Wednesday, February 8, 2012
As Lent approaches, I'm reminded of an event that my Sunday school class in Ft. Myers, Florida, organized for several years called "The Way of the Cross". You might want to consider such for your congregation. We did this on Good Friday and invited individuals or families to visit the "stations" at some time during the day. This could be done at any time during Lent, and it would be well to advertise it throughout your community, even using the local newspaper.
This was a series of centers set up in separate rooms. Each person or group was asked to wait until the previous person had left before entering the room. We placed footprints on the floor to lead the participants from room to room. Each center had all of the directions needed for a time of quiet reflection and contemplation on that particular time during the last hours of Jesus' life. At the center there was opportunity to read the scripture (or a tape recording of the scripture), a brief description of what happened at that time, and reflection questions. There were also items on the display that symbolized things in the story, such as a money bag and coins for Judas, sandals for when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, communion elements, prayer cards in the "garden", a crown of thorns to be placed on their heads, Q-tips and vinegar for tasting what was offered to Jesus on the cross, and such.
The final stop was the sanctuary where a life size cross was on the floor with papers to write any messages the participants wanted to place on the cross. There was a basket of nails and a hammer, and the partaicipants were asked to nail their paper to the cross. The sound of the hammer echoing in the empty sanctuary was very moving. The papers were later removed and burned, and the ashes were used for our Ash Wednesday service the next year.
As they left the sanctuary there was a table with a flyer suggesting ways they could prepare for Easter, as well as information on our Good Friday service and Easter services.
If you would like more information on this, you can find it on pages 112-117 in my book TEACHING & CELEBRATING THE CHRISTIAN SEASONS, available through www.chalicepress.com, www.cokesbury.com, and www.amazon.com. If you still have any questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might also like to check out the suggested books at the bottom of the blog page.
Whatever you do to help your congregation celebrate this special season, I pray that it blesses you too!