2019 Midweek Lenten sermon series March 13, 2019 Lenten Chrismons
Slide #1- Welcome to our midweek Lenten worship: This sermon series is going to be a natural follow up to a well-received Lenten sermon series I did two years ago called “Silent Sermons” where we took a moment and focused on what messages the artwork of our church’s stain glass windows proclaims. It will also tie in the past Advent’s sermon series on the art work we’ve inherited for our Christmas tree, the Chrismons.
This silent sermon series has to do with the Lenten art work we put out every year that adorns our window sills. These little shields are called Lenten Chrismons and they are symbols of Christ (hence the word “Chrismons”: Christ monograms) but specifically symbols of Christ associated with Lent and Christ’s passion that led to his crucifixion.
Did you know that originally these symbols weren’t designed to adorn our sills but rather a Lenten evergreen tree? Yep take a look (Slide #2). Our women’s group [slide 3] (here pictured June Hendricks, Katy Smith, Audrey Schaefer) [slide #4] lovingly hand made these silent sermons, so we’d have silent sermons not just at Advent and Christmas time but Lent and Easter as well. Another interesting fact is that this was designed for the celebration of our 150th anniversary… look at the date 1991 (1841 to 1991). [slide #5]
Now the next thing in getting out these silent sermons that got my attention was what order do these go in? Did you know, its only been a passage of 25 years and I can honestly say that we, as in Kathy Chizmar with altar guild and myself, don’t know. There’s a list of order that is in the box (slide 6) that begins with the wheat and the grapes.
However, it doesn’t match with the list of order that is on the dedication ceremony. (slide #7) entitled “Life Everlasting” (slide #8). The dedication ceremony begins with the cup and the cross. (slide #9). After much struggle trying to line up the original order based on the original dedication, compared with the box’s printed order, comparing it to the note cards and their numbers which don’t even match the numbers on the corresponding Chrismons I’ve decided it’s a mystery!! A grand mystery and perhaps that is what the poem on the dedication encourages us to do (slide #10) ponder the mystery that is the passion of our Lord and of his cross.
For perhaps these silent sermons were put together to more than encourage our mind to comprehend these symbols or understand their meanings but instead let it inspire our hearts, intrigue our spirit rather than just inform our minds. “The New in the Old concealed, The Old in the New revealed, The New in the Old Contained, The Old in the New explained.” That’s more a mystery than a definition.
Like the original dedication its supposed to be more about worship as praise and inspiration than worship as preservation and explanation. (Slide #11). So for the next couple weeks on Wednesday evenings I invite you to take a moment to join us in wondering together about the mystery of these silent sermons, these Lenten Chrismons. (Slide #12). Since there are many more of these silent sermons than there are Lenten services, I’ll also be exploring their meanings during the adult forum in Sunday school. (Slide #13) so I invite you to join us for adult forum.
Finally, let me I invite you to find a moment on Sunday morning to pace the aisles near the windows and pause a moment to ponder the message these mysterious images convey to you regarding the love of God in Christ Jesus revealed through the lovely handiwork of saints that have gone one before us. (Slide #14). These lovingly hand made symbols that like Christ’s passion invite us to ponder the passion, the power, the intracies, the majesty and the mysteries of God’s love. Amen.