The Lenten season can be thought about as us accompanying Jesus on his journey to the cross, or as a pilgrimage of preparation for celebrating Easter. Making a physical pathway for Lent can help make a visual focus for this idea.
The idea is to move along the pathway, Sunday by Sunday, denoting the passing of time and also getting physically closer to the cross or to another image you choose as the “destination” for your pathway. It might be along a wall, or you might like to use a length of purple fabric to make the pathway (the liturgical colour for Lent is purple, denoting both suffering and kingship).
Here are three different ways you can create your pathways.
If your pathway is along a floor or flat surface, consider using 40 LED tealights to mark the path. Each Sunday you can switch off the right number for the days of Lent that have passed. The path therefore gets darker as the time progresses, but on Easter, in the light of the resurrection, all the tealights get turned back on again!
Using feet cut from the outlines of parishioners’ feet is a fun way to create your path. Depending on the size of your congregation, you might choose some representatives (the smallest and largest feet, someone who is new, someone who has attended worship for a long time) or you might have lots of feet (including all your children and young people). Each week take a step forward on the Lenten path, and move everyone’s feet. When you get to Easter you might like to turn the feet around to carry the good news of resurrection into the community, like the first disciples at the tomb going to tell others. If you use the symbols for the whole 50 days of Easter, you might like to send the feet right out of your church doors into the world at Pentecost.
You can mark the passing of the Lenten season by adding a symbol each week which relates to the Gospel reading of the day, or the theme of your worship.
Once you get to Easter it can be good to invite the young people to turn the Lenten pathway into something more ‘Easter-ly’ – for example, they could lay white or gold fabric over the purple, adding red ribbons later for Pentecost. Otherwise you can simply fold up and put away the colour of preparation or suffering. Doing this with the young people helps them to make sense of the transition in the liturgical seasons and engages them with the other changes in the physical environment at church: the flowers, vestments and other places that liturgical colours are used. If the pathway is simply “gone” it is harder for them to make the connection between Lent and Easter.
For more integenerational Lent resources, see ‘Creative Ideas for Lent & Easter’, created by Rev. Jemma Allen for the Auckland Diocese.