Into the Woods: A Journey into Lent

This is a 5-part series intersecting care for the environment with the season of Lent. While there aren’t in-depth worship ideas in this particular post, I did want to show how worship can also weave in a fundraiser with opportunities to fellowship. This is how we took advantage of what our city has to offer. Hopefully, you can adapt what we did to what your city has to offer.

We did a fundraiser to Save the Redwoods that works to protect and replenish Redwood Trees in California. Since our sanctuary is made out of redwood trees, we made a goal to raise enough money to replenish the 100 redwood trees it took to build the church.

I created leaf mobiles to flank the pillars to look like redwood trees. Because of the scale of the sanctuary, the leaf mobiles were 5 ft long.

Materials:

  • 8 1/2 x 11 Cardstock paper of different colors – I cut them out into leaves
  • Scotch tape – to tape the leaves to the wire
  • 15 gauge aluminum craft wire – to tape the leaves to and wrap around the hanging wire
  • 1-inch key rings – I used these to attach each hanging wire to the other
  • 4-inch cable ties – I used these to attach the key rings to the hanging wire
  • 5 ft. long hanging wire – Hanging wire is light and flexible enough yet strong. I could only find it at Home Depot pro.

assembly

I found this website helpful as a tutorial in how to build a mobile. It gives you tips on how to start and how to balance the wires as you build on them. It’s a bit of trial and error and patience.

lent guide

We created a Lent Guide filled with reflections as well as opportunities to care for the earth.

First sunday of lent

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10 – Stump of Jesse

I shared a children’s book called Trees by Tony Johnston to kick off the series.

In my sermon, I focused mostly on the image of “a shoot shall grow out of the stump of Jesse.” I showed real life pictures of new shoots growing out of tree stumps. I used the children’s book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein since it ends with a stump. I also confessed that I don’t care much for the book and appreciated the alternate ending written by Topher Payne. My point was just like the stump was not the end for the people of Israel, we too can change the ending with God’s help.

During this week of worship, people were invite to participate in clean up day at the Butterfly Habitat at Golden Gate Park.

second sunday of lent

Scripture: Jeremiah 17:5-10 – roots

Since St. John’s is close to a Eucalyptus Forest, we had to have at least one outdoor worship service. We didn’t use any amplification or equipment. This was worship unplugged. Everything you could imagine went wrong. We planned it on Daylight Savings so everyone was late, including our music people. Wind was in the forecast, but luckily the trees acted as a windbreaker. However, God showed up and people truly enjoyed the service and wanted to do it again. People brought their blankets and chairs and even their dogs.

Inspired by the words of Jeremiah and Psalm 1, I shared information about the Pando Forest being one root system. As siblings in Christ, we also share in one root system nourished by the love of God.

I read the children’s book, The Last Tree in the City, by Peter Caravas. I wrapped a couple of trees with butcher paper for kids to draw on.

3rd Sunday of lent

Scripture: Luke 19:1-10 – Zacchaeus in a Tree

We focused on how sometimes climbing a tree can give you a new perspective that you couldn’t see from the ground like it did for Zacchaeus.

During this week, people were invited to help re-landscape the garden. I will post later what we exciting thing we did with this garden.

fourth sunday of lent

Scripture: Mark 13:24-37 – Parable of the Fig Tree

This week, we had a unique opportunity to hike a private redwood forest through Save the Redwoods. The forest was just acquired by them to protect.

fifth sunday of lent

Scripture: Micah 4:1-4 – Protection and Rest under the Fig Tree

Of course, we couldn’t have a series entitled, Into the Woods, without singing a song from the musical. Our choir sang “No One Is Alone.”

This week in Lent, people had an opportunity to casually gather at the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park and enjoy nature around them.

Before entering into Palm Sunday, we hosted one last volunteer day at Golden Gate Park, helping to clear debris and old plants.

For Palm Sunday, we finished out the theme of trees, which you can check out here.

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