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Reply to "LENT 2022: Ideas, Lessons, and Ideas for Lenten teaching during the pandemic"

A Socially Distant Outdoor Lenten Journey

This idea was first described with variations in our Advent 2020 celebration ideas. The idea is for a congregation to create an outdoor "walk" or "trail" that people can use any time to engage in a devotional activity.

The walk could be through a wood, or around the church, or through a community. The stations can be simple signs, visual displays, or "caches" to find. The stations could be "staffed" at certain hours and days with guides and/or participants.  Yes, you could do it "in" the church, but that's not nearly as interesting as doing it outdoors, especially during a pandemic.

If you wanted to highlight Luke 4's description of the Temptations of Jesus, one of the stations could offer fresh baked bread and the message that "man does not live by bread alone, but by...."  Another could be a display of a "wealth and power" montage and the temptation of it described in Luke 4:5.

Notes from Neil:
The idea of "Journeying through Lent" traces back to the stories of Jesus journeying in the wilderness (Luke 4) and the Hebrews crossing the desert during the Exodus. The concept is also found in the "stations of the cross" tradition (a typically indoor or in-sanctuary event). Each "station" or stop has scripture and perhaps an activity that individuals or families can participate in. In a way, the "stations" or "journey" mimics the journey of Advent and lighting of candles to mark time. Lent is traditionally more of an INTROSPECTIVE journey than Advent, which should guide the style of the walk, choice of scriptures, prayers, and activities.

There are MANY Lent resources online and in print that describe 'station' themes, objects, and scriptures. For example, Anderson 1st UMC in Indiana has a webpage describing four very interestingly themed Lent stations: Sand, Rock, Shells, and Human touch/comfort.

Notably, this same "journey" or "stations" idea could be used during HOLY WEEK at the end of LENT to give parishioners a socially-distant way of participating in the story.


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