February 22, 2010

Lent and a craft

Lent started last week.

Lent, as defined by wikipedia, "is the period leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayerpenitencealmsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ."

When observing fasting during Lent, regard must be paid to the fact that Sundays are Feast Days, so there is no fast. The days from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter Sunday, excluding the Sundays, are forty, corresponding to the number of days Christ spent in the wilderness."

We're not Catholic, but we started celebrating Lent as a family, last year.  (I grew up in the Lutheran church attending services every Wednesday evening during Lent....but now we belong to a Baptist church.  Before last year, Charlie knew nothing of it other than a time that people would give up sodas or sugar for 40 days.)

Usually, you choose something to fast from whether it is something that you eat regularly like sweets or something that is apart of your daily routine-tv, internet time, etc.  When you get the urge to eat (whatever you're fasting from) or would normally (watch tv) you spend that time in prayer or meditation on the Scriptures...it's a time to focus on the cross of Christ by meditating on the beauty of the Gospel through discipline.  Sundays, become glorious days during Lent, as you celebrate the Resurrection of Christ and the freedom that his sacrifice gives to believers by feasting upon whatever items/activities you are fasting from!

If you haven't started anything but are interested in celebrating Lent...you're not too late...just jump in now!  This is really just a time to examine your heart before the Lord and prepare your heart for Easter....it's okay that you missed the first few days!

Don't know what to do?

Charlie posted this discussion to our church network a few weeks ago:

Our family has really enjoyed and benefited from planning readings or devotionals during the seasons of Advent and Lent. For me, preparing our hearts in this way has been totally new over the past couple years, but so beneficial. It's hard to miss Easter and it's implications if you prepare even a little — it's easy if you don't. So, I wanted to get some discussion going about what everyone was doing. 

Kirby and I are going to be doing a daily reading from the book Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross by Nancy Guthrie (Amazon). We went through her book Come Thou Long Expected Jesus for Advent this year. Guthrie compiles excerpts from different authors (such as John Piper, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, CJ Mahaney and many more) to make the different chapters of the book. There are 25 chapters that are approximately four to six pages in length. 
For the kids, we will be doing Resurrection Eggs. Asher really loved this last year and it really helped him understand and talk about Easter. I can't wait to see how well he and McKlayne pick it up this year and the conversations that we'll have.
For Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter), we are going to do some readings put together by Noel Piper called Lenten Lights. There are eight readings. You can either read them on each of the Sundays during Lent or everyday from the Saturday before Palm Sunday through Easter (minus the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter). She recommended doing it during Holy Week if doing it with smaller children for repetition and recognition purposes.

John Piper gives some great suggestion here.

Heather gave some suggestions for devotions for school-aged children here.

If you have little ones, I cannot tell you how great the Resurrection Eggs were for Asher last year! At two years old he was able to identify and explain elements of the Crucifixion!! I wish I would have gotten it on video...I will have to this year! (You should know how passionately I feel about them after all those exclamation points I just used.) You can even make your own, but they're $8 right now and they come with a book that has scripture references that go along with each egg that you open.  (If Lent is new to you, this will be a great guide!)

I am excited about reading Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.  Cate knows me so well.  This was in my "shopping cart" on Amazon, but before I actually ordered it, she gave it to me for my birthday! Like Charlie said, we read the first book during Advent and loved it.

Tell the Easter Story with a Playdough Mountain from Noel Piper. We did this last year with the Hendrick's.  Every morning after for about a month, the first thing Asher would do was run out to the kitchen table to see if the tomb was still empty.

I love this idea of purging 40 bags of stuff from your house in 40 days.  I am already on 5 bags--and that is only trash--not even the actual "things" that I am getting rid of!

Now...onto the craft I promised...

Remember the heart wreath I made for Valentine's?  Chelsea came over last week on her day off and we made these:

We followed the same directions from Tatortots and Jello but cut out a cross instead.  Then we used pages from a hymnal to modge podge onto the cross.  Foam board, paper, coffee filters, hot glue, burlap and ribbon-that's all it is!  If you want to make your own, here are the dimensions we used: 4.5 width on all four sides, 20 inches long, and 14 inches across.  If you make one, I'd love to see how yours turns out!

(If you're my farming friend who loves coffee and burlap and just celebrated a birthday on Saturday, don't make one! I have one of these for you!)

So, what are you guys doing for Lent or Easter?  Or what have you done in the past?


Brandy said...

Im glad to see all of your ideas for celebrating Lent. I grew up in a Baptist church, but was baptised and joined the Catholic church last Easter. It is great to see that not only Catholics celebrate Lent! I had never until last year, so I am still in the "learning" process! Your ideas are great!

Welcome...Please Come In...Grab a Chair... said...

Hey Brandy we all learn together...that's what the Bodys about...