Social Media Theology: A Photo A Day

When I was growing up, much of my weekly allowance went to the photo department of Eckerd's Drugstore.

I loved to take photographs, but what I loved more was the anticipation of film transformed to image. Would everyone have their eyes open? If they were open, would the flash have turned them red? Was there enough light in the school gymnasium for them to turn out?

To everything there is a season.

Interests change, Eckerd's drug store becomes CVS. Technology turns our phones into cameras. Instagram is the new photo-processing machine. Film becomes the stuff of artists. Time once spent with a  camera becomes time spent on a yoga mat or with a dog (or trying to get the dog off the yoga mat!). 

Lent began 37 days ago, and the Scriptures have called to us to remember certain images. From Noah's rainbow to the Israelites' unleavened bread to Jesus' bleeding hands, Lent's stories are as vivid as the glossy prints for which I waited at the local drugstore. We smile at their beauty, We hide the ones that are not as we expected. Some prints contain more shadow than light. Many are unclear.

Rethink Church, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, invited Lenten pilgrims to use their cameras as spiritual tools. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, a daily email arrived in subscribers' inboxes with a short devotional and a word. The goal was to look for that daily word in our world, to take a photo, and to share it on social media.

If you are a longtime reader of this blog and have a remarkable memory, you might recall that I gave up social media for Lent last year. This year, I decided to take it up. New to Instagram, hesitantly back on Facebook, and timid with Twitter, I agreed to the Photo-A-Day challenge. I've meditated on the words, snapped photos, and shared them with hashtags on all three sites. "Challenge" is an appropriate description. I've taken up an old hobby for a different purpose with new tools.

Last year during Lent, the Lord opened my eyes to ways that social media hindered my relationship with Him and others.

This year during Lent, the Lord opened my eyes through to ways that social media can enhance my relationship with Him and others. 

Everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, the door is opened. (Luke 11:10, CEB)

It's easy to seek Jesus when we read the Bible. It's easy to seek him when we worship together on Sunday morning. It's easy to seek him when we bless a meal. 

How often do we seek him in the uncomfortable places? 

Are we willing to look for him in the unexpected, blurry photographs as well as the clear, frame-ready ones?



Where do we find the Word when we seek these words in the world?

Throughout the season, I've browsed the photos that others have posted at #RethinkChurch and learn from what others have found. Doors of new insight have opened. I have learned not only from seeking the words in the world but from finding them in the art of my fellow seekers.

As Lent gives way to Holy Week, and Holy Week to the three Holy Days, seeking Jesus becomes even more of a challenge for our eyes. To watch him suffer in pain is tormenting. To see him cry in abandonment is heartbreaking.



A transformation comes, but we must wait for it. 

We must keep walking.

We must keep following.

We must keep seeing.

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian