The Liturgy of the Unexpected Guest: An Idea for Lenten Observance

My aunt serves a parish in Canada, where they're currently in the thick of Lenten observance. She very kindly ordered a number of copies of my booklet, The Parable of the Unexpected Guest, for friends of hers, because she's a good aunt and likes to take care of her nephew. Then she came up with a creative way of using the story in the booklet to help people in her parish make their way through Lent. If you're trying to figure out what to do as a faith community in recognition of Lent, maybe her story will help you out.

We had our Lenten reflection evening last night using "The Parable of the Unexpected Guest" and we already have other people asking if we will do it again as they couldn't make it last night! We split it into 3 sections and my friend and I read it aloud (thanks for the way you split it up as that worked perfectly) and let people reflect silently after each section and then share a bit. At the end we gave each their own copy to take home and people really found it a wonderful experience!
I hadn't thought of reading the parable out loud and letting people process it on their own. I crafted some questions so people could discuss the paarable in groups, but this kind of nondirective experience of it is very appealing to me and reminiscent of how a friend of mine leads people through his survey of the Scriptures, The Story of God, the Story of Us: Read the story out loud, then let people draw pictures and write about what the story meant to them. The storyteller gets as much out of that interaction as the people listening. That's what my aunt managed as she curated this experience for people.

As I was reading it aloud, I often wanted to stop and just marvel at the way it was written and the ways it stirs me!! Thanks for the inspiration and the call to humility and the reminder to take more time to reflect on so many things in my life that I need to look at!
If you've read The Parable of the Unexpected Guest and shared it in interesting and creative ways, I'd love to hear about it.


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