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The Lenten Cross

by Catherine Fournier

This family activity is similar to the Jesse Tree used at Advent. The Jesse Tree follows both the family tree of Jesus and the history of the first Advent when God's people awaited the coming of the Messiah. The Lenten Cross simultaneously follows the Messianic prophecies through the Old Testament and matches each with its fulfillment in the Crucifixion narrative.

Like the Jesse Tree, your family Lenten Cross can be made of many materials. Some options are: a banner with Velcro dots for fastening, a wooden cross with small nails or hooks, or a laminated cardboard poster with reuseable sticky putty. Whatever your budget and ability can create will be welcomed as a new family tradition (don't worry if you're not an artist, children are wonderfully tolerant of Mom and Dad's 'production quality')

The Lenten Cross uses a cross for obvious reasons. Using proportions of 6 units by 2 units for the cross piece and 8 units by 2 units for the upright gives a well proportioned cross. Divide the cross into forty sections as shown in the diagram below. The small rectangle shows the size of the pictures to fasten on to the cross. The large center section can hold an image of the crucified Christ.

Ash Wednesday Even Now (Joel 2:12-13) Image: ashes - as in the sign we receive on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday
2nd Day of Lent (Thursday) Original sin (Genesis 3:1-20) Image: an apple, or a small plastic snake
3rd Day (Friday) Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-12) Image: two men, one standing with his fist raised
4th Day (Saturday) Noah's Ark (Genesis 6:5-13, 9:8-11) Image: picture of Noah's ark


5th Day (Monday) Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18) Image: a lamb
6th Day (Tuesday) Jesus and Abraham (John 8:31-40) Image: a chain - symbol of the slavery Christ frees us from
7th Day (Wednesday) Moses and the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21) Image: picture of the two tablets
8th Day (Thursday) The Covenant with Abraham and Moses (Jeremiah 31:31-33) Image: an outstretched hand
9th Day (Friday) A New Covenant (Luke 22:15-20) Image: two hands clasped together
10th Day (Saturday) 2 Great Commandments (Matthew 22:34-40) Image: notice of the two great commandments


11th Day (Monday) Forty Years in the Desert (Numbers 14:2-4, 10-112, 17-19, 33-34) Image: small piece of bread to represent manna
12th Day (Tuesday) Forty Days in the Desert (Luke 4:1-13) Image: a stone/picture of a city to represent Satan's temptation
13th Day (Wednesday) The Day of the Lord (Joel 2:10-16) Image: a trumpet
14th Day (Thursday) Jonas and the Whale (Jonah 1:1 - 4:11) Image: a plastic whale or fish, a picture of a large whale
15th Day (Friday)Whom Shall I send? (Isaiah 6:8-10) Image: a red coal
16th Day (Saturday) Trust and Rescue (Psalm 22) Image: a small globe


17th Day (Monday) Prophetic Role of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1: 4-8, 3:12-15) Image: a shepherd's staff
18th Day (Tuesday)Story of Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-12) Image: a chariot and horses
19th Day (Wednesday) Story of Elisha (2 Kings 4:38-44) Image: basket of bread and fishes
20th Day (Thursday) Loaves and Fishes (Mark 6:34-44) Image: basket of bread and fish
21th Day (Friday) Gabriel and the Anointed One (Daniel 9:15-24) Image: a picture of the angel Gabriel
22nd Day (Saturday) Anointing of David (1Sam. 16:1-13) Image: a horn or jug of oil


23rd Day (Monday) Anointing at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13) Image: vial of perfume
24th Day (Tuesday) John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17, 80) Image: pitcher of water
25th Day (Wednesday) Prophecy of New Order (Micah 4:1-7) Image: a sword and a pruning hook
26th Day (Thursday) Fulfillment of all Prophecies (Luke 24:44-48) Image: picture of a book, the Scriptures
27th Day (Friday) Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36) Image: a tent
28th Day (Saturday) Entrance Into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-9) Image: small plastic donkey or piece of palm


29th Day (Monday) Zeal for your house consumes me (Psalms. 69:6-25) Image: a musical instrument
30th Day (Tuesday) Driving the moneylenders from the temple (John 2:13-25) Image: a knotted piece of rope
31st Day (Wednesday) Judas (Matthew 26:14-25) Image: silver coins - to represent Judas' 30 pieces of silver
32nd Day (Thursday) The Innocent Victim (Isaiah 53:1-12) Image: a white lamb
33rd Day (Friday) Last Supper (Luke 22:14- 20) Image: cup and plate
34th Day (Saturday)Agony in Garden (Matthew 26:36-46) Image: olives - from the garden of Gethsemane


35th Day (Monday) Denial of Jesus (Mark 14:29-31 and 14:66-72) Image: small plastic rooster
36th Day (Tuesday) Crown of Thorns (Matt. 27:27 - Matt. 27:31) Image: a twig bent in a circle - the crown of thorns
37th Day (Wednesday) Scourging at the Pillar Image: a leather strip - the thongs of the whip used when Jesus was scourged
38th Day (Holy Thursday)The Two Thieves (Luke 23:32 - 43) Image: a row of three crosses
39th Day (Good Friday) On the Cross Image: a single die, a piece of sponge and a blue strip of cloth
40th Day (Holy Saturday) Death Of Jesus (Matthew 27: 45-54) Image: small stones/gravel/dirt - reminder of the earthquake

If you have any suggestions for different readings or images, found a good way to make the Lenten Tree part of your family's Lenten observances, or just want to let us know what you think of this activity, please Mail us and let us know.

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