lent series: WE ARE SORRY

i know we just hit epiphany but i wanted to let you know about the LENT series while it’s still fresh. yesterday, levi and i went up to SNU for a preaching workshop with William Willimon that was really good. afterward, we met with jon middendorf and jason smith from OKC First for a creative session about the Lent series that we wanted to partner for. this is what we came up with:

Big Idea:
The scriptures from the lectionary (Lent, Year C) are filled with corporate language so we want to emphasize corporate confession of sin. The Ash Wednesday liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) continually has the the body of Christ confessing “forgive us for…forgive us for…” While every individual in the room may not suffer from what you’re confessing, we know that it is in our history, and is a part of the human experience and so we confess. We want to emphasize BEING the body of Christ together, not just confess your sins and live your life, but how can we together confess OUR sins and live OUR LIFE in such a way that the community around us is better for it. We as a Church must acknowledge our failings. So the title of the series is: WE ARE SORRY.

Just think of what that would mean for a person who is far from God, who will never give God a chance because of what they’ve seen the Church or Christians do, if they saw on your church sign or in your front lawn “We Are Sorry.” We believe that could change your community’s perspective of the body of Christ.

The Scripture:
You can find the scripture choices for each week at textweek.com. Catalyst is going to stick to the Gospel passages but OKC First is going to be using different passages each week (some from the OT, Psalms, Epistles, and Gospels). Whatever scripture you choose from the lectionary will be fine.

Visual Idea:this is the poster for the series. the look will be in all the other resources. (see RESOURCES at the bottom of this post)

Creative Idea:
At the Ash Wednesday service (and throughout the season of Lent) we will have a big piece of paper on the wall (or wherever you put it) that people will confess sins, corporate and personal, writing them on the paper with invisible marker that only shows up with a black light. We will also have little pieces of the brown paper with two-sided tape and whole string for people to receive ashes (they stick to the tape) and then to hang in a prominent place (rear view mirror, etc.) throughout Lent.

We’ve decided to go with finding some round tables and wrapping the tops of the tables with the brown paper. We felt like the tables would allow for more people to be able to write on the paper. We will have them set up around the worship area for people to write on throughout Lent. We’ll also have a small print of the “We Are Sorry” graphic attached to the middle of the table. However you decide to have them right on the paper is fine.

At the Good Friday service, the people will come in and we’ll have panels displayed on stage, as well as 11 candles, plus the Christ candle, for the 12 readings of Christ’s road to the cross (for more ideas on a TENEBRAE service, click here, we aren’t following everything stated, but it’ll give you a better understanding of how to actually pull it off). With each reading a candle will be extinguished, and we will draw one leg of a cross (each cross has 4 ‘legs’, bottom, top, left, right). We’re going to have 3 panels so at the end (3 panels x 4 legs = 12 readings), each panel will have a completed cross and as we extinguish the Christ candle, and the room goes completely dark, the blacklights reveal that the cross was painted over OUR sin for an incredible reveal. (the blacklights will be on the whole time, but since the room has other light, you can’t truly see what’s on the paper till the very end and the room is completely dark.) Some people hit a gong or make a loud noise to symbolize the stone rolling in front of the tomb. Everyone leaves in silence till Sunday morning when the celebration begins!

Below are some websites where you can find the materials needed online. You may be able to find them in your town as well.

For Ash Wednesday:
Here is our service script and order.

Brown wrapping paper in different lengths. Also, Office Depot will probably have some in stock. When I called they had 24″ x 50′ (that’s 100 sqft) for $4.99.

Blacklight markers: $4.95 for 2 or $19.99 for a kit to make 25 makers (I just got my kit and put them all together and will test them out tomorrow on brown paper and little blacklight that i have.)

For Good Friday:
Blacklights you can get from any lighting store in your area. We are going to rent 2 400 watt black light lamps for $25 a piece. You could also buy the blacklight tubes (the look like flourescent tubes). I can get 48″ tubes for $18.95 without the fixture. I’m checking on the cost of fixtures at home depot tomorrow. The key to the blacklight working is that there be no other light bleeding on the paper.

Journals (optional):
We will also have for around $3.25 a piece, a companion journal that would be supplemental to the Lent season. It will NOT have the “we are sorry” graphics on it, but will have daily scripture readings, a guide for reflection and space to journal. It will also have a foreword by Jon Middendorf and a few devotional thoughts for some of the special days of the Lenten Season. If you would like to purchase journals the deadline is January 28th.

Check back soon as we will have info on the sequel series for Easter to Pentecost: WE ARE FORGIVEN


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