We just finished putting up our nature table to begin our Lenten journey in 2012. While there are some familiar elements from last year, we've added a few new things as well. These symbols of our faith are powerful reminders that we are on a special journey with God during Lent. We set aside more time to draw closer in relationship with our Creator, to allow him to change us, and allow him to prompt change in the world through us.
Below is our Christ Candle surrounded by the things we are finding in our park as of late. I love having the Christ Candle in our kitchen where so much real life takes place. We eat, talk, do homework, art and have breakdowns in that room. The Christ Candle is a gentle reminder that God is always there with me, no matter what our day may turn into. The leaves are from an evergreen bush much like holly and the berries are signs of life that show the winter is thawing. The red berries are called "Hagebutte" in German and they are often used to make tea. The white berries we call "Knallbeeren"("crack" berries), because they make a fun sound when you step on them.: ) And the dark berries we call "Vogelbeeren" (bird berries), because the birds love to eat them.
Four figures in the desert, one for each member of our family. This year, I let each person pick out their own figures. You can probably guess which ones are my son and daughter. A bowl of water reminds of God's power to cleanse and renew. It also reminds us of our baptism. And since our children have not yet been baptized, it reminds us to talk with them about what it is all about.
The puzzle pieces are from the Godly Play story, The Mystery of Easter. This is a brilliant story that helps children (and adults!) understand why we need six weeks of preparation to celebrate with God at Easter. In it, the storyteller and children put together a puzzle that is a cross. Since I couldn't fit my wooden cross puzzle on the window sill, I had the idea from So Many Joys to make one out of felt.
The puzzle pieces become this . . .
and then this . . .
The two colors represent both the deep sadness of the Crucifixion and pure joy of the Resurrection that we experience at Easter.
I couldn't resist picking up a yellow crocus to put on the table. These beautiful flowers are the heralds announcing that we are in a transition and that change is about to come. Also, our jar with the pictures of the children we sponsor through World Vision. (More about that in an upcoming post!)
And on the kitchen table, we have a single pillar candle and a prayer pot that the children made last year. Over the next six weeks, we will put objects in it that go with specific prayers that will lead us up to Easter.