Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Lent referred to as a journey.
Now keep your hand up if you are wanting something more.
If your hand is still up, you’ve come to the right place.
Literally. Because in 2022, Lent is all about place.
A Sense of Place
We typically talk about Lent being a journey. We write “God bless your Lenten journey!” in our newsletters, and we sing “Bless now, O God, the journey that all your people make.” And it’s true: there is movement in Lent. Jesus moves from the mountain on Transfiguration to the desert temptation, then into Jerusalem and onto the cross and (spoiler?) up from the grave. We hope that our Lenten journey will mirror Jesus’ and help us conform our lives to Christ’s life, death, resurrection.
But what if Lent isn’t only about journey? What if Lent is also about stationary place? The scripture readings for Lent this year (Revised Common Lectionary Year C) present a unique, sustained focus on location and place. Hebrew Bible texts speak of the Promised Land. The psalmist names God as shelter. Jesus asks us to pray in our rooms. Paul writes about standing firm. Events occur in real, historical places.
Place is what captured the Barn Geese’s collective imagination this Lent.
The Places You’ll Go
Each preaching commentary focuses on the gospel text and what type of place you’ll find there. Some of the places are generic (a party). Others are deeply personal (your room) or very specific (the Negev desert wadi). Our commentaries help preachers not only to teach about these places, but also to translate what each place represents in the lives of our congregants. As always, we’ve developed our liturgical elements to match the preaching commentary’s weekly thematic focus.
The preaching commentaries also spotlight Hebrew Bible readings. They contextualize places important to the Israelite and Jewish people within the story of all God’s people and Jesus’ earthly ministry. This proper positioning helps fight the supersessionism and antisemitism that frequently rear their nasty heads during Lent. We also realize that preachers who have traveled to the Holy Land might have personal experience they’ll want to bring to these Hebrew Bible texts and locations. For this reason, we invited a rabbi to offer advice on preaching about the land where both religions emerged.
Lent 2022 might be your first full Lent back inside your congregation’s building in two years. This season (and this series) provides an opportunity to dive deeply into your community’s sense of place. “A Tiny Guide to Uncovering the Story of the Place You Are Planted” helps steer you into researching the history of the land upon which your church gathers, which in turn fosters group study and discussion.
We’ve further developed our Lenten series by providing sections focusing on those persistent Lenten fixtures: Midweek Worship, Daily Devotional, and Stations of the Cross.
In Midweek Worship, five vespers services invite your congregation into a justice-oriented Lent. They imagine a promised land at the arrival gate of an airport, providing a way to explore refugee resettlement, and take you under the stars with Abram and Sarai as a means of reflecting on air pollution and creation care. Each week offers an image, an outline for the service and music, multiple prayers, and a reflection to read aloud or to inspire your own.
The Daily Devotional offers a literal glimpse into the Holy Land, pairing original photographs with scripture verses drawn from Sunday’s texts. It includes brief reflections, mindful intentions, and short prayers.
The Stations of the Cross corresponds entirely to the locations within Christ’s Passion. Designed to function as a spatial installation that people move through at their own pace, our Stations follows in the footsteps of Peter, Pilate, and Jesus, bringing us—in our inner lives and prayerful devotion—to one place after another.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
We’ve titled this series You Are Here, both as an assurance for us and a proclamation that God is present. We hope that through dwelling in this Lenten pageant of places, you will come to recognize, Yes! I am here. And God, because of Jesus, is here too.
Of all the liturgical seasons, Lent is the one that best proclaims how no matter where you are–death included–God can find you. Any location–including wherever you are right now–can become a place for resurrection. For Christians, this belief is proclaimed most clearly through the cross. In our series logo, the map app’s ubiquitous, rounded-top diamond is on the place no one could ever believe God would end up, the place where Christ chooses death, the spot of Christ’s–and our–new life.
So welcome. You Are Here.
Announcing our new online store: the Market Stall!
Beginning with You Are Here, Barn Geese Worship has an actual honest-to-goodness store. Don’t worry–we’re still committed to making sure you have affordable access to high-quality stuff, and this move makes our work much more sustainable for the Geese. (Insert analogy about the golden eggs here.)
Want to peek at our work before you buy? We have a sample available to download for free.
“I am but a poor first-call pastor!”
We see you. We’ve been there too, buying supplemental worship supplies out of our own pockets because the churches we served felt they couldn’t stretch their budgets for series like this. For you, we have a separate pricing tier that offers the same materials at a steep discount. Take it! Use it. Leverage it to convince your church that stuff is worth budgeting for.
“I’m not paying out of pocket, but the church budget is tight.”
Accessibility and affordability are really important to us, and if our regular prices are out of reach for your church budget, we want to hear from you.
We trust you to know what you can swing, and just ask that you remember that we’re a small business that’s starting out. Do what you can to help us keep creating!