In the parish that I serve, the Advent Spiral was a great success. Families of all ages reported to me that they really enjoyed the time they spent each day preparing for Jesus to come among us at Christmas. It made a lot of sense, then, to develop a similar resource for the Lenten season, and Journey Around the Cross was the result. What follows in this post is how to make your very own Journey Around the Cross; if you are a member of Tri-Saints, several of these crosses will be available at worship for you to take home. Each week during Lent, I will post a prayer of the week as you continue your journey. I pray that feeding your faith during Lent will be a priority for you; please let me know how I can give you even more food for the journey!
Black Craft Paint
1/2″ Sponge Spouncer
Purple Craft Paint
Black Paint Marker
Filled votive candle with holder
Purple Puffy Paint
Clear flat-sided Marble
1. Purchase or make a wooden cross. My husband made our crosses for us in his wood shop. They are 10.5″ by 8.5″, made out of 1/2″ one side sanded plywood. He routed the edges with 1/8″ rounding over bit. You can purchase inexpensive wooden crosses in bulk for this project here: http://www.unfinishedcrosses.com/store2browseproduct/37362/fleur-de-lis-cross-12×8?CID=1858
2. Stain the front and side of the cross. We used Minwax White Wash Pickling Stain, available at a home improvement store, because we had 3/4 of a can left over from another recent project, and because it would give a nice contrast to the purple spots. We used 2 coats plus touch-ups.
3. When the stain has completely cured, flip the cross over and paint the back black (we will use it this way on Good Friday). I used a gloss black craft paint and a bristle brush.
3. When the paint is dry, flip it back over to the stained side. Download and print out this marking template: Journey around the Cross Template
Cut it out and use a hole punch to punch out a circle at each dot. If you don’t use a hole punch, beware of hanging chads, as they can get in the way of marking!
4. Mark the places where you will be painting dots with a light pencil.
5. Using a 1/2″ sponge spouncer, paint the dots using purple craft paint. They don’t have to be perfect; experiment on a piece of copy paper until you find a technique that wroks best for you.
6. When the purple paint is dry, paint a cross on the purple circle on the top right hand side of the cross. This will remind you where to begin your journey each year, and the cross reminds us of the cross we receive on Ash Wednesday. I thought a lot about where to begin and end the journey; I decided that reminding us that Jesus descended from heaven into our humanity and was lifted up on the cross on Good Friday was an appropriate shape.
7. Using purple puffy paint, paint designs on the filled votive candle holder. I am allergic to most scents, and could only find white unscented votive candles, but you could certainly use purple candles, if desired. We will light this candle on each of the Sundays in Lent, as they are “little Easters” and do not count in the forty day journey.
7. Using a black paint marker, paint a cross on the backside of a flat-sided clear marble. I decided on the cross to remind us to carry the ash cross we receive on Ash Wednesday forward with us throughout Lent.
8. Assemble the cross, as shown. Print the accompanying instruction sheet for your reference: Journey Around the Cross Instructions 2016
God bless your cross-shaped Lenten journey!