Lent is upon us. This week we’ll enter the journey, some of us, on Ash Wednesday. We’ll come face to face with mortality and sin, then turn our faces and our lives back toward God, seeking a new relationship with God, God’s people, and God’s world. Throughout Lent we continue seeking both the truth of our own lives and the Truth of God’s desire for us…and this Sunday is the first time we get to explore that fully.
So maybe you’ll be working with God’s rainbow covenant. Maybe, along with the psalmist, you’ll be pleading “Teach me your ways.” Maybe you’ll be contemplating Paul’s call to Be prepared to suffer for doing good, and connecting baptism and the Flood… or maybe you’ll enter the season with the traditional story of Jesus’ baptism, and you’ll follow him out into the wilderness.
Do you have a theme for the whole season, or will you work week by week? Are you planning to follow one set of readings (all old testament, all psalms, all gospel, etc) throughout the five Sundays, or are you mixing it up? Are you following the lectionary or working on a series off-lectionary? Share your ideas in the comments!
Perhaps you have just one word or one phrase so far…if you put that in the comments, you can inspire others and we can begin bouncing ideas around. Who knows, we may even end up with a brand new piece of liturgy we can share!
Teri Peterson says
Our Lent theme is “Heart and Seek”–we are focusing on seeking God with our whole hearts, figuring out what gets in the way of that seeking, etc. This week’s sermon title is taken from an LA Times article from last summer: “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There” and the text is Mary and Martha. How often do we *DO* things in order to avoid the silence/mystery/unknown/etc? And how can we practice just BEING with God so that we can take that Being with us in our Doing? The sermon is built around two Carrie Newcomer songs–I Meant To Do My Work Today and Holy As A Day Is Spent.
So…I need to write a prayer or call to worship that can be used each week, and probably a prayer of confession that has an interchangeable middle section that can be week-specific. My seed phrases are “I seek you with my whole heart” and “hidden in plain sight”…not sure where that’s all going yet, but looking forward to other people’s ideas!
Martha Spong says
I’ve got an intergenerational service (using young readers as well as adults) for Palm/Passion Sunday, or the Passion portion (only adult readers) could be used for Maundy Thursday. It’s all based on Mark’s gospel and intertwines scripture readings with dramatic monologues for three children who see Jesus on the road to Jerusalem and four characters from scripture who are part of the last week (the Woman who Anoints Jesus, Peter, Pilate and Mary the Mother of James and Joses). There’s a space in the middle of Peter’s story for the celebration of Communion. I’m happy to share it directly, but it might be a little lengthy for posting here or on my blog. I’ve been working on it every Year B since 2003!
Otherwise, for the rest of Lent, I’m developing little booklet handouts on the Psalms for each week that will be available to take home after worship. I will probably post them on our church website, too. There will be several versions of the Psalm along with a couple of — I hope — thoughtful questions to ponder, and maybe the gospel reading, too. We’ll use the Psalm as the OT reading instead of simply the source for the Call to Worship (I do that a lot).
No Ash Wednesday service for us, so I’ve got time to work on the booklets today.
Martha Spong says
Ack! I thought I was leaving a comment on a Holy Week post that isn’t actually here. Well, I’m still glad to share the Palm/Passion resource I’ve developed. 😉
Andy James says
There actually *was* a Holy Week post here for an hour or so this morning. We pulled it, figuring that most people hadn’t even been able to think much about Sunday, let alone that far in advance! So hold that thought – it will be returning soon. 🙂
Martha Spong says
Okay, I will spam you with a repetition when it re-appears. 🙂
Stephanie Anthony says
I haven’t named or advertised my Lent theme, but the plan is to work through some of the traditional and non-traditional Lent/spiritual disicplines, espeicially as they might pair with my 5 Epiphany sermons that talked about how God is on the loose in the world in Jesus. On Transfiguration I acknowledged that the call to follow Jesus where he went and what he did is overwhelming. So during Lent we’ll look at practices that can help us make those first (or continuing) following steps. Fasting is up this week and I’m pairing it up with the sermon in which Jesus cast out an unclean spirit. I’m looking at fasting as the discipline that invites us to cast out evil from our lives personally with things that separate us from God (fasting from TV, harmful habits) and in our actions that affect others (fasting from consuming products/services from unjust corporations). These sermons will definitely be based in Scripture, not necessarily lectionary, but more “topical” than I often am. It’s hard for me, but I think it’ll be good.
Martha, I’m gonna zap you an e-mail, because I would LOVE to see your Palm/Passion/Maundy Thursday drama. Our Palm Sunday service this year is going to be very intergenerational with a lot of children and youth in leadership spots. We’ve been looking for some sort of drama or presentation to use in this. We’ve been unsuccessful so far!