Lent & Easter 2012
theme for this year’s Lenten season is taken from the book Creating a Rule
of Life by Stephen A. Macchia. This book is based on The Rule of St.
Benedict. Different versions of Romans 12:1-2 will also be used as a
foundation for creating the symbolic displays of Lent. “So here’s what I
want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your
sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before
God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do
for him. Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it
without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed
from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly
respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its
level of immaturity, God bring the best out of you, develops well-formed
maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2, The Message
“Rule” was a “way of life” for the monks, a daily order of prayer and
work by which they lived their lives as an offering before God. This is the same
“way of life” that Paul was talking about in Romans 12:1-2 when he said
“Take your ordinary everyday life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and
walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God
does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”
I have chosen a hand made ceramic round bowl 21” across and 2.5” high for the base. This ceramic container will represent the “Rule” or a “way of life”. I chose this because of the care and time it took to hand craft it out of clay similar to how St. Benedict might have written the Rule and Paul’s letter to the Romans. It also has weight and will serve as a good foundation for the floral displays throughout the Lenten Season. The openness of the base represents the flexibility or freedom to be able to create a design with the foundation and not restricting the design concepts. The design can grow from within the base while having a feeling of security and support of the container. We want to remember that the focus is on the bowl or our way of life and not the floral display.
The First Sunday of Lent
February 26: it might be easier to visually understand that the bowl represents a “way of life”. It is a physical object that has weight, a function, and a purpose for a variety of possible uses. It is low and open not restricting what can be placed within, but also allowing movement outside its borders. The bowl placed on the table has a static feeling and represents our ordinary everyday lives. The contorted Japanese willow represents our thoughts, actions, struggles, and life’s challenges, the everyday living that we are focused on. The two lilies represent humanity and divinity. Humanity represents our way of life and the divinity represents God’s presence in our lives and being placed low in the display represents Christ with us in the midst of our lives.
The Second Sunday of Lent
March 4: elevating the bowl with branches has eliminated the static feeling of the bowl and helps us focus our attention on our way of life. The branches are only a means by which the bowl can be elevated. Curving willow branches, bear grass and the curving flower stems also help express the energy within our way of life, that which we do.
The Third Sunday of Lent
March 11: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within…” Romans 12:1-2 JB Phillips. Still elevated, the bowl has been placed on an angle breaking away from how it is traditionally placed and viewed, letting God re-mold our way of life. It now has dynamic energy and life although it has not physically changed. The non-traditional placement of flowers within the bowl moves the display to another level of inspiration as God re-molds us from within.
The Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 18: “But let yourselves be transformed by the renewal of your intellect…” Romans 12:1-2 H.D.Betz. The bowl has now been placed in a vertical position where one can view its full stature and the beauty within. It has been transformed from a static ordinary vessel to one of splendor and interest. This represents our change from within as God has transformed our way of life.
The Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 25: The bowl is now placed on an angle representing our trust in God as our lives are transformed.
The Sixth Sunday of Lent - Palm or Passion Sunday
The bowl is still placed on an angle with thorn apple branches surrounding the bowl but not touching it. This represents Christ love for us as he gave his life that we might have life.
This Easter display can take on different symbolic interpretations. If we follow the theme of the "Rule" or "Way of Life" that started the Lenten season the bowl suspended upside down represents our faith in Christ. Vines surround the bowl representing the struggles and trials that we face each day. Because of the resurrection the floral design flows over the bowl and through it representing Christ's presence with us in good times as well in hard times.
Continuing with the Easter theme the lower portion of the design could represent the tomb. The upper portion would then represent the resurrection. The single candle represents the light of Christ.
Another symbolic representation would be to consider the twig frame as representing God. Looking back you can see how God has been foundation and has influenced each display.
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