Vizualizing the Passion

Creating a Weekly Lenten Display

Lent is a time for reflection on the Passion of Christ as well as on our own lives. As the visual ministry team at St. Timothy, our challenge was to bring the Passion of Christ to our congregation in a tangible, intimate, visual way. We also wanted the message of the Passion to progress weekly, reminding the congregation of the previous week’s message without taking away from the message of the day.

Our team decided to locate the display at the side of the sanctuary. Most of the congregation passes this spot before and after each service, giving them an opportunity to see the display close up.

Each week we added visual elements related to the Passion to our display. The backdrop and arrangement of the elements were also changed to encourage frequent viewing. We also worked closely with the florist who provides flowers for our Sunday services, making suggestions and incorporating those arrangements into our presentations.

Here’s what we did:

Week 1: During the first week we displayed only the upright beam and the crossbar.

Week 2: We added a basin and towel reminiscent of the ones Pilate used to wash his hands.


Week 3: Then came a whip, a crown of thorns, and a purple robe.

Week 4: Next came a hammer and nails.

Week 5: We placed the crossbar on the upright beam.

Week 6: Palm Sunday was the culmination of the display. We added a hyssop branch with a wine vinegar-soaked sponge, the inscription on the cross, and a spear. A jar filled with salts scented with myrrh was placed at the cross with the burial cloth. Breathing the fragrance of myrrh—an aromatic resin used for burial in Jesus’ day—was a moving experience. Worship participants were encouraged to touch the salts so the fragrance would remain with them as they left church as a reminder of what Jesus did for us.

Week 7: Easter Sunday

Debbie Pizzeck ( was from New Orleans, but following Hurricane Katrina moved to Greer, South Carolina. She works at Greenville Memorial Hospital and worships at Covenant United Methodist Church.

Reformed Worship 82 © December 2006, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.