Lent is a season of reflection — a time to consider our human fragility and mortality. It begins darkly with the imposition of ashes placed on our foreheads, reminding us that from dust we came and to dust we shall return. Yet the darkness moves to light at the end of the forty days when we gather at the empty burial plot of Jesus who defeated death on Easter Sunday. We walk toward the cross with Jesus in Lent so that we can receive the fullness of life that is offered on Easter. May these resources help your congregation share the Lenten journey this year.
– Joshua Speight, CBF Missional Congregations Resources Manager
Journey to the Cross
Journey to the Cross is part of the d365 daily devotional site porvided by Passport, Inc., and supported in part by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Episcopal Church. The devotional experience is written especially for students and seeks to provide reflections on themes that impact our faith journey. Journey to the Cross is one way this online devotional highlights our common liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. It begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on easter Sunday. Learn more or subscribe at d365.org.
Stations of the Cross
Consider hosting an ecumenical Stations of the Cross event that progresses to different stations throughout your community or shared between congregations. FBC Knoxville, Tenn., participates in this each season of Lent with other downtown congregations. – Scott Claybrook, Tennessee
Find a collection of your favorite depictions of the Stations of the Cross and make posters of the art to create your own Stations of the Cross space. The posters may be mounted on wooden sticks held in planters or large cans, or they may be mounted temporarily on a wall in a classroom or chapel. – Mark Wingfield, Texas
Mark the hours of Good Friday
On Good Friday of Holy Week, consider opening the doors of your sanctuary all day to host brief “marking of the hours” moments at 9:00 a.m., noon and 3:00 p.m. During this time, individuals gather silently in the sanctuary to reflect until a minister leads the group through selected readings, a guided prayer/confession and concludes with silence. Individuals depart in silence. – Scott Claybrook, Tennessee
Lent 3Devotional Box for Youth
Youthministryconversations.com offers a Lent 3Devotional Box. Devotional books are great, but youth will love this hands-on approach to experiencing God. Youth will find a devotion for each day along with something to do (play dough, write a letter, etc.). This resource includes all the documents and instructions needed to build these boxes. The cost is $25 and the devotional is written by 2016-2018 CBF Fellows Emily Holladay. For more information, including how to order, visit youthministryconversations.com.
Create a Tactile Holy Week Experience
This is a creative project to engage youth or adults who collaborate to think of simple tactile objects to present ina walk-through exhibit along with printed portions of Scipture telling the Holy Week story. For example: Place a wooden box of large nails beneath a printed passage of the crucifixion so that participants may feel the sharp barbs as they read the words. See what other objects you can think of to bring a sense of touch to the scripture. – Mark Wingfield, Texas
Flowering of the Cross
During the Lenten Season in our church courtyard, a cross appears. Each week of Lent, the shadow of the cross looms over us. On Easter Sunday, each family is invited to bring flowers form their garden or that they purchase and attach them to the cross. This cross, which is a symbol of death, is redeemed with beauty and the hope of eternal life through the resurrected Christ.
Self-made art exhibit
Invite members of the congregation to loan you crosses from their homes and tell you the stories of where they came from or what special meanings they have. Work the crosses together into an art exhibit. You’ll be amazed by the variety of crosses people bring and the stories they tell . This is a visual journey to the cross. – Mark Wingfield, Texas
Create a Labyrinth
If you don’t have access to a permanent prayer labyrinth, you can make a temporary one. Use rocks or bricks or other natural materials on an open field or even a parking lot. Or rent a vinyl labyrinth that can be rolled out on the floor of a classroom or fellowship hall. Create a guide to help members explore the labyrinth and other contemplative practices. – Mark Wingfield, Texas
Each week during Lent, consider partnership with other congregations for a fellowship lunch. The cost can be minimal as each church can share resources. Ministers from different congregations can share a brief message. This is a tremendous opportunity for the body of Christ to unify over community. – Ben Brown, Virginia
Easter Walk: A Holy Week event for children
Easter Walk is a drama to be enacted for children during Holy Week. Seeds of Hope Ministry offers an example of Seventh & James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, and its portrayal of the people who might have come in contact with Jesus during the last week of his life on earth. Each portrayal is based on scripture and brings to life the story of Jesus. You may download this resource for free by clicking on “Easter Walk” under the Lent/Eastertide heading at www.seedspublishers.org/worship.
Broken and Remade
A visual to consider during lent is to shatter a pottery vessel before or perhaps as part of an Ash Wednesday service. It could be placed on the altar each week of Lent and placed back together more and more over the 40 days. This can be a moving image of being broken and remade during Lent. Perhaps this remade pottery could be dedicated to some special purpose in the life of the church or community as a reminder of God’s redeeming love and wholeness. – Aaron Coyle-Carr, North Carolina