By Christine V. Hides
Lent is the church season of getting ready for the great mystery of Easter. During this reflective time we seek to focus on turning our lives more fully toward God. While you may be familiar with giving up chocolate or eating fish on Fridays, there are many more Lenten traditions that help people of all ages prepare for the joy of Easter.
Shrove Tuesday: Tuesday, March 5 is also called Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It is a day of celebration and feasting on the day before the reflective season of Lent. Pancake dinners and pretzel making are fun ways to begin the conversation at home. P*Wee Club will meet this day to learn about special Lenten foods and traditions. See the registration information below.
Is Ash Wednesday appropriate for kids? Yes! On March 6 at 4 p.m. there will be a short service with ashes in the sanctuary planned especially for families with children. We will begin Lent by remembering that we are human, made of the same atoms, matter and dust as all creation. We will wonder together about what it means to be amazing and imperfect creatures whom God loves dearly. We will place ashes from last year’s palm branches in a cross on our foreheads—in the same place where the water of baptism was or will be placed. Children experience, in the visible cross of ashes, that God made us, that God loves us no matter what, and that we are a part of God’s family, the body of Christ. Families are also welcome to attend at services 10:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m.
Lent: During Lent you will notice that the church color has changed to purple. Our chapels and Sunday school classes include special songs, prayers and Bible stories about Jesus’s last weeks. At home, place a purple cloth somewhere visible to remind you of the season. Choose a special practice—prayers, dinner conversations, or special giving. Simple, family-friendly ideas can be found in the activity section.
May Lent be a time of reorienting our lives toward what matters while opening up to renewal and an abundance of life in preparation for the joy and wonder of Easter.