Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Holy Water

Have you noticed that the baptismal font has water in it for Lent? Rev. Peter blessed a basin of water and placed it in the font for us to use in this holy season. As we enter Church we are invited to dip our fingers into the water and make the sign of the cross on our bodies or on our foreheads, as a reminder of our baptism, when we were marked as Christ's own forever.

This has been a meaningful practice for me in this season of Lent. I was already in the habit of doing this on baptism days when I pass the font to go to communion. But I enjoy seeing the font full, and it calls to mind all of the baptisms we have celebrated at Church. So many of these babies have grown up in our midst - what a blessing!

In the Good Shepherd Atrium we talk about gestures as a way of praying with our bodies. We show the children the gesture of making the sign of the cross and wonder with them about what it might mean. The image that has stayed with me, and that is brought to mind as I make the sign of the cross with the sanctified water is that of a shield - I am covering my whole body with the presence of Jesus and it goes before me into the world in all that I do.

When you see water in the font, feel free to dip your fingers in and make a cross on your forehead or over your body as a reminder of the blessing of baptism and the joy of belonging to God.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pictures from our Celebration!

John, Jesus, and Peter!
We held the Last Supper Celebration today in the atrium. It was a lovely morning, and fun to have the different age groups together. You can learn more about our morning by reading this previous post on the Last Supper Celebration.

This is such a quiet and intimate celebration that I didn't want to interrupt by taking photos. But I managed to snap some pictures as we drank juice and ate lots and lots of matzo at the end. I seriously doubt anyone needed lunch today!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Last Supper, Revisited

Last Sunday, children in the Good Shepherd and True Vine Atria saw the Cenacle Presentation. Today I am re-posting a description of the work, that appeared in the blog last Lent. I hope you enjoy it!

Recently children in the Good Shepherd and True Vine Atria saw the Cenacle (or Last Supper) Presentation. The Cenacle is a Latin name for the Upper Room, where the Last Supper took place. This is one of my favorite works in the atrium and one that the children return to again and again. With this work, we read a scriptural account of Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples (which is actually a compilation of several accounts), pausing to move the figures accordingly.

The highlight of the reading is this moment when Jesus is gathered around the table celebrating the Passover with his friends. We hear anew the words he said over the bread and wine--words that hadn't been said before. "Take, this is my body." and "This is my blood which is poured out for many."

In the presentation, the catechist narrates the time after Jesus and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives, including Jesus' death and resurrection. She hangs a cross behind the table, and lights the candles to remember those two moments.

And suddenly the children are presented with another tableau - one that is very familiar to them! Several times, I have had the pleasure of hearing children suck in their breath as they recognize the altar. I've also heard children call out "The Church!!" As catechists, we leave this lovely connection for the children to discover. Whenever it comes, I've found that this work enables the children to make a profound connection between the way Jesus loved his disciples and his desire to be with them always, and the way that Jesus loves us and expresses his love in the bread and wine that we are blessed to receive each week.

My daughter working with the Cenacle many years ago!
Every Lent we hold a Last Supper Celebration with the children. This is a wonderful gathering which draws upon the children's experience of the Cenacle material. I'll be sure to post about it when it comes along.

We will be holding our Last Supper Celebration for 2012 this Sunday, March 18th for the children in all three atria! For a description of this special day read the Last Supper Celebration.

Two wonderful blogging friends of mine, Sheila at Explore and Express, and Storyteller at Wonderful in an Easter kind of Way are collecting links with ideas for preparing for Easter. I am listing this post in their Lenten Link-Up Party. Click here to see all of the great posts they have collected!  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Behind These Doors...

We keep all of our practical life supplies in this closet in the Good Shepherd Atrium. It's incredible what a mess it can become! To be honest, I am usually the person to blame for the disaster. I always seem to be changing practical life works in a hurry!
A few weeks ago I stopped in the Good Shepherd Atrium after Church and found Lynette bringing order out of chaos! She had ALL of the materials out of the closet and rearranged everything!

Now we have materials sorted by season...

...and by type!
Trays are stacked...
...and glassware is together!
What a blessing!

Thank you Lynette for your ministry with our children 
for having a label maker and being willing to use it!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Try This! Lenten Prayer Garden

Last year I wrote about a meditation garden I made for my family to explore during the season of Lent. You can see photos of it and read about the supplies I collected to use in the garden in this post on observing Lent at Home. This year, I revisited the idea and made a few changes.

Last Lent, I set the meditation garden, prayer ideas, and supplies on a table in a quiet corner of our dining room for family members to use during the day.  Just before Lent began this year, my husband Mark asked if there were any candles we could light at dinner time as we do in Advent. I thought again of our meditation garden and decided to adapt it for meal time use. I found a smaller bowl to hold the sand, and bought some purple tea light candles to use in the garden. I kept a small bowl of stones on the kitchen table with the garden but left the other supplies in the dinning room to be brought out as needed.

Each night at dinner we light a candle and pray together. I have been adapting the prayer ideas I created for individual use for our little group, and bringing in supplies as needed. Most often, we each choose a rock and pray for a special concern or a thanksgiving before adding it to the garden. Other times I have left a little verse of scripture in the garden and we have prayed with it before adding our rocks.

There are so many ways to pray with this garden before meals! I love using it this way. It has really set Lent apart for our family and it is helping us to pray together in new ways.

Two wonderful blogging friends of mine, Sheila at Explore and Express, and Storyteller at Wonderful in an Easter kind of Way are collecting links with ideas for preparing for Easter. I am listing this post in their Lenten Link-Up Party. Click here to see all of the great posts they have collected!  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Resources for Lent

Lent is underway! Has the more quiet, contemplative feeling of the season taken hold in your life and family yet? Here are a few resources to help you on your Lenten journey!
  • Follow Christ Church parishioners and our priest, the Rev. Peter Faass who are blogging daily reflections on the book "A Practical Christianity" by Jane Shaw at Peter's Musings
  • Take part in Lent Madness! Each day you can learn about two saints and vote for your favorite! This is a tournament-like single elimination bracket like March Madness and would be fun for youth as well as adults.
  • Check out these wonderful two minute videos by the Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist on Living a Rule of Life. They are posting a new video each day in Lent.
Bring the season of Lent to life for yourself and for your family!