Lent in a Bag

An Activity for Church or Home

For older individuals or families with older children

Adapted from tools created by Shawn Schreiner and Vicki Garvey

"Might there be a stony place in you that needs transforming? Some attitude or habit that with a little attention might even become a gift for you and others?"

What is Lent in a Bag?
Lent in a Bag was created as a way to assists individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. The items needed for this tool are included in your bag, and are:

*a sealed baggie of sand
*a rock
*a small wooden figure of a person
*a candle

In addition to these items, reflection and wondering questions are provided to go with each. Remember there are no right or wrong answers. Allow your heart to guide your reflections.

Instructions:
Here are 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 devotion (daily or weekly), choose one of the symbols for your own
      reflection as you make your way through the season of Lent."

When your reflections are over return the materials to the bag.

Sand
Remove the sealed bag of sand from the larger bag. Include the following (or similar) reflection:

"Just between his baptism and the beginning of his adult ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days, 'to be tested.'"

What constitutes wilderness in your life?
What have you learned there?
What might you learn there?

Rock
Find inside the bag a rock. Include the following (or similar) reflection:
''While in the wilderness, Jesus was invited to transform stone into bread. Though he resisted the temptation there and then, he became justly renowned for feeding people who were hungry for food, or for love, for a word of encouragement, or for simple acceptance.
Might there be a stony place in you that needs transforming?
Some attitude or habit that, with a little attention, might even become a gift for you and others?"

Human Figure
Find inside the bag wooden figure. Include following (or similar) refection:
''Because Jesus was, as we confess, fully human, he gets us, understands us from inside our skin, and knows from experience that we're each capable of great things, Godly things. And no matter what we do, he keeps on inviting us to join us in his work which has become our own. As you enter or continue along this Lent, what might you plan to do over these 40 days so that the Easter you will more closely reflect you, and the Christ who lives in and through you?"

Candle
Find inside the bag a candle. Include the following (or similar) reflection:

"Lent begins in the dimness of late winter and ends with the burst of bright spring. Jesus is, according to John's gospel, 'Light of the world' and that Light, directing his attention to his disciples and through them to us, insists: 'You are the light of the world. Don't be hiding under some bushel basket.'"

So where do you shine?
How do you keep your light lit?

Lenten Prayer: Fast From, Feast On

During Lent, let us...

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ within them.
Fast from emphasis on difference; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.

Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from worry; feast on trust in God's Care.
Fast from unrelenting pressure; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.

Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.

                    William Arthur Ward 
     (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994)