• Ash Wednesday takes its name from the ashes used as early as the 3rd century to publicly signify contrition. With roots in the ancient Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, it is a day to honestly face one’s self – to be one with God, our neighbor, all of creation and ourselves. It began to be observed in the 7th century as a time for disciplining penitents. By the 11th century, Christians had come to recognize the universal need for self-examination and repentance. Believers began to be blessed with ashes on their foreheads as they began their Lenten fast as a reminder that we are dust, and to dust we return.
Online Lent Resources
Several Ways for Families to celebrate Lent:
Simple Family Lent Ideas: http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/p/family-lent-ideas.html
Children's Books for Lent: http://www.picturebooktheology.com/2016/02/pbt-books-for-lent-and-easter.html
Adult daily devotion via an emial and quick video: http://ssje.org/ssje/5marksoflove/
A webinar our Christian Formation Director co-hosted:
Three ways to Experience Lent through Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving:
Fasting and Feasting During Lent
Make more room for God this Lent by choosing not to do some things (fasting) and by choosing to do other things (feasting). Fasting is an integral part of Lent. Traditionally it has included reducing the amount of food we eat and abstaining from meat. We fast to allow our physical hunger to remind us of our spiritual hunger, our need for God. The purpose of fasting is to turn our attention to both God and others.
Things to fast from…
• watching television • using foul language • buying new things: clothes, music, magazines, jewelry • snack or junk foods • spending money on entertainment • being angry at other people • holding resentments • gossiping • being dishonest
Feasting- The dictionary defines a feast as “something that gives unusual or abundant pleasure.” Jesus tells us what gives us the most real and lasting joy: it is sharing ourselves in love for others, for our friends, our family, and also for our neighbors in need. During Lent, we pay attention to feasting on joy, compassion, service, and hope so that we might grow in faith all year long.
Things to feast on…
• prayer • acts of kindness to others • forgiveness • participating at Church • participating in liturgy and Eucharist • giving our time in service • participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation • acts of service and charity • giving money or food/clothing to people who are hungry or in need.
+ Read the story of Palm Sunday, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, in the Gospels of Matthew 21:1-11 or Mark 11:1-10 or Luke 19:28-40.
+Read the story of the Last Supper of Jesus in chapter 13 of the Gospel of John, verses 1-15.
+Read the story of Easter chapter 20 of the Gospel of John, verses 1-9.
+Pray the “Our Father” three times today—in the morning when you get up, at noontime,
and when you go to bed.
+Say a prayer for someone who is sick today.
+Pray for a forgiving heart and ask the people you have hurt to forgive you.
+Participate in Ash Wednesday services with your family.
+Rent the video, The Prince of Egypt, The Greatest Miracle Ever Told, or Jesus of Nazareth
+List three blessings you have been given. Say a prayer to God, giving thanks for the
blessings in your life.
+Pray for the children and families who are homeless, and think about ways you and your
family might help them.
Giving to others is important throughout the year, but especially during Lent. Households can prayerfully consider what portion of their income they will share with those in need. Collecting money or food for those in need is an act of discipleship that recalls the practice of almsgiving of the early Church. Our parish is engaging this Lent in helping Rebuilding South Sudan Through Education, the foundation Moses Deng Joknhail II started to provide education for the children displaced by war in South Sudan. Moses is one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" who trekked over 1000 miles as a 9 year old child to escape the killing in his village. He was in the Kakuma Refugee Camp (site of The Good Lie movie that was recently released) until 2001 when he arrived in the US. We were blessed to have Moses as a parishioner when he lived in Duluth in 2011-2012. Consider using a family box or jar/bowl for coins located at a central place where the family gathers for meals and prayers of thanksgiving to gather money to help the girls and boys of Panyang, South Sudan receive an education, medical treatment and food. Moses will be at St. Paul's on March 22!
Fast, Pray, Give Calendar- click here for Busted Halo's 40 day Fast, Pray, Give Calendar. Each day throughout Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, the calendar’s link for that day will become active, revealing a Daily Jolt for spiritual contemplation relating to Lent, and new and practical ideas for fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
Traditions of Lent:
Liturgical Color is purple and is used in vestments and altar linens for penitence and royalty.
* Ashes (prepared from the previous year’s palms symbolize our mortality and sorrow for our sins. Job (Job 42:6) and the king of Ninevah (Jonah 3:6) put ashes on their foreheads as a sign of repentance, while also wearing sackcloth
* Putting Away the Alleluia: The Church has the custom of not speaking or singing the word “Alleluia” during Lent. Expressing joy, putting it “away” for Lent is like putting away a favorite toy for a while –to appreciate it better later. Churches often take banners down; eliminate flowers in the sanctuary. A symbolic ritual to help children move into this season is to “say goodbye” to the Alleluia.
*Making Pretzels: The pretzel has been used during Lent for over 1500 years. It is thought that originally pretzels were made by monks to resemble arms crossed in prayer. These breads were called “little arms.” This can have deep spiritual meaning for us during Lent. Since basically only flour and water are used, pretzels can remind us of fasting. Click here for more info on Lent and Pretzels! Pretzel kits are available in the parish hall!
Here is a simple recipe:
Ingredients: 1 cake yeast, 1 ½ cup warm water, 1 tsp. salt, 1 T. sugar, 4 cups flour
Directions: Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar for about 5 minutes. Mix the flour
and salt and add yeast mixture. Knead well (7-8 minutes), adding more flour if necessary
to form firm dough. Let rise, covered, in a greased bowl until double. Preheat oven to
475°F. Divide dough into 32 equal parts. Roll each part into a snakelike strand, form
strand into pretzel shape, and place on greased baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and
sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Bake for about 10 minutes or until done.
Pretzel Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless these little breads. Each time we eat them may we be reminded of the special season we are in and that through prayer we will become better people to each other. Let us not forget those who are in need of our prayers daily. Keep your loving arms around us, O Father, to protect us always. Amen.
-some material taken from Sharon Ely Pearson of Church Publishing Incorporated and www.lifelongfaith.com