Each of us is created a precious and holy vessel of embodied love. We have been through a harrowing time since last Lent that has shattered our sense of wholeness–body, mind, and spirit–like a glass vessel fractured into pieces. In this Lenten “season of recovery” for our physical, communal, mental, intellectual, and environmental health, we will explore the healing narratives of Jesus that tell of divine solidarity with human suffering and remind us that we can begin a journey toward making something beautiful from that which is seemingly broken. Beach glass offers us a multifaceted symbol of this transformative process.
This worship series is being developed for churches whether they are producing online, pre-recorded, live video conference, or adapted in-person worship.
Scriptures and Synopses for Each Week
Ash Wednesday: Shattered
Ash Wednesday is a time of naming brokenness. As we enter the season of Lent, we commit to enter also into a season of healing and recovery that requires the naming of what has been shattered as a first step. We take “the yoke” of responsibility as disciples of Jesus to be the Body of Christ–a body of those who need healing and offer healing in the world. The promise of Jesus is that he is with us in our weariness and burdens.
Lent 1: Treasure (Physical Health)
Beach glass begins as something whole and yet discarded. As it is tumbled by the sea, it is broken and polished until it becomes a treasured “mineral gem.” We do not embrace that suffering is necessary or God-given, but that suffering is a part of life. When pain comes and brokenness enters our lives, Jesus reaches out to touch and remind us of the Treasure that we all are–worthy of new life in the midst of hopelessness. In a year when pandemic has wreaked havoc on our world, we begin by affirming our journey to physical health.
Lent 2: Safe Keeping (Community/Economic Health)
God gathers us as a Beachcomber gathers and marvels at every precious surviving piece of beach glass she finds. We are never alone, we are never lost to the One who seeks humanity’s wholeness. We affirm our commitment to be the Body of Christ that knows we cannot be personally healed until we see the interconnected community as part of the process of healing. Jesus has the power to re-vision the family of God in which false boundaries are overcome. In a year of devastating loss of livelihood, we consider the economic health that reimagines status quo.
Lent 3: Stories (Mental Health)
Those who collect beach glass often become “archeologists”–seeking out any markings or clues as to the story of the original piece. It often takes much time to bring out the truth behind it. This week we acknowledge the power of truth-telling as a healing property. There are stories that have shaped our lives, leaving us without the ability to see who we truly are in the eyes of God and leaving us without the ability to speak the depth of our stories of struggle. We focus on the importance of recovery of mental health, reclaiming our sense of who we are and being able to proclaim new redemptive stories of divine worth.
Lent 4: Different Pictures (Intellectual Health)
Prolonged times of difficulty can impede our ability to stay creative. The picture of our lives is dulled and hope for a brighter future can fade. We need a touch of inspiration to awaken us from our sleep, as we hear in one of this week’s healing stories. We also awaken to our agency to seek out the Divine Healer, reaching out to touch the power we know can restore our intellect and imagination. We emerge ready to re-engage with the world, seeking and seeing solutions, creating different pictures of life renewed just as a mosaic artist creates beauty from broken pieces of glass.
Lent 5: Restoration (Environmental Health)
The demands of following Jesus are great. He shows us that sometimes we must make extraordinary efforts to move in a new direction. As we consider the health of humanity, we cannot ignore the need to heal the very planet that sustains us. We live in increasing chaos of a beleaguered environment and the hoarding of resources. We want to be “saved” by something or someone else, but we discover this week that we are in the boat with the One who shows us our power to turn it around, to calm the storm. We protect the jewel that is our home, making something beautiful from scars of the past.
Lent 6 (Palm/Passion): Holy, Wholly (Integrated Health)
We have seen that the stories of Jesus’ healing ministry are filled words and deeds. Our ability to forgive ourselves and others is the foundation that can transform infirmities and allow us to move on. We integrate our beliefs and actions for the health of the whole. The parade of compassionate power we celebrate today is underscored by a story of transformation, symbolizing our ability to fuel our movement of recovery. We glorify God for beautiful words and works of wholeness and share that treasured beauty with others. We know there will still be pain, but we also know love will win.
Matthew 9: 1-8 [also Palm/Passion narratives as desired]
Holy Week: Healed and Still Healing (Commission of Christ)
This culminating moment of our worship series invites us to consider a commission from Christ to his disciples: to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. These are the very things his disciples have seen him do and that we have sought to witness for our own lives in this Lenten season of recovery. What will we do with this commission? What passion has been piqued in our church that we can offer to our community beyond this moment as we continue to participate in the revival of the spirit of humanity? How will we address ongoing pain, ourselves “healed and yet still healing?”
Note: Easter resurrection is the ultimate story of healing. In following the liturgical year, Easter Sunday can be considered the end of the Lent cycle or the beginning of the Easter Season. So you may choose to combine your Easter worship traditions with this series or the next. Consider creating a mosaic cross out of the broken glass to unveil on Holy Week and/or Easter Sunday.
Materials Included in the Series
Here's what you'll receive when you purchase the "Holy Vessels" series:
Watch the Get-Ready Webinar!
Wondering if this series is right for your community and want to "see" what's in it?
Watch the recording of our get-ready webinar! Join Dr. Marcia McFee and Guest Experts Chuck Bell and Mark Burrows for a walk-through of the theme of the series and all the materials that are included, all to help you get ready for a season of recovery and restoration during Lent.
Anchor Image: Sea Glass
Our anchor image for this series is sea glass (also known as beach glass). Actual authentic sea glass is hard to find so you'll probably be playing with recycled tumbled glass (which is awesome because it is recycled and it looks so much like sea glass). Every week there will be an opportunity to do something symbolic with this glass in worship but you can also imagine how the crafters in your congregation could do other things with it. This series comes with lots of ideas for engaging visually with the central theme!
Thank you for your support that helps sustain this ministry.
If your church is suffering financially and would not be able to afford these materials, please feel free to contact us about a discount: [email protected]