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 to learn about Holy Week. Help this time to be a holy time for us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Bible Story: Mark 1:1-11
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=Mark+11%3A1-11&version=ERV
We used the DK Children’s Illustrated Bible for our resource. The story, on page 256, is called “Jesus Enters Jerusalem.” You can purchase one here: https://www.dk.com/us/book/9780756602611-the-childrens-illustrated-bible/
Discuss as a family:
Why do you think that Jesus wants to borrow and ride on a donkey that has never been ridden? How would you feel if you knew that your teacher was going to try to ride an animal like that? Would you want to give it a try?
Have you ever been to a parade? What was that experience like? What would it be like to be at Jesus’ parade?
Why do you think that people put their coats on the road and cut branches off of trees? What would you do to celebrate Jesus?
The crowd shouted “Hosanna!” which means “Save us!” Why do you think they shouted that? What do we need saving from or for?
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: Branches 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, a small candle, several small seeds or dried beans and some small pieces of green cardstock to cut into branches (use the photo for an example). Discuss some reasons that you have to praise or thank God. As you talk about each reason, add a branch to your dish. Your family might respond with “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!”
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: Palm Crosses
After worship on Sunday, we turned our palms from church into Palm crosses. Here’s how they turned out (excuse the crumbs leftover from Communion at home!):
We used this tutorial to help refresh my memory:
Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you.
Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to learn more about you and our faith. Help us to continue to follow you all the way from Palm Sunday to Easter. In your name we pray, Amen.