This Lent did not start out in the controlled manner that I would have liked. I’ve been tired, so very tired, caring for my husband who had emergency surgery and is now Rehab(ing) at home.
On Shrove Tuesday’s pancakes were eaten for desset at dinner (nothing wrong with that) but our families tradition had been pancakes for breakfast each Shrove Tuesday, but by the time bathing, dressing and physio happened. Dinner it was.
Usually I’d head to the Ash Wednesday service, but the morning routine was still going and it was a face to face service only, and I could not leave the patient/husband.
I started to get the feeling that this was going to be a very different Lent.
Yet looking back over the years, though I have settled into a pattern, I realised it had not always been this way.
There were years when I had babies and post natal depression.
When we were travelling.
When I was mourning.
Yes there had been plenty of tough times, when the Lent routine got lost.
The season of Lent doesn’t go away just because the going get’s tough.
We started this years Revised Common Lectionary readings for Lent with a story about challenges, of being in the desert, of being tempted.
What a reminder that no matter what we are experiencing, and this year I am very aware of those being displaced at the start of Lent. Lent is here, and it’s worth acknowledging that it is, and turn the mis/adventures of the faith practice for Lent into THE practice of Lent.
No matter what is happening around me, whether I can make it to a face-to-face church service or not. My Lenten journey is between God and me.
When we live in families, be that a family of 1, you, or a tribe of kids, grandparents cousins etc.it is still Lent.
Lent is still the season of preparation. There is more to be done than just attending services each Sunday or heading to church for the annual visit come Easter. I personally understand that, because that was basically the pattern of my experience of Lent as I was growing up.
So why would I want to encourage families to adopt Lenten practices when I grew up with few in a Christian Household?
What has changed in me, that I now feel that this opportunity for spiritual development and community building should be embraced and practiced by the whole Christian community, and especially by family groups?
This is the list I came up with
- Practicing at home extends the experience of Lent into the lived experience, and beyond the church door.
- It extends the opportunity for children to learn and use the concepts and words of faith, away from the Church buildings, especially when faith practices are being discouraged in the wider communities and in our schools
- It unifies the Christian community, Catholic and Protestant.
- Gives an opportunity to deepen our spiritual practices of Biblical Study, Prayer and Action.
- Allows us to share intergenerationally, grandparents, parents and children.
- Faith Transmission appears to be stronger in families where faith practices are encouraged in all family members in their daily life. Youth studies show the influences, and John W. Westerhoff III”s Will our Children have Faith (Harrisburg, Moorehouse, 2012) explores this idea to.
- United Nations Convention of the rights of the child to spiritual expression
8. As well as my own personal experiences as I have opened my life up to Lenten practices and what I have observed in the children of the Families I have ministered to.
Lenten practices do not have to be complicated. This year my Lenten plan is very simple. So if you have never experienced a Lenten preparation may I make these very simple starting practice suggestions, and encourage you to find time this Lent to be intentional and share it with your family. Even if you are running late for the start of Lent.
Mark the time.
I have found young children find it a very long season, it helps if they can count it down. The very young or the very tired or time poor can use the Lenten Calendar from Praying in Color
OR try a Lent scripture chain, for the very young you could omit the bible verses.
OR The Jesus Story Book Lent Guide also uses a chain activity. The draw back with this one is that though free, you must sign up to recieve the guide and you need to have The Jesus storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones It is wonderful though for busy families.
You may not have thought of this as a Lenten practice, suitable for all ages, try Picture Lent
FOR a study that is about to begin( so you are not late for this at all) Try the Lego Lent Challenge great for all ages
Something outdors? How about these Wonder Walks for Lent
For a small payout, Ideal for a child who loves colouring try Illustrated Ministry
SING IT OUT
You might like to sing it out, it could be changing what you do such as listening to a Christian radio station, or search Lent songs on Spotify.
Listen to Lent by Litrugical Folk
For someone new try Dan Warlow
Or do Lent with a good cause see
OR Lent Event can give you some ideas of things to give up for Lent.
Give it a go.
And no it’s never too late to start.
I am writing this on Wurundjeri land and wish to pay respect to all Elders, past, present and emerging.