For the last few years our congregation has been blending interactive prayer stations with traditional worship elements on Ash Wednesday. We begin our worship with 20 minutes of guided prayer stations. We have the stations set up around the sanctuary with instructions that guide our worshipers through a reflective activity. After the 20 minutes we return to our pews and sing hymns, hear scripture, and have a short homily. We end our worship with the imposition of ashes. This year our Ash Wednesday worship will be centered on the 23rd Psalm as an introduction to our theme for all of Lent.
The stations we plan to use focus on the themes for the Sundays of Lent.
Reflection: We often weigh ourselves down with worries that are unnecessary and harmful. God provides and calls us to trust in that provision.
Action: Take a piece of string from the table and as you reflect on the elements of life that you worry about tie a knot to represent each worry. Pause. Remember that God cares for you greatly and promises to provide. As you untie each knot, pray that God will help you hand over your worry and help you trust in God’s provisions.
Reflection: Attempting to make our way through life on our own is overwhelming and confusing. Often we don’t recognize how God is leading us until we look back. God is our leader, we need to commit to following God’s lead.
Action: Take one of the provide labyrinth cards. As you trace the path with your fingers, think about how God has led you throughout your life. Reflect on the twists and turns that you have encountered. Celebrate how God has formed you through the maze of life. Ask God to help you fully trust God as you are led into the future.
Reflection: Life is hard! The difficulties we encounter can make us feel along and afraid. Yet God is with us even in the midst of the toughest times. Sometimes we need reminders of God’s presence.
Action: Look at the table filled with comfort items: blankets, teddies, a cup of tea… What is missing? What in your life provides you with comfort? Grab a piece of the silk ribbon from the bowl. As you rub it between your fingers and feel its softness, remember how children find comfort in its touch. Ask God to remind you of God’s presence with you as you encounter difficult times. Take the ribbon with you and keep it in your pocket. When you are reminded of you “valley” encounters, rub the ribbon and remember that God is with you.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Reflection: God is good! We have more than we need and are blessed beyond measure! Sometimes we take the “sweet” things in our life for granted.
Action: Take in the abundance of the dessert table before you. Desserts are not necessary, they are always above and beyond what we need. Pick a dessert to eat. As you enjoy its sweetness, think about the many blessings that God has poured into your life. Thank God for how they enrich your daily living. Ask God to help you embrace the abundant life that is offered and not take it for granted.
Reflection: Life with God is beyond our wildest dreams! Even with the realities of “valleys” and hardships that we encounter, life is overwhelmingly good.
Action: Using the blocks provided, build a house. As you build, think about how your life with God has been thus far. Remember the blessings, remember the highs and the lows, remember the people God has given you to share life with. Thank God for the home you have, not just the structure but the community in which you feel accepted, loved, and safe.