It’s time to get ready for Lent but I am not giving up chocolate or coffee. Lent is not about denial or sacrifice. It is about letting go of all that prevents us wholeheartedly following Christ.
I have recently updated Lenten resource lists on my blog. It’s a rather frustrating task because we don’t really need more to read or to do in Lent. We need more time to sit with God, allowing the Holy Spirit to stir our imaginations and create personal Lenten practices that bubble up from within, transforming our lives and faith.
The place I suggest you start with your congregation is by encouraging them to create their own sacred space for Lent. You might even like to have a Lenten decorating party – a great alternative to all those soup suppers, and redecorate your worship space for the season, allowing your congregation free reign with their creativity and imagination.
A couple of years ago I burnt the crosses and palms from the previous year to make a pile of ashes that became my focus for the season. It stirred my imagination to write this Lenten prayer and reflection.
This year I expect God to stir my imagination again to draw me closer to God’s heart for reconciliation in my relationship to God, to others and to God’s creation.
Eight Ideas for Creating Sacred Space
Take time to create your own sacred space for Lent and encourage your congregation to do the same. Here are some possibilities to prayerfully consider:
- Your dining room table. Eating meals is a holy time. Regardless of how busy you are in the week, make time for at least one meal to be shared with others. Believe me, you’ve got time. You’ve got to make time. And perhaps you can make this a time of reconciliation with those with whom you have been estranged.
- Something you are thinking of throwing out, like my old crosses and palms from last year. Recycled items as a focus for Lent reminds us that God is in the business of transformation and recreation.
- Clean a space for Lent. Spring cleaning was a traditional Lenten practice that symbolized the cleaning inside and out that was meant to take place during this season. What is one space you have wanted to clean up that you could recreate as a focus for Lent?
- Use colour and texture. The traditional colour for Lent is purple but that does not mean that we need to use it. Perhaps there are other colours, textures and images that speak to you about your own personal need for repentance and reconciliation. Imagine ways that you could use these to create a special place for your celebrations during this season.
- Incorporate images. I have a collection of icons, crosses and other images that I love to rearrange for different seasons on the year. Some have been given to me, others I have created, like my Celtic cross on stone from last year. I love to sit with some of these images in front me when it comes time to rearrange my sacred space and allow the spirit of God to help me choose which images are appropriate for the upcoming season. I have found this to provide a very profound experience that nurtures and instructs me throughout the season.
- Incorporate smells. Many people love to use incense or perfumed candles at this season, but this just makes me sneeze. However other fragrances, like roses, fresh baked bread and fresh smell of rain inspire me and there are creative ways to incorporate these into our Lenten space.
- Bring nature into your sacred space. For me, a sacred space is not complete unless it incorporates a garden, a plant or even a beautiful photo of a special landscape or flower. God often speaks through the created world, and I think this is important for all of us to include nature in our sacred spaces.
- Use your artistic gifts to create something new. All of us have been gifted with creativity and imagination, yet we rarely use it in our spiritual observances. Some of us are unaware of our creativity. Others are unsure how to create with the purposes of God in mind. Prayerfully ask God to stir your imagination to create something that flows out of the unique creativity with which God has gifted you. It could be a poem, a piece of art, a photo, a collage, something you knit, carve or sculpt. Or it could be an entirely new art form that is uniquely you.
And do check out my recently updated resource lists for Lent:“Let’s Plant a V3 Church in my Neighborhood” Share on Facebook! Tweet This!
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