I’ve been thinking a lot about Lent and the opportunities it brings to us – as individuals, or as a people. It seems to me it is a time to step a little back from busy lives and reflect on past, present and future.
It is even more significant in the circumstances of the world at the moment, and perhaps in our lifetimes we have never seen – will never see – a time when people in general are more receptive to “stand and stare” – or pause and ponder.
As Christians we are quite familiar with the rhythm of the season – a time of reflection, then sadness, gratitude, and finally celebration. But I doubt many people today understand the connection between Pancake Day, Hot Cross Buns, and Easter Eggs. So I’ve been trying to think of ways to get the message “out there”.
My first thought was to give out a “Lent pack” to the neighbours in my street. Then I thought, why can’t we do this also for our fellowship? I know many people are keeping in touch online, but I’m guessing there are quite a few who aren’t being reached this way. I think to give something physical, particularly if it could be delivered by hand, and to give people a chance to take part in their own home, is quite valuable.
Another thing I am going to do myself is, every day of Lent, to get in touch with one person I am not in regular contact with. For me this will start with my extended family and old school friends.
Although we can’t use the church building to invite people to events, we can make use of the outside fencing – we can put up encouraging verses / prayers / reflections, and invite people to add their prayers/prayer requests; and/or poster/banner display.
Scripture Union have a Treasure Hunt (for children) which may be worth exploring,.
We could encourage people to put up displays in their windows at home (like the crosses last year or the “hope” for Advent); and this is something we could do on the church windows too. Or maybe make an Easter Garden?
I am going to be following the Church of England “Live Lent” campaign “God’s Story/Our Story” by email. There are booklets available to buy if people want to follow this at home.
Again for those at home, there is a series of reflections by Hilary Bond called “Through the Window” which allow you to connect with Lent when you can’t / don’t want to go outside. They’re available from this Facebook group.
I’m intending to do one a week, but I haven’t got them all thought out yet.
Each will include:
- Something to read (explanation of what this week is about)
- Something to cook (recipe)
- Something to do or puzzle over (quiz, wordsearch) / window display / treasure hunt
- Reply slip so they can let me know if they don’t want to receive them
For example, this week will include
- Read: Lent leaflet and Love Hearts with a message about love
- Make / do: Card with cross on front in “ashes” (charcoal); children to put glitter glue (provided) on top, then display in window or add message and send to someone
- Recipe: Pancakes
- Puzzle: Pancake Day Quiz / tell us your favourite topping
I got these cards from eden.co.uk – they are very small, but you do get 50 in a box!
You can either colour them in yourself or let the recipient colour them, depending on what you think the recipient would prefer.
Posters, banners, books etc. can be purchased from CPO.org.uk
In Search of Easter is a trail-based treasure hunt from Scripture Union for children and families, using a series of videos and activities to encourage conversation and help crack a code.
The Church of England’s Lent resources theme for 2021, building on the success of recent years, is #LiveLent: God’s Story, Our Story.
Premier’s GiveHim5 has exciting daily missions with a purpose. All challenges can be done in 5 minutes so fit into your day – although you can take as long as you like!
Something different each day – sharing faith, demonstrating the love of Jesus, loving your neighbour, spending time with God, worshipping God….
Sign up here for Tearfund’s daily lent devotional.