Not to cause anxiety, but the season of Lent begins in seven weeks. For those who are worship planners, how are you hoping to shape the church’s experience of Lent?
Sermon series are a valuable tool for creating continuity from one worship service to the next, shaping a story arc in the life of a community of faith, especially through liturgical seasons. Preachers can build themes for a sermon series around a single word, around the lectionary or set of scripture readings, around a song, and more.
For a few weeks here in the “Monday Muse,” I’ll outline a variety of sermon series ideas to prime the creative liturgical pump for Lent. For this first Lenten sermon series idea, try impacting worship with art!
The brooding paintings of Anneke Kaai are a wonderful medium for Lenten reflection. The Dutch painter’s work is featured in several books on themes from the Psalms to the Ten Commandments to words of faith. Projected on the wall or screen of a sanctuary during sermons, Kaai’s paintings provide visual inspiration for reflection as well as focus for one’s Lenten sermons.
My favorite collection of Kaai’s work and my recommendation to you for Lent: In a Word: The Image and Language of Faith (Paraclete Press 2004). In this book co-authored with Eugene Peterson, the Dutch painter contemplates the deep complexity of such words as grace, reconciliation, power, amen, and many more. With each page, Anneke Kaai’s paintings hint of the cross and hint at the Light. Together their work is rich for the Lenten season!
Use In a Word to inspire a sermon series, to move your congregation through its Lenten journey, and to hearten your own spirit in Lent this year.