Dead Tree Decor

What the heck is with the dead trees? When did this become a Lent thing?

Seriously, I can’t think of a church I have been to in the last few years that doesn’t remove the pretty flowers arrangements that scatter the church and replace them with dead twigs.

Now I’m not saying we should have pretty flowers everywhere during Lent, that is clearly nonsensical. This isn’t a time for finery, it’s a time for penance. Are the dead bushes really all that relevant though?

Now I realize that our amazing, dedicated altar ladies group is just trying to get us into the spirit of the season, I’m just not sure it’s the season of dead things. I totally get that we should be in the desert with Jesus, hacking at the nasty bits of our souls. I’m all there.

Dead trees? How does that really help us understand Lent?

Let me tell you what I think. I think they just want to make pretty stuff, and since they can’t use flowers, they are going to find some other arrangement that they think still looks nice, but is in line with the season. I think the dead branches are more about the desire to decorate, and less about Lent.

I’m not complaining, I swear. The dead tree arrangements do actually look nice in their crystal vases, all tied up with purple ribbon. I am extremely thankful for all the hard work these ladies put in to make our place of worship beautiful. The amount of effort they put into Christmas and Easter is obvious, and it simply looks stunning. Beyond that, it really help me get into the season when the altar is surrounded with lilies or evergreens. I am so thankful for the hidden efforts of these amazing women.

I just don’t understand the dead tree thing.

I don’t have a decorating bone in my body, so it would be asinine for me to start throwing out suggestions on how to decorate the church. I’m not even going to attempt it. Any desert motif I put out there even as an idea would look more like a kindergartner was walking around the sanctuary throwing sand and desert stuff rather than real decorating. It simply isn’t my skill.

So if you cringe as I throw out my idea, I’m okay with that.

Lent is a time of penance, right? We Catholics are overly sensual, yes? We love our stained glass, our statues, our candles, our incense, right? So why not just be plain? No frills, no ribbons, no flowers, no fancy altar cloths, just the bare minimum.

I hearken back to the practice of covering all our statues with purple cloth, removing any consolation and hiding the beauty for just a short while.

It just seems so much more Lent than dead trees.

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