I’ve always loved to be on a journey. To discover new places, meet new people, experience different cultures. I’ve been blessed to travel to parts of Europe, Central America, Hawaii,, and Hawaii and much of Canada. I’m always amazed that no matter how different the folk I meet in these places and on these journeys are, the laughter, the kindness, even the helpfulness seems to be consistent. It’s great to try new foods, discover the uniqueness of specific cultures, see the different architecture, etc.
But in all places, I’ve noticed mothers and fathers want their children to be happy, know peace in their lives, be safe, learn. Love and romance seem to be consistent among cultures. And while the music changes from place to place, people to people, culture to culture – the joy it brings to those playing and listening to it seems to touch hearts, bring smiles, invoke dancing, and elicit clapping identically.
Lent is a journey of the heart and of the Spirit. God is moving us through the experience of discipleship, worship, mission, and ministry to a new, fuller, deeper, more meaningful understanding of grace, who God is, who we are in God’s love, and how we may more fully live as beloved. (Wow, now there’s a run-on sentence!)
These six weeks of Lent are so precious! This journey, from the mount of transfiguration into Jerusalem, to the cross, beyond the cross to an empty grave, can indeed be life-changing! I encourage you to attend – it will deepen your and your family’s spiritual health and growth. It all begins with intentionality. Any journey begins with intention and planning. As one packs for the adventure, taking the things they believe will help and meet the needs on the journey, so in the same way, what will help and meet the needs of you and your family as you journey together over these weeks of Lent?
Here are some ideas:
Be intentional at attending worship on the Sundays of Lent and Holy Week. Worshipping as a family is one of the healthiest and restoring activities that will develop God’s Spirit within you and your family’s connectedness (both to God and to each other). After worship, perhaps at the noon meal or some time after, share around the table what were the most engaging, interesting, fun moments of worship. How did it make each one feel? What did you take from it?
Prayer - both individually and as a family. Nothing I can think of unites, restores, affirms, and grows the love amongst family as much as prayer. Parents, carve out time each day to lift in prayer each child individually. Have each person write down one or two important events, challenges, tasks, opportunities each day – then exchange slips - and through the day lift one another in prayer. Or at the end of the day, gather and make a list together of all you can think of to thank God for.
Read scripture together and on your own. We all know the great benefit of reading to our children. What a great way to develop your children mentally and spiritually - by reading stories from the Bible to them. Find a children’s illustrated Bible if you can, and read the stories from it. It will have all the ones that grab their attention and share Jesus’ life. Take time to read scripture for yourself.
Find two or three friends you really can trust and build a covenant group: a place where you can share truth and really open your heart. A group where - in patience, kindness, and trust - you can gently hold each other accountable, encourage, support, and build true friendships.
These are the necessities for an intentional, maturity building, renewing, exciting, disciple-making Lenten Journey. May we all, as a faith family, brothers and sisters united in Christ and leaning on God’s grace journey well and journey together as Christ calls us forward growing in our discipleship.