Getting Creative, Getting Social: Responding to Poems for Lent: #BIGRead14


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Lent is a journey that moves us toward the Cross”. So says one of many Pinterest images spilling through my feed today. Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter with fasting, repentance and spiritual discipline, focusing some of that energy into reflecting upon the life and death of Jesus. The BIGRead14 is back for its fifth year, and inviting people to share in that discipleship journey through small groups, and in online conversations, focused around Stephen Cherry’s Barefoot Prayers, a collection of poem-prayers designed to stimulate meditative thinking.

Each of the poems will be shared daily via the The BIGBible blog, from 2 March through to 26 April, with an encouragement to respond creatively via blog comments, Facebook or Twitter discussions, which would allow insights from a range of perspectives, and from across the church spectrum – with no right answer expected:

We would love to see creative responses to the poems, including suggestions of Bible verses that they make you think of, art/photography, poems written in response, or reflections/questions/anecdotes you may think of… keep it simple though – this should nourish you, not become a pressure!

56 volunteers from around the world, from a range of backgrounds and denominations have read poems and shared them on Soundcloud or YouTube, so you can simply sit back, listen, and meditate if you like. Volunteers include Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Waikato (the first female priest ordained in the Church of England to become a bishop), Caroline Welby, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, David Wilkinson, astrophysicist and theologian, Maggi Dawn, Chaplain and Professor at the University of Yale, and Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham.

Dr Bex Lewis, Durham University Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning and the BIGBible Project’s Director, said:

Many people give up a range of foods for Lent, but The BIGBible Project encourages you to feast upon the Bible. Free house group materials are structured around menus and include ideas for conversation ‘starters’, ‘main course’ debates, and a reflective ‘dessert’. There’ll be some ‘after-dinner’ chocs (activities) to take away into the week too.

The BIGBible Project, a small team of people with a big vision to see people communicating the gospel effectively and growing as disciples through digital communication, are delighted to be using ‘Barefoot Prayers’ for their BIGRead text this year as it “is ideal for people who may have little time for sitting and reading but more time for thinking and reflecting.”

Rev Canon Dr Stephen Cherry’s new book ‘Barefoot Prayers’ is a series of poem/prayers written specifically for the Lent and Easter period. BIGRead’s focus this year is prayer and spirituality, but, as Stephen says: “It’s all about participation, and it’s my sincere invitation to you to join in, exactly as yourself with honesty and truth. Share the journey to Easter with the BIGRead.”

The BIGBible team love to work collaboratively, so, along with other Christian organisations such as HOPE, Parish Pump and CARE, #BIGRead14 is partnering with Love Your Streets to encourage people to do #Do1NiceThing each day during Lent (each day one will be matched with the poem/meditation read). The challenge aims to equip people with a different #Do1NiceThing activity every day between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

The ‘poem of the week’ will be on display at Newcastle Cathedral, where people can also contribute thoughts and drawings, or simply sit and meditate. On 20 April there will be an online service at 1pm. If you would like to contribute to the service, contact [email protected].

Joining in with The BIG Read14 for Lent:

Find housegroup materials at:

Find the daily poems at:

Join the Facebook group:

Chat with others through Twitter with the following hashtag: #bigread14

The BIGBible Project is supported by The Jerusalem Trust, Premier Christian Media, The Methodist Church, The Bible Society, Seed Resources and SPCK.

About drbexl

Life Explorer, academia/learning, Christian, cultural history, WW2 posters: Keep Calm & Carry On, digital world, coach. Twitter: @drbexl @digitalfprint, @ww2poster @bigbible