A couple of friends have asked me about what we are doing, if anything, to observe Lent. In light of their interest, I thought I would post a list of the resources I plan to use. Notice that I say “plan” to use. I am the first to admit that we don’t observe Lent perfectly. And that’s probably a good thing. It concretely points us to the purpose of Lent–to remind us of our inability to do anything perfectly, to earn our salvation, of our desperate need for Christ’s coming as the ultimate sacrifice.
A note about the slap dash list I’m about to share: several of the family activities are being done during our daily Morning Meeting. We start a new Morning Meeting “term” every 4-8 weeks, depending on holidays, trips, et cetera. Each term has new materials for memorization, scripture study, and other ways to experience the true, the good, and the beautiful. Our new term happened to be on target to start around Ash Wednesday, so I went all in and did a “Lenten term”. I don’t think a family that doesn’t do something similar would be able to put all of this into a season. I’ll mark the Morning Meeting items with an asterisk*.
- Coin jar–each child is given a dime at each meal to put into a communal jar; everything collected during Lent will be used to purchase food for a local food bank the week after Easter
- Lutheran Hour daily Lenten devotions *
- Hymn–There is a Green Hill Far Away * (I remember this hymn from childhood and was reacquainted with it while browing in a vintage children’s hymnal I acquired from my mom.)
- Prayer for our broken world–Prayercast’s 40 days for Persecuted Nations (we are going over the summary and watching the video for a different nation each day) *
- Poem for memorization–Bread of the World, In Mercy Broken by Reginald Heber *
- Poems for listening–Ecce Homo: Poems for Lent and Holy Week compiled by Karen A. Keely *
- Scriptures for memorization–Isaiah 58:6-9; Psalm 25:6-10 *
- Prayer–The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis *
- SQUILT Lenten Listening Calendar *
- Lenten Lights by Noel Piper–We have done this before and found it meaningful; we will use it Sunday evenings.
- Jesus tree–I went through a children’s Bible story book that we love and found almost all of the corresponding stories–I included this activity with Jet, who is only 3½, in mind. We will read straight from scripture for the couple of missing ones. (There are lots of versions of the Jesus tree out there, if you don’t love this one.)
- Lent countdown calendar–I think this is the one we are using, but there are lots of options out there that may not make you subscribe.
- Maundy Thursday tea–I am planning to do this!!!
- Additional Bible reading–Revised Common Lectionary daily readings
- Scripture writing–2016 Lent scripture writing plan from Whole Magazine
Online you can find and abundance of wonderful and potentially meaningful ideas for observing Lent. I spent a lot of time sifting and brainstorming and looking at what would be worthwhile and doable for our family. Some things that I loved didn’t make the cut for this year. For example, “Sunday Love Letters” from this book. It’s a beautiful idea about building relationships through word of affirmation. However, after looking at the calendar, I realized The Roadie would be gone for several of those Sundays and I would have to help my non-reader/writer, Jet, and the newish reader/writer, Pearlie-girl, through the whole process. Alone. On Sundays, which are my plan & prep days for the week. Nope. Maybe 2018…
If you need or want any additional ideas for Lent or Easter, I have a Pinterest board full of them. What about you? Do you have any special plans or activities for observing Lent? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
About the picture at the top: Artist unknown. Temptation of Christ by the Devil, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56104 [retrieved March 5, 2017]. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_cloisters_miracle_of_christ.jpg.