Friday, February 10, 2012

Interactive Lenten Centerpiece

Christ Carrying the Cross, El Greco

On Ash Wednesday, we will begin to build our Lenten centerpiece.  Throughout Lent, we will change and add to this centerpiece.  As we add different items to our display, we will discuss and study our Lord's temptation in the Wilderness and His final willingness to die for us. We will be reminded of our own sinfulness and need for repentanceWe will be reminded, too, of all that Jesus suffered for us and of the depth of His love for us. With each addition or change to the centerpiece, I plan to lead the children in a few short and simple meditations that highlight the theme for the week, which I will post here beginning the Sunday before Ash Wednesday (to give you a few days to look it over). I hope this centerpiece activity will help our family to more fully understand and participate in the holy season of Lent. I have tried to use items that are either very low cost or free, so that anyone will be able to use this idea in their own home without much expense.  I hope that you will be drawn closer to Jesus if you decide to do an interactive Lenten centerpiece, too.

Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness, James Tissot

 To help you see the "big picture" and collect needed items, here is an overview of what we will place on the table and the themes we will highlight each week of Lent: 

Week 1:  (Ash Wednesday to the Saturday after Ash Wednesday)
Black tray with ashes or dirt
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the Fall and its consequences

Week 2:  Sand
Jesus in the desert

Week 3:  Rocks-one large, several small
Martyrs, self-denial vs. temptation to indulgence

Week 4:  Scourge (made of strips of leather or brown paper)
The Scourging, with His stripes we were healed, humility vs. temptation to demonstrate power

Week 5:  Crown of thorns (made from thorny branches)
Bringing forth thorns, the curse of thorns, holiness vs. temptation to idolatry

Week 6:  Nails 
The Crucifixion

During Holy Week, we have a separate centerpiece activity which focuses on the events of Holy Week. 

On Sundays we will change the centerpiece, then throughout the week we will have a few short meditations on the theme the centerpiece displays.  I have only written three meditations for each week, because I know that even though we all have high hopes of doing something like this every day, realistically we usually only get to it a few times during the week.  In some of the meditations, I have added Scripture and Baltimore Catechism references which you can use to extend the theme.  These references could also be used as memory work or copy work during Lent.

As I complete each weekly post, I will link to them below:

Lenten Centerpiece: Meditations Week One 
Lenten Centerpiece: Meditations Week Two 
Lenten Centerpiece: Meditations Week Three 
Lenten Centerpiece: Meditations Week Four 
Lenten Centerpiece: Meditations Week Five 
Lenten Centerpiece: Meditations Week Six 


  1. Caroline, I came here from 4 real and am so excited to see these wonderful meditations that you have compiled! I am getting an error for the week 3 link though. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Thank you for letting me know, Shannon! I fixed the link. If you have any other trouble, let me know. You can also find all the Lenten posts by clicking on the topic "Lent" over on the left hand side of the blog. I really need to start posting again, but life is so busy! Have a blessed and holy Lent.