Written by Susan Payne, Director of Children’s Ministry
We have started talking to the children about Lent and Lenten reflections during Sunday School and Wednesday Night Bible Study. As parents, Lent offers us an opportunity to extend the conversation at home by teaching them at an early age about the value of quiet reflective time. This means time without electronic devices including Television. Jesus had a lot of reflective of time during his 40 days in the desert. For us this period of time allows us to re-evaluate our actions and devote ourselves to becoming more “Christ-like”, growing in our faith.
During this past Wednesday night’s Children’s Bible Study Whitney Lowe led a discussion about how to observe Lent. She mentioned adding something into our lives that is new or removing something from our daily lives. These additions and subtractions are reminders that we need to be mindful of what we do on a daily basis. As a sat there listening to the discussion it made me think of how the choices we make have ripple effects in our lives. We very often forget to stop and think first. Stopping to reflect and be mindful before making a choice is a good practice to begin at this time. The younger we teach it to our children, the more useful it will be as a tool in their toolbox for life.
Following Jesus’ baptism, when he retreated to the desert to pray and fast for 40 days, the devil tried three times to tempt Jesus. Jesus had choices to make each time, choices that would have consequences. Was he going to serve God’s will or be tempted by the devil? The devil was offering him self-serving options to sate his hunger by turning stone into bread, sate his ego by proving that even if he jumps off of a cliff he is so important that the Angels will swoop in to catch him, or sate his material desire by worshiping Satan in exchange for ruling over all Kingdoms. Each time he was tempted Jesus leaned on and quoted scripture to make his choices, thereby, leaning on his faith to guide him. We are now in the desert and Jesus is with us as we walk it. We have the gift of our faith and the scripture left behind for us. We, as adults, know the path that the Good Shepherd has laid out for us. We can spend time in lent reflecting on where this path is going and see if we have strayed too far, readjusting as necessary. If we teach the children to be mindful and “Be Still” for a moment at this age we open the door for them to see where the path is and how they return to it. Lent is truly a gift for all.