A van-load of Southern Baptists from the hills of West Virginia drives 160 miles to meditate on a Stations of the Cross art exhibit—twice? What’s wrong with this picture?
The comforting smell of baking bread may evoke childhood memories of your mother’s kitchen or remind you of leisurely Saturday mornings sitting at the local bakery with the newspaper and a cup of coffee. But few people associate that lovely aroma with church services, even though bread figures prominently in worship.
Some time before Lent our pastor, Al Van Dellen, announced the theme of his Lenten messages: “Crucified—by My Hand.” The topics were Judas, Nicodemus, Peter, and the Centurion. I immediately thought of the wonderful readings from the drama “We Were There” by Marla Ehlers (see RW 58). We used Ehlers’s portrayals of Judas and Peter on the appropriate Sundays, and I wrote readings for Nicodemus and the Centurion, along with a service plan for the Centurion. I’m hoping others may find these useful!
This liturgy has three movements: confession, assurance, and rededication. It’s as though the reconciliation part of worship that is common in many Reformed churches is magnified to encompass the entire service.
Because I refer to him in the meditation, I used Saint Augustine’s words about finding rest in God as the opening sentences. This theme is immediately picked up again in the gathering hymn, especially in stanza 4. Another
communion hymn that echoes this theme is “In the Quiet Consecration” (PsH 302).
A familiar feature of Advent and Christmas worship both at home and in church is the Advent wreath. Each Sunday of Advent another candle is lit, culminating in the lighting of the Christ Candle on Christmas Day.
Less familiar to many is the Lenten triad—an adaptation of the Advent wreath that can also be incorporated into individual or family devotions or used in congregational worship.