Monday, March 27, 2006

Lenten Devotions
Lent consists of the forty days before Easter. In the western Church, we skip over the Sundays when we count the days of Lent because Sunday is always the joyful celebration of the Resurrection. Therefore, the first day of Lent in the western Church is always a Wednesday. Although it has historically been known as “The Day of Ashes,” we tend to call it Ash Wednesday.

During Lent, ancient Christians mourned their sins and repented of them, so it was appropriate for them to show their sincerity by having ashes on their foreheads. The custom has persisted in the Church as secular society has changed around us. It is most appropriate on Ash Wednesday, when we begin a period of sober reflection, self-examination, and spiritual redirection.

Some folks believe that this is a Roman Catholic practice which is to be avoided by all Protestants - particularly Baptists. Sackcloth and ashes are Biblical symbols of prayer and repentance. Prayer and repentance are integral practices for the Christian.

The following are suggestions for devotions and activities for the weeks of Lent. You might gather your family one night during the week and use these ideas as springboards for family devotions. You could even invite other families to come and participate with you. I start with the third week simply because I was away and unable to post the first weeks in a timely manner. If you are interested, simply email me and ask for the others.

NOTE: Some of the suggested activities require a bit of advance planning.
Supplement these ideas with your own – and share your ideas with others. The goal is simply for families to come together and discuss Christ’s work on our behalf and to enjoy family time around God’s Word.
March 26- April 1
Read John 12:20-33. What does a kernel of wheat have to do with Lent and Easter? In this gospel story, to lose your life means to give up anything or anyone that prevents you from following Jesus. For people your age in today's world, what might some of those things and persons be? Who or what helps you to be a faithful follower of Jesus, not only during Lent but on a daily basis?
How do you think Jesus draws people to himself? How can you help others whose words or actions say "We would like to see Jesus"?

Activity: Make badges! Followers of Jesus should be noticeable. Make badges using cardboard, aluminum foil, colored paper, or other available materials. On the badges write simple words that will identify the wearer as a follower of Jesus. Examples: "Kid for Christ," Jesus Follower." Be creative with both words and designs!

Don’t forget to wear your badges to church on Sunday!