The arts can help us connect in a deep and immediate way with the celebrations and elements of the Christian faith. Artful expressions of these things can bring them to life and personalize them for us.
For many Evangelical Protestants, the season of Lent hasn’t been as celebrated as in other faith traditions. But there seems to be a renewed interest in understanding and recognizing this time of the Christian year that includes Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. If your congregation is considering celebrating elements of the Lenten season before its culmination at Easter, here are a few resources to enhance the experience artistically.
Lenten Devotionals Using the Arts (With a little imagination many of these illustrations and meditations can be adapted for congregation use.)
Byron Borger, owner of the wonderful Hearts and Minds bookstore, offers an extensive list of books to help understand, engage with, and enjoy Lent (here), including The Art of Lent: A painting a day from Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett.
University of Notre Dame offers daily Lenten devotionals with paintings, music, and meditations from students on their FaithND website. Again, these will not only enrich the daily experience of the season, but can spark some ideas for congregational interactions.
The Presbyterian Mission provides some devotional materials here.
Passion Art, based in the UK offers a thoughtful and challenging Lenten devotional guide with their BE STILL Project. (Click on the BE STILL dropdown at the top of the page.)
Artway.eu features dozens of paintings that depict scenes of Lent. Thoughtful meditations on each painting are included.
Lenten Art Projects for Congregations
Love Covers Sin is an Ash Wednesday arts project that is simple to execute.
The Good Friday Crosses is a powerful live art project that has touched many.
The Stained Project from Duluth Vineyard becomes a powerful gallery installation.
See five Lenten art projects from Passion Art UK by clicking on the “Projects” dropdown at the top of their web page.
Here is one church’s explanation of symbols they used in Lenten services.
The Stations of the Cross–which depict Jesus’ journey during Holy Week–provide a great opportunity to bring theology to life with art during Lent. (See Rick Warren talk about the significance of Saddleback’s “Journey with Jesus” art project and take a 360 video tour HERE.) Your church can develop your own Station’s project, or do a temporary installation of artist Scott Erickson’s wonderful modern versions of the Stations of the Cross icons–“Stations in the Street”–available HERE. These will spark Lenten conversations in any church.
Contribute your creative church arts ideas and projects HERE.
CreativeChurchArtsIdeas.org is the official blog of New Renaissance Arts Movement, a non-profit organization through ACT Intl.
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