Lent is not something we have to do alone. Despite the resurgence of COVID 19, in-person or online fellowship opportunities offered through the congregation and in the companionship of our church family transforms the experience and keep us connected.
Congregations might find a Sparkhouse guide for planning small group gatherings of all types helpful, and if an offering is to be via the internet, Building Faith has best practices and reflection questions for creating spiritual space online. The resources listed below can easily supplement plans already in place.
Popular Lenten Resources –
- Life Transformed – The Way of Love in Lent.
- Church Publishing offers an excellent selection of books for individual and group study
- Love Life, Live Lent is a simple, realistic resource available as small, portable, colorful, and practical booklets for children, adults and youth.
- Leader Resources has several ideas including Know Chocolate for Lent which uses the growing and manufacturing process of chocolate as a metaphor for the growth of faith and discipleship in the Christian life.
- An Illustrated Lent focuses intentionally on the spiritual discipline of prayer during the Lenten season. By exploring different Gospel passages of Jesus engaged in prayer this resource encourages learning new ways to expand and enrich experiences of prayer individually, as a family, and in community.
- Films are a simple way to engage in discussion. Watch the film together or beforehand online. A quick online search will bring up discussion prompts for films like The Way and Les Miserables. Or, use WingClips to find inspirational movie clips from favorite films.
Experiential Activities –
- Create Lent in a Bag for households. Bags or boxes filled with small symbols of the season, reflections and instructions help individuals and families practice Lent at home. Click here for ideas!
- Offer suggestions on ways households can go above and beyond ongoing service opportunities within your congregation
- Individuals and families using Free Range Worship 40 Days Toward Love prayer kits let God expand our heart for neighbors, creation, and those from whom we feel divided.
- Set Sacred Space aside in the church building for people to come and experience anytime the doors are open. Journey to the Cross is one example for setting up a Lenten experience within a small space. For more ideas reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Offering the visual and tactile nature of the Lord’s Prayer Tracing Cross creates a special experience of prayer.
Encourage at home practices by passing these resources along –
- Shrove Tuesday – These Shrove Tuesday Tidbits help celebrate with pancakes!
- Ash Wednesday. This Ash Wednesday Meditation with Clay sets a tone for Lent. If you’d like to set this day or others aside to prepare only one full, meaningful, and symbolic meal these meatless recipe suggestions may help!
- Prayer and Meditation
- The Daily Examen or use the Daily Examen at Home with Children
- A Centering Prayer practice can be used with scripture, music, art, movies, writing, body movement, walking, and in nature.
- Daily Meditations are available online through Episcopal Relief & Development, Forward Movement Day by Day, d365, or Living Compass.
- Host Stations of the Cross at your church for the community or offer an at home Way of the Cross version from Everything Holy. Praying the Stations with Children might be helpful to pass along.
Households with children might appreciate knowing about these additional resources –
- Lenten Devotions and Books for Families
- A Lenten Cross Calendar in English and Spanish
- Engaging the family in prayer using Prayer Sticks
This season, we can encourage everyone to open the door a bit more, let go of more stuff, listen better; to do more quickly and with greater passion, those things we know help nurture God’s kingdom; and imagine God transforming our life to bless us with a greater sense of freedom and joy, a lighter spirit, and filling us with a deeper desire for love and service.