection to the great history of spiritual observance and imagery of the church. There is a great beauty of having the stories of the bible and the passion of Christ presented on the detail of stone sculpture or simple wooden cross.
I feel that we as protestants tend to shy away from Liturgical art. The whole graven images/idolatry issue. But there is something to be said for medieval church art. Not only was it a tool of the church to teach illiterate congregants, but it served as a reminder to focus our eyes and hearts to things not of this world. It evoked raw emotion, emotion that then connects us with the divine.
I encourage you this lent to look for the beautiful. Yes Lent is at time to strip away things that can distract us from our attempt to walk with Christ. But that doesn't mean that God hasn't put a few flowers along the road. Look at them, smell them. Be reminded that God's creation is good and right and beautiful.
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day." Genesis 1:31