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Lent is the season before Easter, 40 days (not including Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Lent mirrors the season of Advent in that Lent prepares us for Easter the way Advent prepares us for Christmas. Lent is a great opportunity to dig deeper in all aspects of Christianity: prayer life, worship life, mission life, education–you name it. Here are some resources and ideas for worship use in Lent and Easter.
Possible Themes for Lent Year A
Some suggestions for preaching/worship themes for Lent
Peg Williams, interim pastor at Community United Church of Christ, shared this image on Facebook using the Spring Elements theme from the Possible Themes document. She writes:
During Lent this arrangement was created in worship. Thanks to the litany from http://rev-o-lution.org/, each week we added a layer. They are seeds, earth, water, sand, stone and wood. What started out as stark and unappealing grew into something very beautiful. The branches were added last week by our youth who took them from a dead tree outside the church. Now they will plant a shrub to replace it. What was dead now has life. Thank you, Rev. Mindi, for this litany.
Ash Wednesday Service (Typos corrected 2/12/2013)
A contemplative Ash Wednesday service to help prepare for the season of Lent
Because Lent is to mirror Advent, I like to include candle-lighting, just as we have an Advent Wreath. Some candle liturgies are based more on a Tenebrae model of extinguishing candles as one gets closer to Easter; I like to light candles instead. Sundays during Lent were historically seen as “mini-Easters” and are not included in the 40 days of Lent. Therefore, lighting candles as we approach Easter is appropriate. Here are some candle-lighting liturgies you can use. I like to use pillar candles on a small table.
Lenten Candle Lighting Liturgy Year A A Lenten Candle Liturgy for year A in the Revised Common Lectionary.
Lenten Candle Lighting Liturgy Year B A Lenten Candle Liturgy for year B in the Revised Common Lectionary.
Lenten Candle Lighting-Generic Lenten Candle Lighting that can be used any year.
You can also make up your own liturgies based on the themes suggested in the Lenten Themes download above.
Journey Through Holy Week Overview
The Journey Through Holy Week is an event for children and youth that can be run at any time during Holy Week. One model is to use it on Palm Sunday during Sunday School. I have also used it on Good Friday as an event for children. The Journey Through Holy Week can be adapted and the script used for a worship service as well.
Journey Through Holy Week 2012
Maundy Thursday 2008 –Year A
Maundy Thursday Service Year B
Both of these are a reflective Tenebrae service, which include “symbols” that can be used to visualize each of the passages of Scripture that portray the Last Supper, Betrayal, Arrest and Crucifixion of Jesus.
Maundy Thursday Living Last Supper
Maundy Thursday Living Last Supper-Script
This is a service of the Living Last Supper, which I adapted from this service. Note that the hymn #’s here do not correspond to the Chalice Hymnal as many of my resources do. You will need both downloads above, as one has the script and the other is the order of worship. This is a very powerful service, sharing the story of the betrayal, arrest and crucifixion of Jesus from the points of view of the twelve disciples and Mary.
Good Friday Service Year B
This is a short Good Friday service of scripture, silence and song. I have also included last year’s service
Good Friday Service Year A This is a service of reflection, narration and song.
Easter Vigil Service
Easter Vigil is not often observed in the free church tradition but can be a wonderful service of renewal and preparation for the Resurrection. I originally used this service on Saturday evening before Easter, with the youth participating as the worship leaders but the whole church was invited to attend. This service was held in our parlor, where we could be comfortable, light candles and celebrate Easter beginning at sundown, as the day would begin in the Jewish calendar.
This is a brief service for Easter Morning that can be used at sunrise.