for Epiphany 2016: Coloring the Psalms

After the busyness of the Christmas season, Epiphany comes as a breath of fresh air.  Winter continues, and we have a little time to breathe before Lent and Easter make our church lives busy again.  One of the increasingly popular ways to breathe, relax, meditate, and process is adult coloring books — intricately designed black-and-white images that invite the reader to engage and enjoy.  By combining the new imagery of meditative coloring with the traditional words of the psalmists, we create space to engage with the psalms of the lectionary time between Epiphany and Lent.

The following are hand-drawn images suitable for printing.  Each highlights a verse from the psalm for the day.  These meditative coloring images offer a chance to engage with the words of the psalmists and with lectionary texts we may not normally notice.

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for Transfiguration Sunday: Dazzling White (Paraments, Scripture, and Lights)

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Transfiguration Sunday leads us from the celebration of Epiphany into the solemnity of Lent.  We read the story of Jesus on the mountaintop with Peter and James and John, and the sudden dazzling white of his clothes.  We experience the full glory of Christ, standing alongside powerful representatives of the Law and the Prophets, acknowledged to be the beloved son by God’s own voice.

The disciples present with Jesus are overwhelmed by the sights and sounds on the mountain.  We can invite our congregations to experience their amazement by accompanying the scripture readings with actions that are visually engaging.  We can draw attention to the coming change in liturgical seasons by bringing focus to the paraments and worship elements.

This idea uses white altar cloths and paraments and sets them during worship, at key points in the lectionary readings highlighting specific parts of the texts and drawing attention to the way the paraments visually craft the worship space.  Paraments are set out during the reading of scripture.  Alternatively, the lights are dimmed during the gospel and slowly raised again.

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for Epiphany 2015: Gifts of God

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After the busyness of the Christmas season, Epiphany comes as a breath of fresh air.  Winter continues, and we have a little time to breathe before Lent and Easter make our church lives busy again.  In the midst of our rest, we can reflect on gifts — not the gifts we sent and received for Christmas, but the gifts God offers each day.  The psalmists, in their songs of praise and lament, have given us a whole book of words for what God has done and continues to do.

The following are handwritten images suitable for use as bulletin covers — and designed to be colored!  Each highlights a verse from the psalm for the day, specifically one that names something God has given.  These bulletin covers offer a chance to engage with the gifts of God (via coloring, which is one of the best ways!) and with lectionary texts we may not normally notice.

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for Epiphany: The Sound of God Speaking

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Epiphany is the season of the church year when we are invited to dwell deeply in the texts that begin Jesus’ ministry.  An epiphany is a revelation — a gift of insight, a “Eureka!” moment, the experience of the burning bush.  Epiphany is the season when we remember the stories of God’s rude interruption into ordinary lives:  Samuel, Jonah, Elijah and Elisha, the disciples … and our own.

Adding new sounds to worship is one way to re-create that experience of surprise and interruption.  Here are a few ideas for ways to wake up ears during Epiphany…

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