Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week activities are great times for families to connect creative worship experiences with how faith is expressed in the home. As part of the Reformation, many protestant churches rejected many Christian holy days and seasons because they were non-Biblical. Unfortunately, much was lost in this period of transition—in particular, a sense of how secular time overlaps and intersects with God’s time. By helping our children and youth to observe the liturgical year, we provide them with opportunities to connect the rhythms of their daily lives with the rhythms of our faith. The contemplative season of Lent is ripe with imagery, sounds, tastes, smells and experiences that can help families move our lives of faith beyond the sanctuaries and into our homes. I offer up these ideas, collected from multiple sources, as ways to integrate our faith practices through the season of Lent into our homes so your family can learn to keep one foot in your daily routines and one foot in God’s calendar. These are just a few ideas of things you can do as a family to reinforce faith at home.
- Make a prayer chain—write down 40 prayer intentions or people for whom you would like to offer up prayer on small slips of paper. Link them together in a paper chain. Each day, as a family, tear off one link and hold that person or that need in prayer.
- Creative Prayer Station—set up a small table or area in your house to be part of your Lenten devotional focus. Items to include: smooth river stones, votive candles, paper & markers, colored pencils or crayons, Bible, play-doh or clay, blank note cards or postcards, and the church Lenten Devotional Book. This can be a place where each member can come for prayer time alone or you can gather there as a family. The note cards can also become a message of love to someone who just might need to hear from you and your family.
- Plan a family Seder Meal. The internet is a great resource for information on what kinds of food to include as well as readings to go along with the event. This is a great way for families to learn together something about the faith which Jesus practiced. Perhaps even end the meal with Communion, as Jesus did so long ago.
- Bury the ‘Hallelujah.’ Explain to kids that we don’t proclaim ‘Hallelujah’ during Lent because Lent is a penitential time and the word ‘Hallelujah’ just doesn’t fit. For effect, write the word on a piece of paper and bury it somewhere in the yard.
- Bake Temptation Cookies. Explain the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert and bake cookies. Instead of eating them right away, place them out where everyone can see them, but don’t eat them until the next day. While enjoying your cookies, talk about what temptation is and how we can work together to overcome these pulls on our conscience.
These ideas were some of my picks. For more on these ideas and others check out these websites: