Light in the Wilderness, a Lenten Rock Garden

Lent Garden 1

A few years ago, the good folks at Picture Lent suggested creating a wilderness rock garden as a visual reminder of the season. I loved the idea and continue to use it.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Sand
A tray
At least 40 rocks in a container
Tealight and holder
optional- additional symbols

ASSEMBLING THE ROCK GARDEN
Place a couple of inches of sand in the tray. I used a woven tray so I had to line it with parchment paper and place it on a solid tray.

Place the tealight in its holder on the sand. Add additional symbols if you like.

I use a mixture of rocks and shells from my travels in my garden. Use what’s meaningful to you.

Lent Garden 4 set up

USING THE ROCK GARDEN
Spend a few moments in quietness as you place a rock in the garden every day during Lent.

What does the rock mean to you?

  • Is it a burden you are releasing to God?
  • Are you marking your time with Jesus in the wilderness?
  • Is it a habit tracker for something you’ve given up for Lent or a holy habit you’ve added for Lent?
  • Something else?

On Sundays, light the candle instead of placing a rock in the garden. Every Sunday is a little Easter, even during Lent.

I’d love to hear your ideas for using the garden!

A Bible Reading Plan for Lent, based on the Gospel of Matthew

brown book page

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Lent is a season of preparation leading to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter. It’s forty days long, not counting Sundays since every Sunday is a little Easter.

Many people give up something for Lent. (dessert, alcohol, bread, smoking, candy, meat, cursing, gambling, etc.) They fast a certain food or habit in remembrance of Jesus’ forty-day fast at the beginning of his ministry. Some folks use this fast to jumpstart a permanent fast of an unhealthy habit.

Other folks choose to start a holy or wholesome habit for Lent. (prayer, charitable giving, service to others, stillness, sabbath, fasting, regular worship attendance, etc.)

If you aren’t already reading scripture on a regular basis, I encourage you to chose this holy habit for Lent with the hopes it will become a regular part of your life.

Below you’ll find a Bible Reading Plan for Lent based on the Gospel of Matthew. It contains 30 Lenten readings (5 per week for 6 weeks starting on the first Sunday of Lent) plus 10 Easter readings about Jesus’ post-resurrection encounters. (5 per week for 2 weeks). These readings fit nicely in a two-month grouping.

I hope the reading plan is helpful for you. I’d love to hear how you’re using it. – Lisa <><

PS- If you don’t own a Bible, or need a translation of the Bible which is easy to read, consider using Bible Gateway. This is a free website and app with many excellent translations. (I like NRSV and The Voice) Click Here for a video demonstrating the site.

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the reading plan suitable for printing. 

Use these prompts as you read each Scripture.
ATTENTION: Read or listen to the Scripture. What word, phrase or verse captures your attention? Underline it or copy it onto a piece of paper.

CONNECTION: What connections do you see to other scriptures? To your own experience or current situation? To the character or promises of God?

ACTION: What is God inviting you to say or do? How will your life be different because of this scripture?

PRAY: Talk to God about what you just experienced or anything else on your heart.

Week 1 of Lent: March 1 – March 7

  • Matthew 1
  • Matthew 2
  • Matthew 3
  • Matthew 4
  • Matthew 5

Week 2 of Lent: March 8 – March 14

  • Matthew 6
  • Matthew 7
  • Matthew 8
  • Matthew 9
  • Matthew 10

Week 3 of Lent: March 15 – March 21

  • Matthew 11
  • Matthew 12
  • Matthew 13
  • Matthew 14
  • Matthew 15

Week 4 of Lent: March 22 – March 28

  • Matthew 16
  • Matthew 17
  • Matthew 18
  • Matthew 19
  • Matthew 20

Week 5 of Lent: March 29 –  April 4

  • Matthew 21
  • Matthew 22
  • Matthew 23
  • Matthew 24
  • Matthew 25

Holy Week: April 5 – April 11

  • Matthew 26:1-35
  • Matthew 26:36-56
  • Matthew 26:57-75
  • Matthew 27:1-31
  • Matthew 27:32-66

