Ash Wednesday: ideas to engage the whole family in the set RCL readings for today

For some of us this is the second Ash Wednesday since the reality of COvid started influencing the way we lived.

For many the family unit has become the place of Faith Formation. A place many of us in Children’s Ministry would uphold as being the starting place for Faith Formation anyway.

Chances are there may be no face to face services where you are. There is not where I live in Australia.

But do not stop that from marking the start of Lent. commence the Lenetrn practice that you have chosen for yourself and the family. And share today’s readings with your family. This can be as formal as a service or as informal as a cuddle and a read together.

You may want to set up a space to bring out or keep up through Lent.

The colour of Lent is purple, not the same blue based purple as Advent but a red based purple.

Set up a candle, and what ever helps you focus on the season, it might be a cross, some sand (to symbolise the desert times of the people of God), or cactus plants, some rocks(to represent challenge) for example. Today you might add some ashes, or black drawing materials and some white paper to encourage your family to respond to the readings.

A Book that i would rcommend for sharing about Lent with Children is Make Room A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alary You can see an adaption of this book in a Godly Play method here

Start with this liturgy

From ashes we came (Pretend to pour ash from one hand to the other)

and to ash we return (Pretend to pour ash from one hand to the other)

We were made to worship You (raise your arms up high)

God who loves us (make a love heart with your hands)

Always (trace a circle with your finger)

Amen (one clap)

FIRST READING: JOEL 2:1-2, 12-17

MAKE a trumpet, by rolling up a piece of paper so that one end is smaller thatn the other. Or play any instrument you have. Even stamp you feet. (inspired by

READ: from The Beginner’s Story Bible NiRV or

each time the trumpet is mentioned, play your instrument.

I wonder what you like best about this reading?

I wonder what you would leave out from the reading but it would still tell you everything you need to hear?

I wonder where you are in this reading?


Describe those feelings, Show how these feelings look like in your body or draw it, or point out what it feels like from a set of emotional cards or the Bears App

OR ISAIAH 58:1-12

READ; Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg


FETCH: Young children might like to get their favourite toy, and older children might like to name a friend they would like to have with them.

LIST: ways that we can get closer to God, brainstorm or you might like to download a free Praying in Color Lent sheet and start today by colouring in or listing things to pray for or about.

PSALM 51:1-17


Psalm 51: The Washing Psalm

(a Psalm of confession)

Be kind to me, O God
Be gentle with me. (give yourself a hug)
I am clogged up with sin
dirt has dried around my heart
I feel terrible about myself (hang your head)
I am not a good person
I have hurt people
and let you down.

Be kind to me, O God
Be gentle with me.
Reach into your deep store of age-old love.
Get out your scrubbing brush (pretend to scrub your arm)
and wash me clean.
Scrape away my guilt
and scrub me on the inside.
You delight in truth,
so teach me to be wise.

Clear out my lies
and soak me in truth.
Create in me a clean heart (make a heart out of your hands and pretend to put it into your chest)
and renew your Spirit within me.
Then I will sing of your freedom
and praise your great kindness
with a fresh voice and a light heart.

Words by Rev Purdie, actions by me.

PLAY: Wash your washable toys or scub some vegetables to eat.

YOu might like to say grace when you eat these foods


HOW DID THIS PSALM MAKE YOU FEEL Draw how you feel using charoal, conte, soft black pencil, black texta, or black crayon.


READ: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett


I chose this book to explain the transforming power of following our beliefs, not harming anyone by them but transforming the world becasue of them. This is what i gain from reading this passage in 2nd Corinthians, the transforming pwere of following God and not harming others as we do so but enhancing their lives through God’s mission.

DO: As your first good dead for Lent what are you going to do that transforms the day for someone eg. walk the dog, drop in a bunch of flowers to a neighbour etc.

For the very young, draw a picture with changable texta’s. Play with a toy that transforms, eg, a doll that is both grandma and the wolf or Transformers, when my eldest was little she had a toy dog that turned into a basketball.


May I not stop


from following you God,


GOSPEL READING: Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

READ: The Jesus Story Book Bible, The first page of “How to Pray” and the ast page of “Treasure Hunt” pp. 222 and 255 of the 2007 Large book edition



Help me be humble

So people see

the good that is done by YOU

not me doing the good

For you



Wendy L.

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