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The beginning of our Lent at Westfield has been a little crazy. Transfiguration Sunday (Feb. 10) found our stately church nearly 3′ deep in snow and it’s pastor (me) nine states away in Georgia–stuck. We canceled service that day and I finally made it back Tuesday evening just in time to lead Ash Wednesday service the next day.

We were all set to go for this past Sunday (Feb. 17) when it snowed from late Saturday night into the early daylight hours of Sunday.  Normally, nothing to be concerned about; These hardy New Englanders know how to deal with snow. In fact, I chatted with my Moderator (the lay leader of our congregation) around 7:15 and we were all set to go. But then I got a call from a church member who works at the city garage. The town had just instituted a town-wide parking ban.  This, dear reader, is a problem for our church which relies primarily on street parking. Parking bans (for you of the Southern persuasion) generally occur during snow storms and allow the plows to do their thing to clear out the streets. But to do that, you can’t have cars in the way along the sides of streets. Hence, the parking ban (which carries with it threats of fines and towing). So, we ended up canceling for a second week in a row–which has thrown me for a slight loop in my worship/altar plans.  More on some of the cool things we’re doing later (and there is one REALLY cool thing that’ll show up in the next day or two here).

The Gospel lection for this week comes from Luke.  The bolded verse is the theme of this altar.

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Here’s what you need to start:

-a large frame (this is from the mirror)
-our rock tiling
-shards of mirror (see link above)
-purple fabric


Tile the altar with the rock tile–the same we used last week.


Add the frame. I leaned this one against our HUGE pulpit. (I promise it stands without the floating arm.)


Add the fabric to the back of the frame. I’ve used purple for Lent, but you could use any color. This provides a backdrop for your altarscape without overpowering it.


Use large binder clips to attach the fabric.


And here’s what you get.


Since the line “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it” is our theme,
it only makes sense to add some rocks!


When you add the rocks, don’t be afraid to use other objects to add height, like the blocks of wood below.


Here’s what we’ve got so far:


Next, our shards of mirror that harken back to our Ash Wednesday altarscape. For me, it’s our brokenness that brings us to throw the stones of distrust and disdain. Having the shards in the rocks also keeps them safe from exploring fingers (I’m lookin’ at you, children’s moment!)



Here’s the final altar:


What would you add?

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