I grew up Baptist and we didn’t celebrate Lent. It wasn’t condemned or anything, it just wasn’t talked about. One of my grandmothers had grown up in a different branch of the Protestant denominational tree and did celebrate it. She gave up desserts. As a child, that seemed unbelievable to me, and I really didn’t understand it at all.
Now I’m not Baptist and I’m enjoying studying different aspects of Christianity. Is Lent necessary? Am I going to hell if I don’t participate? No. Can it be a form of legalism? Yep. But so many things in the church can become legalistic if we let them. If used as a time to pause and reflect, to “be still and know that I am God,” I think it can be very helpful, at least in my life.
So here’s what’s in the works at our house. First, my husband and I are reading a lovely book, Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter. It’s a great devotional book. There are readings for every day by famous authors–from Dorothy Sayers to C.S. Lewis to Martin Luther, Madeleine L’Engle and people in between. I highly recommend it! It is over most of my children’s heads, so I have other activities planned for us as a family. I’ve listed more than you can use, but take a look:
Here’s a website with some nice Lenten ideas, called Domestic-Church.com:Fridge Art. I especially like the Lenten Cross, an advent-type reading set for Easter. It gives readings for every day, walking through the Bible and retelling the story from creation to crucifixion, the prophecies that were fulfilled and concentrating on why Jesus came for us. From Creche to Cave gives an idea to make your own little tomb and figures for your children to use in their play, as you read the story of Jesus to your little ones.
Here’s an interesting page on the history of Lent and how it’s 40 days long even if it’s 46 days til Easter. Who knew?
And I would be remiss if I didn’t link to Ann’s thoughts and practices of Lent, that are so much clearer than mine. I have the Advent/Lent wreath Ann’s son sells and am planning on using it this season as well.
This year, I’ve added an iTunes playlist of songs for Lenten meditation and worship time. Don’t be too impressed–I can’t figure out how to rename it in our iTunes folder, so it’s just called “playlist.” I’m sure there are better lists than mine, but this is what I have. It’s kind of an eclectic mix of Lent/Holy Week/Easter set in all sorts of styles and even one in Latin and another in Hebrew. What can I say? My husband’s a musician:). All these are available on iTunes, exept the Rob Still songs, and I linked to his page so you can find those.
- “Trisagion” performed by Fernando Ortega
- “If I Flee on Morning Wings” performed by Fernando Ortega
- “Jesus Paid it All” performed by Fernando Ortega
- “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” performed by Fernando Ortega
- “Jesus Let Us Come to Know You” performed by Michael Card
- “Lift Up Your Heads/King of Kings” performed by Rob Still at Belmont Church
- “Let Faith Rise Up” performed by Rob Still at Belmont Church
- “Be Still My Soul” performed by Beth Nielsen Chapman
- “Dona Noblis Pacem” performed by Beth Nielsen Chapman, Donald Shaw and Michael McGoldrick (in Latin)translation: “Give us Peace”
- “Your Kindness” performed by Leslie Phillips
- “The Lord’s Prayer (Avinu)” performed by Meha Shamayim (in Hebrew)
- “Fix Your Eyes on Jesus” performed by Twila Paris
- “In the Light” performed by Charlie Peacock
- “Pie Jesu” performed by Sarah Brightman and Paules Miles-Kingston
- “Break Every Chain” performed by Kristene DiMarco
- “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” performed by John Hartord from O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack
- Down to the River to Pray performed by Alison Kraus from O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack
- “Peace (A Communion Blessing from St. Joseph’s Square)” performed by Rich Mullins
- “Nothing but the Blood” performed by The Reach Band at Belmont Church
- “Worthy is the Lamb” performed by Brian Johnson
- “Oh Crimson Flow” (sorry, I don’t know who the artist is…)
- “When I Look at the Blood” by Godfrey Birtill
- “Lead Me to the Cross” by Hillsong United
- “Nothing but the Blood” performed by Jesus Culture
- “Carried to the Table” performed by Leeland
- “O Sacred Head” performed by Amy Grant
If you have suggestions of songs I could add, I’d appreciate it.
As we walk toward Resurrection Sunday, here are five activities to think about using to celebrate this most special day, then six more. This year I’d like to add the Lenten Cross readings to our wreath time in the evenings. Today I’ll print out the sheet about the origin of Lent and talk about it and I hope we can make the cave at some point in the next few weeks. We already celebrate Passover and it truly is one of the highlights of the year for us. But these are just a few of the long list of activities. There are more activities here than any one family could do. I’m just giving you a variety, so you can choose a few that are right for your family. Start small and manageable. Rest assured, if you were to come to my home, we wouldn’t be tackling the entire litany of activities. Choose prayerfully and wisely and enjoy this time with the Lord and your family.
If you have any other ideas, please share them with us all under the comments. I love to see how other people practice and celebrate Lent!