Lent 2014 at Pilgrims, Part 1

Now that we are nearing the end of Lent, I've got a handle on our Lenten liturgy and know what the hell is happening each week.... This Lent we are focusing on "the body." I wrote out our initial planning stage in this blog post, lifting up our playful and intentional exploration of our liturgical space and it's relationship to the body, our bodies, all bodies, preacher's body, liturgist's body....all these thoughts have been incorporated into our Wednesday night Lenten series that focuses on the body and Adult Ed on Sunday's that is focusing on death, dying and final rituals.

After our planning session and several weeks of tossing ideas into the air and lots of back and forth between me, Jeff, and Rob Passow, our music director, this is what we've come up.  We sub-themed each Sunday: hunger, vulnerability, movement, touch, and dying.

We begin by singing "Somos el cuerpo de Christo."

Somos el cuerpo, we are the body of Christ, Hemos oido el llamado; we've answered "yes" to the call of the Lord. 

Somos el cuerpo de Christo. We are the body of Christ. Traemos su santo mensaje. We come to bring Good News to the World. 

The music dims and the first part of the call to worship is read at the font. This was written by our intern, Jess Fisher.

When the time was right, Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem. Today, the time is right for us, so we set our faces towards the cross. Our journey begins with water. Like the deep water that the breathe of God swept over in the very beginning, like the overflowing water that sustains us in the earliest of moments of our vulnerable lives, like the living water that connects us in Baptism as we join the Body of Christ. 

The person saying the words moves forward to the table with a second person, carrying a THURIBLE. Yes! We are using a thurible to "mark the path" from font, table, and cross and to give a visibility to the Holy Spirit. While these people are moving forward, we sing the "El Cuerpo" song again.

At the table, these words are read: In between birth and death, we answer God's call, as we come to the table and meet at God who became human and moved amongst the broken, learn what we hunger for in our stomachs and our hearts, and reach out to touch our neighbor in the midst of life.


The two people move towards the crosses (thurible kicking out incense) and we sing the song again.

At the cross, these words are said: The journey leads us to death, at the foot of the cross, we bring an offering to God, one of incense and oil, which in life reminds us of the presence of God's Spirit and in death prepare our bodies to be returned to the earth. But even here we find Good News: our God goes before us in birth, in suffering, in death, and in new life. 

The thurible is placed at the bottom of the crosses where compost and remnants of wood rest--showing from dust and compost we come and return and executions are a human creation.

Pilgrim Matt Webster in Mountain Pose, with Dana  Olson guiding us through a meditation.
Pilgrim Matt Webster in Mountain Pose, with Dana Olson guiding us through a meditation.

We sing the song again, and when the song is finished, everyone is still standing.

Folks are then invited to stand in mountain pose, taking on the place where Jesus looked out over the horizon on the first Sunday in Lent. A guided meditation is used in this moment to connect with body, and the primary working theme of the liturgy (hunger, etc).

We gently sit after this, and sing another song.

Someone tells the very long Gospel story by heart. Phew!

Creating the story of the Woman at the Well.
Creating the story of the Woman at the Well.

Jeff then invites people to name an part of the story that stands out to them. A moment in the story is called out and people are invited to create a "tableau" of the story with their bodies. One requirement---you have to be touching someone in the tableau. This is an improv game we've adapted for worship.

Below are more pictures of our sanctuary. In my next blog post, I'll share what we are doing with the sermon and communion + my analysis of the liturgy.