|The Journey of Lent
There are many ways for a congregation to mark the journey of Lent. One of the most effective ways that can be expanded in many variations is to use a rough wooden cross as a focal point for the season. The type of cross and how it is constructed will depend on exactly how it will be used.
The cross is usually erected in the Sanctuary on Ash Wednesday as a visible symbol of the beginning of Lent. It is usually draped in black on Good Friday. The same cross can also become a part of the congregation's Easter celebration as it is then draped in white or gold, or covered with flowers.
One effective way to make use of the cross is to use it as a Prayer Cross during Lent. A hammer, square nails, and small pieces of paper are made available near the cross. At a designated time of prayer during the Sundays in Lent, people are invited to write their prayer requests on the paper, and then nail them to the cross.
The quiet time of prayer with only the sounds of the hammer striking the nails can be a moving time for reflection on the meaning of Lent, and a powerful call to prayer. The prayer requests can be removed and burned as part of a Tenebrae or Stations of the Cross service during Holy Week to symbolize releasing the needs to God.