Week 1 of Easter: April 12 – April 18

  • John 20:1-18
  • John 20:19-31
  • John 21:1-14
  • John 21:15-25
  • Mark 16

Week 2 of Easter: April 19 – April 25

  • Luke 24:1-12
  • Luke 24:13-35
  • Luke 24:36-53
  • Matthew 28:1-10
  • Matthew 28:11-20

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A Bible Reading Plan for Lent, based on the Gospel of Matthew
© 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work with proper attribution. (by Lisa Degrenia http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Ash Wednesday Worship Resources and Sermon Starters

ash wedensday with palms

Repent and Return
This confession was inspired by a passage from Pauses for Lent by Trevor Hudson and the traditional Ash Wednesday reading from Joel 2.

A Wilderness Prayer, a prayer of confession inspired by Deuteronomy 8

Modern Ash Wednesday Service
A simple, fresh combination of modern visuals, ancient scripture, the imposition of ashes, and the haunting song O So So.

Blended Ash Wednesday Service
Classic scriptures, hymns, and the imposition of ashes come alongside music by Chris Tomlin and Gungor.

Ash Wednesday: The Terrible, Marvelous Dust
Jan Richardson offers a beautiful and grace-filled perspective on God at work in us and our world. The post includes an original work of art and blessing.

Dust and Ashes
Steve Garnaas-Holmes offers reflection and prayer on the many meanings of the imposition of ashes.

Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective
A reflection based on a parable by the well respected and beloved Polish Rabbi Simcha Bunim. “Every person should have two pockets. In one, there should be a note that says ‘for my sake was the world created.’ In the second, there should be a note that says, ‘I am dust and ashes.’”

Lenten Art: Reflecting Dust
A multimedia piece to inspire the creation of your own works of art for the season of Lent

Ash Wednesday Worship Resources and Sermon Starters

ash wedensday with palms

Repent and Return
This confession was inspired by a passage from Pauses for Lent by Trevor Hudson and the traditional Ash Wednesday reading from Joel 2.

Modern Ash Wednesday Service
A simple, fresh combination of modern visuals, ancient scripture, the imposition of ashes, and the haunting song O So So.

Blended Ash Wednesday Service
Classic scriptures, hymns, and the imposition of ashes come alongside music by Chris Tomlin and Gungor.

Ash Wednesday: The Terrible, Marvelous Dust
Jan Richardson offers a beautiful and grace-filled perspective on God at work in us and our world. The post includes an original work of art and blessing.

Dust and Ashes
Steve Garnaas-Holmes offers reflection and prayer on the many meanings of the imposition of ashes.

Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective
A reflection based on a parable by the well respected and beloved Polish Rabbi Simcha Bunim. “Every person should have two pockets. In one, there should be a note that says ‘for my sake was the world created.’ In the second, there should be a note that says, ‘I am dust and ashes.’”

Lenten Art: Reflecting Dust
A multimedia piece to inspire the creation of your own works of art for the season of Lent

Ash Wednesday Prayer Experience
A set of four interactive prayer stations designed for use on Ash Wednesday. They could, of course, be used anytime when the themes for self-reflection and prayer include our mortality, our sorrow for our sin, and re-commitment to living in alignment with God’s holy will.
Prayer Station 1
Prayer Station 2
Prayer Station 3
Prayer Station 4

Poem: We Need to Linger

holy week primitive cartoon adapted
Before we get to Easter, we need to linger:
in the vulnerability of the basin and the towel
at the remembrance and promise of the table
in the struggle and betrayal of the garden
in the shadows and shouts of injustice
at the bloody brutal beautiful cross
in the silence of linen and spices and death

For without these, the empty tomb is empty

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Poem: We Need to Linger © 2000 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.