a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Creative Expression for Lent B Old Testament Track

(Liturgy to go with this creative expression can be found here.)

 

On the way into the worship space, or during a children’s time, or before worship (or during coffee hour the previous week after worship, even), you might invite people to participate in decorating blocks to be used as symbols throughout the season. You will need five blocks, four square and of equal size, one double the height. You can use boxes for a larger symbol, or big toy blocks for something table-top sized. Be sure to use something that will be visible throughout your worship space.

The first week you can invite people to colour part of a rainbow, or to paint the block in rainbow stripes, or to stick on stickers in a paint-by-number kind of way to make a rainbow block.

The second week you can invite people to use a Sharpie or other permanent marker to sign their names on the block.

The third week you can invite people to draw/colour two stone tablets on one face of the block, and/or to write numbers or what they remember of the 10 commandments on the tablets or on the sides of the block.

The fourth week you’ll use the double-height block, and you can invite people to colour in section of a Rod of Asclepius (already outlined for them on the block!), or to draw a desert in the background.

The fifth week you can invite people to add a heart sticker to an outlined heart on the front of the block.

(You can also, of course, simply prepare these yourself ahead of time—though then you might want to print your church roll or something to glue on the box for week 2, so you have people’s names on the block without their stopping to write it themselves.)

Each week after the confession, someone should place the block in a visible spot in the church—on the communion table, on another table put up for this purpose, or if you are using boxes, in front of the table or around the chancel.

On Palm/Passion Sunday, during the assurance of forgiveness, the blocks can be constructed into a cross as follows, with one person holding each block/box and putting it in position until it all holds together: Rod of Asclepius at the bottom, signatures/names at the top, rainbow to the left, tablets to the right, heart in the center like a keystone.

You will need to prepare the blocks whose sides meet in the cross with an adhesive (double sided tape, glue dots, even velcro or wall-mounting strips, depending on the size and material you have used) so they will stick together, of course. Be sure the people assembling the cross press them firmly together!

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

CTW: covenant-making God

One: Hear and believe the good news: God has called us “my people”!
All: God has set up a covenant, over and over again,
choosing us even before we can choose,
faithful even when we are faltering.

One: In the flood, in the wilderness, in exile;
in certainty and doubt, abundance and scarcity;
God’s promise is true to the thousandth generation.
All: We see the rainbow, we hear our names, we learn the commandments,
we look up for our help, we know in our hearts:
we love because God first loved us,
we follow because God first came to us,
we can be faithful because God is faithful.

One: Come, let us worship God together.

 

(On Palm/Passion Sunday, this may be used as an Assurance of Forgiveness with a few minor alterations noted here….and during the assurance, the blocks placed after the confessions throughout Lent can be constructed into a cross as described here.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

Confession: bow in the clouds

Covenant-making God, you declare your compassion for all your creation.
You promised to care for every creature,
and placed your bow in the clouds as a reminder of that promise.
We confess that we are prone to limiting your promise to humanity….
or, rather, to us.
Forgive us when we narrow your grace,
thinking that creation is for our use and we are free to exploit and destroy.
Remind us that we are made in your image,
and called to love as you love…down to the smallest creature.
Guide our eyes to see the rainbow,
sign of your promise that violence shall not have the last word,
and help us to follow you more faithfully.
We pray in the name of the One who was obedient to your non-violent will,
even to the cross and beyond to the empty tomb, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(A block with a rainbow may be placed on/near the table or other space designated for symbols of the season)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Other liturgy for this series following the Old Testament readings for Lent B may be found here.

Confession: we laugh at your call

Covenant-making God, you call us by name,
transforming our past into your future.
We confess that sometimes we laugh at your call, believing it to be impossible.
We protest, insisting that you should conform to our way.
We ignore your voice, refusing to admit to anyone what we have heard,
instead going about our lives as if we heard nothing.
Forgive us, O God, and speak our names once again.
Change our hearts and our lives, until we are able to trust your promise.
We pray in the name of the One whose name is above all names, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(A block with the signatures of the congregation may be placed near the rainbow block.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Liturgy for other weeks of the Lent B Old Testament readings may be found here.

