"Were You There...": Themes and visuals for a Lenten series

In the past few years we have followed suggestions from Reformed Worship for our Lenten season. This past year, however, we felt inspired to do our own thing.

Our interim pastor, Jerrien Gunnink, chose the overall theme of “Were You There . . . ” In addition to coordinating all the music to our chosen theme, we had a visual arts team (Larry Young and Joyce Baker) who did a marvelous job of creating what they called “a shadow study using layers of mat board in contrasting colors” to portray each theme. This was accented with the use of African batik fabrics draped


Theme: “Were You There . . . in the Shouting Crowd?”

Scripture: “ . . . and they twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.” —Matthew 27:29

Visual: Crown of thorns


Theme: “Were You There . . . as a Spectator?”

Scripture: “ . . . and they forced him to carry the cross.” —Matthew 27:32

Visual: Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross


Theme: “Were You There . . . as a Confessor?”

Scripture: “Two robbers were crucified with him.” —Matthew 27:38

Visual: Two hands bound together


Theme: “Were You There . . . as a Sympathizer?”

Scripture: “A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.” —Luke 23:27

Visual: Silhouettes of two women


Theme: “Were You There . . . as His Family?”

Scripture: “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother . . . ” —Mark 19:25

Visual: Profile of Mary’s face


Theme: “Were You There . . . as a Demonstrator?”

Scripture: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” —Luke 19:38

Visual: Palm branch


Theme: “Were You There . . . When He Was Crucified?

Scripture: “Then they led him out to crucify him.” —Mark 15:20

Visual: On Good Friday all batik fabrics and art were removed from the sanctuary. The cross was draped in black fabric.


Theme: “Were You There . . . When He Arose?”

Scripture: Mark 16:2-6

Visual: When we came into the sanctuary on Easter morning, we were greeted by a cross composed of five of the shadow-study mat boards. All of the shadow artwork was assembled into the shape of the cross. The rough-hewn cross was removed and the African fabric hung on rods, draped in gold, and scattered throughout the sanctuary. It was a visual feast that brought all the weeks of Lent together, culminating in a joyous celebration of praise and thanksgiving!

Alice Waanders (AliceW613@bresnan.net) is worship coordinator of New Life Christian Reformed Church, Grand Junction, Colorado.


Reformed Worship 54 © December 1999, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.