Ideas for Providing a Meaningful Lenten Experience
Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras
Do you invite the community to join you in a pancake supper? Print out on 11 X 17 paper your own placemats that attractively and graphically displays the background and meaning for the day. A sample is available through the resource center.
Lenten Themes and Activities
If your community is feeling the stress of cutting back in a variety of areas, this may be the year to emphasis ‘giving’ instead of giving-up for Lent. Encourage a “Love-giving for Lent” emphasis for Lent. Each week people are asked to do one of the following activities: write 2 notes of appreciation, give of themselves to a neighbor or homebound person, make a list of 10 people to pray for daily, seek discernment for one’s life or do something special with family. Plan a time for after Easter when individuals can share the blessing they received from their “love-giving” experiences. Each week display a picture or graphic in a prominent area to remind people of their “love-giving” experience for the week. Parish Teacher – Phyllis Raue
To encourage study of the Old Testament, at each mid-week gathering people were divided into mixed-age groups. Each group was given a Bible passage to read and discuss with one member becoming a particular character who was to then reminiscence with for example Moses during the large group time. People who would speak with Moses would be: his mother, Pharaoh’s daughter, an angel (burning bush conversation) Aaron, Pharaoh, chariot driver (chasing the Israelites across the Red Sea) and an old woman (eating manna and quail in the desert.) Parish Teacher – Diane Myers. Other Old Testament personalities could include Elijah, Samuel, David, Joshua, Ruth
The New Jersey Synod Discipling Mission Team developed bulletin inserts for Ash Wednesday and each week of Lent. These inserts follow the theme, Discipleship: Come and Follow Jesus and provide a theme verse, reflective questions a suggested action, prayer and hymn. For a copy contact the resource center.
Encourage prayer during the season of Lent by making construction paper pretzels. Invite people to write prayers on the pretzels which are then posted on a prayer center bulletin board. Encourage people to then share petitions that reflect how God has answered their prayers.
Visually in worship you can help people focus on the season of Lent, by removing or replacing objects with simple versions. For example, remove brassware with simple wood objects. Use gray on Ash Wednesday rather than a white altar cloth or purple paraments. Create a Lenten garden around the pulpit or baptismal font with clay pots filled with various dried branches. Create a single or series of mini-banners with Lenten/Holy Week symbols. Incorporate a variety of ages in the creating of the banners.
Brushstroke Meditations by Elyn MacInnes provides reflections on the gospel through Chinese Characters. These can be used for individual meditations or small group discussion starters. For a copy visit www.textweek.com/lent.htm and scroll down to “Brushstroke Meditations” and click on the link.
Follow the example of Bethel, Middleburg Hts Youth a number of years ago. In addition to writing a devotional book that created a pin for the cover of each devotional booklet with the instructions for the pin to be worn by the recipient during the Lenten season. And when asked about the pin they were to reply “This was given to me by someone who loves Jesus”.
There are a variety of ways in which we can retell the Passion story to prepare hearts and minds for the death and resurrection of our Lord. Lenten Walks for children or all ages is one excellent way to draw people into the happenings of Holy Week. Providing Stations of the Cross with a guided or self-guided helps works well with older youth and adults. Another option is to provide a listing of a suggested symbol and Bible passage to read at meal time. Suggested symbols and scripture passages are:
Palm Sunday Palm leaf, fern frond or paper leaf John 12:13
Monday Small bowl of water & folded napkin John 13:5
Tuesday Picture or sculpture of praying hands Luke 22:41
Wednesday Picture or figurine of rooster Luke 22:61
Thursday Crown of thorns or twisted vines Mark 15:17
Friday Small cross made of sticks Luke 23:26-33
Saturday All symbols for silent meditation Hymn “Were You There?”
Sunday Lily or other blooming plant John 11:25 and favorite Easter hymn
For more ideas in planning a meaningful Lenten experience for your congregation contact Karen at the resource center (email@example.com) or visit www.feautor.org and do a search for “Lent”.