Confession: our own people

Covenant-making God, you have brought us into freedom
and showed us what it means to be your people.
We admit to you that sometimes we would prefer to be our own people.
We confess before you and one another that we have made idols—
of busy-ness, of possessions, of jobs,
of celebrities and politicians, of the news cycle,
of our own desires and traditions.
We proclaim the words of your commandments while ignoring their spirit.
We have believed the lie that we must earn your love by following the rules,
forgetting that you chose us first, saved us first, loved us first,
long before commanding us to live your way.
Forgive us, O Lord our God.
Show us once again your gracious favour, to the thousandth generation,
that we might live according to your word.
We pray in the name of the One who fulfils all righteousness, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(A block with the tablets of the commandments may be placed near the rainbow and name blocks.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Liturgy for other weeks of the Lent B Old Testament series may be found here.

Confession: monsters within

Covenant-making God, you provide for us in many different ways,
and we confess that we do not always recognise you at work in the world around us.
We get impatient, wanting you to work on our schedule.
We wish for something more or different than what you have offered.
We want someone else to solve problems we have had a hand in creating.
Forgive our foolish ways, our thoughtless words, our arrogant ignorance.
Help us to face the monsters within.
Turn our eyes once again to you, and focus our hearts on your way,
that we may be faithful to your promise.
We pray in the name of the One who is lifted up in the desert,
drawing all people to himself, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

(A block with a Rod of Asclepius (a snake around a pole…this block should be twice the height of the other blocks) may be placed near the other blocks.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Other liturgy following the Old Testament readings for Lent B may be found here.

confession: hardened hearts

Covenant-making God, you use every possible means to reach us,
breathing your Spirit in us, calling us by name,
showing us symbols of your promise, offering us a new way of life.
We confess that our hearts are hardened.
We choose certainty over faith, anxiety over courage, independence over compassion.
We turn our eyes from our neighbours in need,
and from stories of despair, and from pleas for peace,
and from anything that might bring tears to our eyes,
for we prefer our own comfort.
We get caught up in our own needs and desires,
and forget you have made us to be your people, together.
Engrave your word on our hard hearts again, O God.
Then break them open for what breaks yours,
that your word might sink in and become a part of us,
so we might truly live as if you are our God and we are your people.
We pray in the name of the One whose love breaks all bounds, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(A block with a heart may be placed near the other blocks.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Other liturgy following the Old Testament readings for Lent B may be found here.

Confession: take our branches

Covenant-making God,
you enter into our lives in ways we could not have expected.
Sometimes, we confess, we think you are making a fool of yourself and us.
We cannot see how your way can work, or be right,
because it is so contrary to all our ambition and understanding.
Yet we shout our Hosannas and sing our praises.
Forgive us for projecting all our narrow worldly views on you
and expecting you to live up to our standards.
Take our branches and our lives,
that we may learn to lay them down in your service,
following your way even when we cannot understand.
We pray in the name of the One who made a parade
with only a donkey and some children singing for your glory, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(The blocks may be constructed into a cross during the assurance of forgiveness.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

More liturgy following the Old Testament readings for Lent B may be found here.

Assurance: covenant making God

(This is an adaptation of the Lent B Call to Worship, to be useable as an assurance of forgiveness on Palm Sunday if constructing the symbol cross as noted here. You should not print the instructions for the blocks—they are for your reference as liturgist so you can pause while people get pieces into position.)

 

One: Hear and believe the good news: God has called us “my people”!
All: God has set up a covenant, over and over again,
choosing us even before we can choose,
faithful even when we are faltering.

One: In the flood, in the wilderness, in exile;
in certainty and doubt, abundance and scarcity;
All: God’s promise is true to the thousandth generation.
One: We see the rainbow, (rainbow block is held up on one side)
we hear our names, (signature block is held up at the top)
we learn the commandments, (tablets block is held up opposite the rainbow)
we look up for our help, (rod of Asclepius block is put in position at the bottom)
we know in our hearts: (heart block is placed in centre)
All: we love because God first loved us,
we follow because God first came to us,
we can be faithful because God is faithful.

(Blocks are pressed together to stand as a cross)
One: Come, let us worship God together.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson