For Lenten Wednesdays this year, the confirmation students and I came up with prayer stations that corresponded with the stories in the Moses cycle of stories from Exodus and Joshua. They were a very meaningful part of our parish’s journey through Lent, and I am excited to share them with you! One challenge that we face in our parish is that we have a lot of people who are not very mobile, so there cannot be a lot of physical activity involved. We did them in the context of Lenten midweek Evening Prayer, so they were a part of each service. Below, you will find the prayer, hymn, scripture, and explanation that goes with the prayer station.
In this first prayer station, the focus image in the front of the church looked like this:
Prayer of the Day (adapted from a prayer from Evening Prayer in Evangelical Lutheran Worship): O God, tonight we will hear the story of the calling of Moses in a burning bush. You have also called us, your servants, to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn of the Day: God of Tempest, God of Whirlwind (#400 Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
Scripture Text: Exodus 3:1-12 (NRSV)
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”5 Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10 So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
Burning Bush Prayer Experience (print in bulletin and read aloud)
In the front of the church tonight, our focus element is a “burning bush.” One of the main points that the confirmation students noticed when studying this passage was Moses’ dramatic sense of call through the burning bush. We are all called into God’s service through baptism. During our prayer experience tonight, the confirmation students will distribute candles which will then be lit from the burning bush to remind us of this call. Once your candle is lit, spend some time in prayer asking for clarity in the sense of what God is calling you to do or to be in your life. We will turn off the lights of the sanctuary to allow us all to better focus on this time of prayer. When our time of prayer concludes, please extinguish your candle. You may give them to the ushers on your way out of the sanctuary.
How to do it: The burning bush was an oval red metal container filled with sand. I chose several different sizes of taper and pillar candles so that there was lots of different kinds of fire. We used the individual taper candles that we usually light during “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve for this prayer experience. It was beautiful and hushed, with everyone focusing on the flame of their candle for several moments.