These ideas come from Living the Good News, a lectionary-based curriculum from Morehouse Education Resources.
In other centuries, Christians had fixed rules by which to keep or observe Lent. Particularly in matters of food and drink, the Church devised such guidelines as no meat during Lent. In our time, the Church invites us to choose our own ways of renewing our commitments. Among the many possibilities are:
Self-examination and Repentance: The word repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia, literally “a change in direction”. Christian self- examination and repentance are not about wallowing in guilt over past choices, but about seeing new choices we can make and finding the support we need to make those choices daily. A father apologizes sincerely to his teenaged daughter. A young girl decides not to participate the next time her friends are teasing the unpopular newcomer. A woman decides to change jobs rather than continue making a product she doesn’t respect. All these people are choosing repentance: they are changing the direction of their lives.
Prayer, Fasting and Self-denial: The Church links these together as another way to remind us that prayer is not just a set of words we say, but a life we live. In other times, fasting might have meant only one meal per day, taken after sundown. Growing up, many of us might have given up candy for Lent. In our own day, it might be time that we need to deny ourselves in order to give to others. One person might choose to cut back the time she spends on the computer in order to be more present to her family. Another person might choose to give up television one night in order to help out at his local soup kitchen. A Lenten Prayer Tree might be a way of praying together as a family.
Reading and Meditating on God’s Holy Word: Hearing the stories of our heritage, the stories that invite us into new ways of encountering God, ourselves and our world can help us deal with the pressures we face as we strive to make new choices for ourselves and our households.
Households with children can:
Households of adults or adults and teenagers can:
A household with a single adult can:
“In these days, let us add something beyond the usual measure of our service, such as private prayers and abstinence in food and drink. Let each one, over and above the measure prescribed for him, offer God something of his freewill in the joy of the Holy Spirit.” St. Benedict Rule for his monks