This year, our family is worshipping from home on Sunday mornings with our home congregation. Each Sunday, we prepare Communion, light a candle, grab our coloring sheets and colors, and make our favorite hot beverages before worship. I thought that during Lent, it would be good to dig out a practice from a few years ago, Lent in a Dish, and begin our worship preparation each week by adding something to our dish until we reach the joy of Easter. We will keep it in the living room, where we worship, and it will help us to remember our Lenten journey each time we gather there, no matter the purpose.
You can read more about the original “Lent in a Bag” resource here: http://www.buildfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/in-a-bag-trifold-Cuthbert-4-1.pdf You can read more about the Lenten dish gardens here: http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2013/03/mini-resurrection-garden-easter-craft.html
(Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear God, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn Jesus as the light of the world. Help our time together to be a holy time, just as Nicodemus’ visit to Jesus was holy. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Bible Story: John 3:1-21
Read Jesus’ words about following him in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3%3A1-21&version=ERV
We used the Spark Story Bible for our resource. The story, on page 416, is called “The Light of the World.” You can purchase one here: https://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/9780806670492/Spark-Story-Bible-Sunday-School-Edition
Discuss as a family:
Have you ever been up late at night? What was that experience like?
Have you ever had a lot of questions? How did you go about getting those questions answered? Who helped you to find the answers?
In our story, Jesus says that darkness happens when we are mean, hateful and horrible. Tell a story about a time that was dark in your life. What was that experience like for you?
Jesus also says that light happens when we love each other and help one another. Tell a story about a time that was light in your life. What was that experience like for you?
Song: I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
This is my favorite Lent song for kids. It gets the somber mood, but has a way to get the wiggles out. We held hands and walked in place while singing. If you wish to take this song further, think about what else you want Jesus to do with you: pray? sing? sleep? play? Sing an extra verse for each of your ideas.
Activity: Candle in the Sand
Before Lent began, we gathered all of the supplies we needed for the whole Lenten season Lent in a Dish. You can find the supply list here: https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2021/02/11/lent-in-a-dish-2021-preparing-for-lent/
This week, we need the dish, sand, Jesus figure, a small wooden cross, a coin, and a small candle (ours is an LED tealight). The light reminds us of Jesus speaking to Nicodemus about being the light of the world. Where are some places that you have seen Jesus’ light in the world? Offer them as thanksgivings to God as you turn on your candle (or light it) and place it in the dish. Your family might take turns giving thanks, with each family member responding to one another with “Thanks be to God.”
Place the dish in a place where your family can see them over the course of the week. Ours will be in the living room on a shelf, which is where we gather to worship from home.
Bonus Activity: Black and White Thaumatropes
I found a neat meditative practice that is easy to make. You can get the instructions here:
We will make ours out of one black disc and one white disc, but you can make them as fancy as you want! Maybe a candle on one side, and a flame on the other?
As we wind and turn our thaumatropes, we will talk to God about things that are “dark” (difficult) in the our lives, and thank God for those things which bring light (joy) into our lives.
Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you.
(Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to learn about Jesus’ visit to Nicodemus. We thank you for bringing light and joy into our lives, and ask you to make us into the light of love of God to all. In your name we pray, Amen.