Here at Tiny, our focus in worship this Lent has been the last week of Jesus' life. Using Borg and Crossan's book, we've been look at the stories leading up to the crucifixion. The sermon series is called Journey to the Cross. The 'journey' bit ties into another initiative here at Tiny, the Journey to Jerusalem. We are encouraging folks in our church to walk, run, bike, etc., then submit their mileage each week. We're trying to make it to Jerusalem before Easter!
So far so good. We set a modest goal of 100 miles a week, which when multiplied by 10, will hopefully get us there. But the initiative has been so popular we are using a factor of 5 instead... and we may still make it to Jerusalem and back. Check it out:
Just a small way we're trying to encourage health and wholeness here at the church.
And yes... as the map indicates, we walk on water here.
I'm also making an effort to change up the look of worship each week, primarily on the communion table, but also through the kids' activities in the Upper Room. Of course I haven't thought to take pictures---sorry, I'll do better!---but I'll describe what I've done in case others want to adapt:
The first week, we looked at Jesus' "cursing" of the fig tree (Peter's word, not Jesus', which I talk about in the sermon). For that Sunday, I had a black piece of fabric laying flat on the table with a vase with several nice branchy twigs sticking out of it, sort of on the left, with the communion elements towards the right. I had a long piece of purple fabric that I snaked around the table, with one side wrapping around the vase, then curved around the communion chalice/plate and hanging off the front. (By the way, you need to experiment with levels when you do focal point stuff. You can use books and things underneath the cloth to create some variations in height.)
We invited the kids to do this simple activity (sans leaves) in the Upper Room, which was meant to represent the withered fig tree:
The kids took these home to have on their dinner tables during Lent.
This past weekend was the anointing of Jesus. I used a different multi-colored cloth for the table and put a large glass bottle (actually a decanter) on the table, along with a copy of the St. John's Bible (which I talked about in the sermon), propped open to the gospel of Mark. I also included this figure I got on a trip to Mexico during seminary:
We're fortunate at Tiny that we're, well, tiny, so people can see what's on the table pretty well. Also, folks came forward during the prayers of the people and we did an anointing with oil, so they could see the table elements even better.
For the kids in the Upper Room, I gave them a bit of nard (the oil mentioned in the story), which is smelly stuff. They were invited to make cards for each person in the church service, using construction paper, markers, stickers, etc. I asked them to put a little smear of nard on each paper so people would have the scent as a reminder of this story of extravagant love.
The children did a wonderful job of this, and stood with me at the door following the service, handing them out. Most of the notes were small, but Caroline did do an oversized one for Robert and me:
It has been a very good Lent so far.