Lent in a Bag

by Pastor Heath Howe, Family Ministries

Lent is such an important time of the year for Christians, for it is the time in which we prepare for Easter morning, the season to follow that morning, and the new life available to us because of the events of that morning. When I teach children about Lent, I explain that it is in many ways to Easter what Advent is to Christmas. It is our getting ready time. "It takes longer to get ready for Easter than Christmas," I remember one child observing as we looked at our church calendar. That's true. It does.

Advent is important as we do need to prepare for the incarnation, the gift of God among us; however, preparing for our own participation in the type of life Jesus lived and calls us into takes a while. Jesus calls us out of a life of enslavement and into a life of love. We are used to living a life of dualistic thinking and behaving so it takes longer for us to prepare for a life where all are welcome and all are one. To love as Jesus loved can take a life time. The season of Lent is our yearly reminder to stop and have God guide us in a little spring cleaning of the soul.  Leaning into the power of Lent enables us to fully grab hold of our new life as Easter People. 

To enhance this idea I offer you "Lent in a Bag," a tool to use at home. The resource is adapted from a tool created by the Reverend Shawn Schreiner and Vicky Garvey, both leaders in our diocese.  It can be done on your own, with a partner or friend(s), or with your children.  

The materials for this tool may be found in the parlor at Holy Comforter on Ash Wednesday! or Please note, there are two adaptations of this tool. The first is for older individuals and those families with older children, The second is geared toward families with young children. 

Lent in a Bag: for older individuals and those families with older children

Lent in a Bag: for younger individuals or those with younger children

In addition to the items contained in your bag, reflection and wondering questions are provided with each. Please remember there are no right or wrong answers; allow your heart to guide your reflections. 
Two suggestions for using the contents of this bag:

Choose one night of the week and invite those around your table to pick one of the symbols as a starting point for conversation for the whole group, including children. 

For your own daily or weekly devotion, choose one of the included symbols for your own reflection as you make your way through the season of Lent.

Wishing you and yours a blessed and meaningful season of Lent.