Preparing for Lent
By Christine Hides, Director of Ministries with Children and Youth
Ash Wednesday, March 1 is the beginning of Lent. During the season of 40 days (not counting Sundays) of Lent we prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies for the great mystery of Easter. We can choose to use this time to use spiritual practices which help us to focus on God throughout the week. Here are suggestions appropriate for all ages:
Bring the whole family to the Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. on March 1:
On Sunday, a child said to me, “Ms. Christine, I know where everything comes from! Everything is made of matter.” How true! On Ash Wednesday we remember that everything and everyone is made of the same stuff. The ashes, made from last year’s palm branches, remind us that we are human; we make mistakes. But they also remind us that we are loved and forgiven. The ashes are a visible reminder that we are a part of our church family.
Use the Take Home Devotionals:
This year’s take-home devotional has readings and suggestions for creating symbols to place on a dead branch. By Easter, your dead stick will be transformed into a brand-new thing! Devotionals are available on the table by the front door.
Put something away to make it special:
During Lent we have “packed up” the Alleluias at church. We won’t use that word again until Easter Sunday. By putting it away, it becomes extra special when we bring it out again. What could you put away or give up until Easter?
Spare your change and make some noise:
During Lent we will be collecting spare change each week in church to help others. Find the noisiest container you can find to use. We’ll make a ruckus as we fill the jar on Sunday mornings. This practice helps us to remember to be generous to those in need.
These are just a few of the traditions that help us to slow down, reflect upon things that matter, and practice our faith as we ready for Easter. If your family would like to learn more about Lent, I highly recommend a new picture book, Make Room: A Child’s Guide for Lent and Easter. I’ve got a copy a would love to share!