A Calm 2024 Lent and Holy Week Templates

Mar 21, 2024

My usual Lent is a 46-day challenge of overambitious reading of Scripture and devotionals, attempts at behavior changes, acts of kindness, giving up favorite things, and doodling on several calendars. I can never quite settle on a single path or discipline. My indecisive and multiple-choice Lent is overwhelming and a real setup for failure and discombobulation.

Lent this year, however, has been calm and easeful. Christine Valters Paintner’s 2024 book called A Different Kind of Fast: feeding our true hungers invited me into a different experience. Without writing a whole book review, here’s the gist of it. Each week Christine asks us to fast from an action or way of encountering the world that steers us away from God—behaviors I don’t normally fast from because they are just the way I live my life. Some even seem like virtues or skills. The weekly actions are Consuming, Multitasking and Inattention, Scarcity Anxiety, Speed and Rushing, Holding It Altogether, Planning and Deadlines, and Certainty. With her calm wisdom, Christine guides us through each week with a single Scripture passage and a simple, imaginative practice for each day. The gift for “fasting” from these things (or at least trying) has been serenity. Serenity does not mean sweet and superficial. The Scriptures and the daily practices present challenges and require honesty, but they feel like a welcome invitation rather than judgment. They steer me towards God. I hope I will continue to fast from some of these behaviors all year, especially the ones that make my life fractured and overly busy. I like the serenity I experience in this fasting time!

This is the ONLY calendar I am using this year. The words are from the Scripture passages, reflections, and practices in A Different Kind of Fast.

Template for The Days of Holy Week 

The circles on the Holy Week template are a framework for thoughts, prayers, and reflections. One idea is to place your griefs, sorrows, questions, queries, beliefs, unbeliefs, petitions, wails, wows, gratitudes, grudges, pains, pleasures, satisfactions, sufferings—anything that comes up for you—on the templates. Use words, doodles, strokes of the pen, dots, dashes, color….

I like to read the daily readings for Holy Week and choose a word or phrase to hold onto for the day. A previous post on lectio divina might be helpful. At the top of the post is an example for Monday, March 25 of capturing a phrase from one of the daily Scripture readings. Click here for a link to the 2024 Holy Week lectionary readings. Click on the title below the image to download the .pdf of the template.

Holy Week Circles 2024

Template for the Stations of the Cross 

When people as early as the 4th century began to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land from Europe and Asia, they wanted to walk the route Jesus took from the place of his death sentence by Pilate to the place of his crucifixion and burial. This walk became known as the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows. At each stop along the way, pilgrims sang hymns, read Scripture, and said prayers.

Stations of the Cross are a way people can experience this journey of tears without traveling to Jerusalem. Many churches have paintings or sculptures of these events or stations on their walls. Over the centuries the number of stations depicting Jesus’s journey to the cross and death has changed.. Fourteen is the common number for many churches now. Each station offers an opportunity to enter into the story, to contemplate, and to pray. Holy Week and especially Good Friday are typical times for praying the Stations of the Cross.

If you are unfamiliar with this practice, you can explore websites with the history of Stations of the Cross. There are hundreds of examples of Stations of the Cross liturgies with prayers and readings. Click here for a YouTube example of a Stations of the Cross liturgy.

Below is a template for you to make your own Stations of the Cross journey with Jesus on paper. Each of the fourteen cloud shapes has a sentence for the station and an empty space with a cross. As you imagine yourself in Jerusalem on this sorrowful walk to the cross, add your own images, doodles, or words. Read. Sing. Think. Pray. Be there.

The Stations of the Cross are a chance for me to enter into the drama of Jesus’s last hours on earth. I imagine I am walking with and maybe even supporting Jesus—rather than just always begging Jesus to support me. As Christians we are called to accompany others on the journey. Perhaps the Stations of the Cross are good practice for the call to walk with others. Click on the title below the image to download the template.

Stations of the Cross


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