Say goodbye to After Epiphany by eating pancakes on TUESDAY. A Traditional way of preparing for a fast, but a fun way to mark the start of this important season. Can you connect your eating with your Faith, I love vegemite(yes i am an Aussie) and I connect this with the sorrow and loss to come on Good Friday, the saltiness of the tears to be shed, the darkness or the experience. One of my daughter’s likes lemon and sugar, she see’s Lent as a time of sweet and bitter stories and events. I wonder what you will share? Pray as you eat or make your pancake together. And though we do this at breakfast there have been occasions where it has been an afterschool snack. or dessert following our evening meal.
If your church does not do an Ash Wednesday service by zoom or if able face to face, try to mark this special day at home.
FAMILY FAITH PRACTICES AT HOME
If your faith community does not have a Lent practice, be it fasting, giving up something, having a family time of prayer of Bible reading or singing, or 40 days of goodwill acts. This might be the time to find something to mark the Lent days. http://sacraparental.com/2016/01/08/lent-with-kids-how-to-create-a-household-lent-plan/?fbclid=IwAR14kc_3deU8PAqC_3mSbnaRb8qh53hGLfqxUTSlpjN2xdxpuPG2Zl8c3LI
OR sign up to get the free Lent study for the Jesus Storybook Bible https://www.faithgateway.com/jesus-storybook-bible-lent-easter-printables-sally-lloyd-jones/
all have great suggestions.
Then make time for a special prayer time on Wednesday. Look for the suggestions on this site for the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the day.
If you have had your Palm cross on your door since last year, you could burn this and make a drawing of a cross with its ashes to hang on the fridge this Lent as a reminder that it is a special time. (Another option if you don’t want to burn the cross, or you can not do this safely) is to draw a picture of the cross with Conte or charcoal stick.
offers another option.
This year I am using one of the templates Praying in Color are making available for Lent, and I am pairing this with Ann Voskamps Lent of More God. For children, i would just let them draw and pray in the template spaces.
If you are using an adult devotional, rather than doing something that you think your soul needs, and finding something for the kids, share what you are doing with them. Answer there questions as you would anything other question, and adjust anything to their understanding just as you would with anything else. Remember, you are thier first teacher, and it’s ok if they teach you a thing or 2 along the way.
Two Studies I like that can be purchased
are Illustrated Ministries Lent resources
Which also has a free Children’s version
So why would you have a Lenten practice?
I definitely didn’t when I was growing up, in fact I was the downright annoying cousin who made it clear that when my Catholic Cousins started fasting for Lent, well, that I didn’t have to. We marked the start of Lent with pancakes for breakfast and my family pretty much coasted in until Good Friday.
I was such the loser.
From young, my cousins learnt something I had to gain later, that the spiritual practice of recognising Lent has very positive affirming benefits.
I made this discovery way to late to share it with my own family as children, though they all get an annoying message from Mum to enjoy a pancake today because Lent starts tomorrow. It is never too late to start good family faith formation practices.
At some time in my Theological Studies, I started taking the practice of Lent seriously.
I have enjoyed Mardi Gras in Merida, and then the still ness of the next mornings as Mass is rung out in the city square, and the excited sound of people interacting is hushed. The darkness of the interior of the church only helped to shift the pace, though maybe it was the knowledge that this was built by stolen Inca temple stones also added to my unease. IN this experience I learnt the respect for contrast and the importance of finding silence in the season, so continued a meditative practice for the 40 days, till I celebrated it with my home congregation.
I walked this labyrinth in San Juan
to mark the start of Lent one year and finished the season walking another, in another hemisphere. That season I deliberately worshipped away from my home congregation through out Lent, and learnt to appreciate their differences more, but used the time specifically to selfishly seek guidance for a heart call. Which was actually answered.
I have tried to do too many studies, and discovered it is best to choose one, and see it through.
I look forward to seeing Christine Sine’s Lent garden, and keep promising one day I will also make that my Lenten practice.
Maybe your family like to sing or listen to music, you could learn a new Christain song each day or create a spotify list for listening to. Try for Bible passage based songs, or Colin Buchanan, or https://www.snackmusic.com.au or https://jumpstart3.com/for-my-family/, ORhttps://bethelmusickids.com ,
Each year I say will make up my favourite list of children’s music for Lent.
If your family value’s good deeds as Christian Expression, now might be the time to find a cause to support this Lent. Or use this resource from the Methodist Relief and Development Fund
This time of looking at the life of Christ, of making time of standing still with GOD has become incredible important to me.
I wish I had shared it with my children when they were young, but while I am here, I can still share with my adult children now. Maybe my grandchildren (still not yet here) will get it and come to understand the power of Lent.
I have read articles this year, from good Christian ministry sources that suggest that it is ok to go easy on yourself this Lent, as there is so much uncertainty and extra pressure on families at this time. I would suggest this is exactly the right time to include Lent in your Family Faith Formation practices. It is not a case of adding more, it is simply a case of doing what you should be doing anyway more intentionally.
May you find a practice to share with your children.
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