Monday, April 15, 2019

Wrting Prompts for Holy Week

I sent this prompt to my Lenten Journaling Group, and I thought it was worth sharing more widely.

As I think of the week past and the week to come, two prompts come to mind. Feel free to use them as you like and/or as the Spirit moves you:

Writing Prompt 1:

We've had a great week of justice action in our church and larger community in South Florida. Last week I scribbled on a bulletin, and yesterday morning, I started to think about a poem. These ideas spurred my creativity:

We have built our house of justice in hurricane country.

We have made a home in the swamp of despair

In this abandoned waste dump, we have claimed a homestead.

If we then create some fill in the blanks, maybe we get some different options:

We have built ________ in hurricane country.

We have built our house of justice in ________.

We have made ______ in the swamp of despair.

In this _______, we have claimed a homestead.

In this abandoned waste dump, we have claimed __________.

If you want to tie your journaling back to Bible reading, return to the Psalms and notice how the Psalmist often uses similar language for striking effect--different metaphors, to be sure, but similar effect. Think of Psalm 137, with it's image of weeping by the rivers of Babylon and hanging harps in the poplars. I am guessing that the writer of that Psalm didn't really go to the river to weep and hang a harp in the tree--it's an image of deep sadness and abandonment, and it works beautifully.

The not-often-read book of Lamentations too. And many of the prophets. And Jesus himself was known for speaking/teaching in odd parables. It's a way to jolt our brains out of complacency.

Writing Option #2

Sunday was Palm Sunday and/or Passion Sunday--the beginning of Holy Week. We will be hearing stories that many of us have heard many times before. How can we hear them with fresh ears?

One year I was startled to realize how much I identified with Pontius Pilate as an administrator. That year, I saw the Good Friday story in a different light. One year I read Mary Oliver's "The Poet Thinks about the Donkey" (you can read it here: I hadn't thought much about the donkey that carries Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and my perspective shifted.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking. Tell the story from the perspective of:

--the person who cleans up after the last supper

--the towels used by Jesus to wash the feet of the disciples

--the cross itself

--an indifferent observer on Palm Sunday

--the sibling of Jesus who had always seen this day (Good Friday? Palm Sunday?) coming

--the disciple we don't usually hear about

--the rooster that crows three times

Here's hoping for a creative week-end, in all the ways our creativity can manifest itself!

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