By Matt Gardner
A contemplative video series is set to take viewers on a journey through the dark this Lenten season, highlighting God’s enduring presence en route to the joy of Easter morning.
Produced by the Rev. Tay Moss of the Church of the Messiah in Toronto for the Anglican Church of Canada, Like Watchmen for the Morning is a series of video meditations that use stories, poetry, images and music to evoke the dark watch leading up to the dawn of the Resurrection.
Each short video is focused around a particular Lenten theme such as temptation, anger, sacrifice, service and death. To guide worshippers through the season, Moss has produced one video for each Sunday of Lent as well as Ash Wednesday and the Paschal Triduum, the three-day period encompassing Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
An enthusiastic advocate of new media, Moss has produced numerous videos for the Diocese of Toronto, leading the Church of the Messiah in its pioneering role as the first Anglican church in Canada to livestream its Sunday worship service.
His outlook and body of work made the Lenten video project a natural progression.
“I’m a big believer that we need to use new forms of communications to reach people where they’re at,” Moss said.
“If people are existing or consuming media in the space of the Internet—like videos and podcasts and things like that—then the church needs to go there, too. The church has always embraced new technologies for communication and this is just another example of that.”
To illustrate Lenten themes and help the viewer reflect, Moss has embraced the use of techniques such as time-lapse photography, as in one 30-second clip that depicts a candle completely burning down in front of an icon. A similar visual metaphor can be seen in the image of ashes sifting through someone’s hands for the Ash Wednesday meditation.
In other cases, Moss has drawn upon personal stories he has experienced or witnessed in his ministry, such as in the video exploring the theme of death.
Through the contemplation of such dark and quiet times, he hopes the video meditations will provide viewers with an opportunity to delve deeper into the shadow life of the spirit.
“To say that we’re going to be exploring themes of darkness and the shadow times does not necessarily mean that it’ll be in any way negative,” Moss said. “I think a lot of people then imagine that they’re going to be feeling sad and things like that, but not necessarily.
“When people sit in the dark, in the quiet, I think they often find an incredible kind of warmth there. There’s a kind of peacefulness about it…I guess I’m hoping that people will experience something of the presence of God in the shadows of our lives.”
Dates for the video meditations, with themes, are as follows:
- February 18, Ash Wednesday: Invitation
- February 22, First Sunday in Lent: Temptation
- March 1, Second Sunday in Lent: Pain
- March 8, Third Sunday in Lent: Anger
- March 15, Fourth Sunday in Lent: Evil
- March 22, Fifth Sunday in Lent: Sacrifice
- March 29, Palm Sunday: Death
- April 2, Maundy Thursday: Service
- April 3, Good Friday: Crucifixion
- April 4, Holy Saturday: Resurrection
- April 5, Easter Sunday: New Life
Additional online Lenten resources from the Anglican Church of Canada and its partners can be found at www.anglican.ca/resources/lent2015.
Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, February 12, 2015