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Lent in a Bag: An Activity for Church or Home

Lent in bag

“Might there be a stony place in you that needs transforming?  Some attitude or habit that, with a little attention, might even become a gift for you and others?”

 

 

 

What is Lent in a Bag?
We have discovered that distributing small bags (cloth, paper, or ziplock bags) with symbols of the season assists individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. In addition to the items, we include instructions, and reflections (on purple paper of course) to go with each item.

Instruction sheet
Attach a piece of paper with these (or similar) instructions to the outside of the bag:

“Here are two  suggestions for using the contents of this bag:
•  Choose one night of the week and invite those around your table to pick one of the symbols as a starting point for conversation for the whole group, including children.
•  For your own devotion (daily or weekly), choose one of the symbols for your own reflection as you make your way through the season of Lent.”

Sand
Place inside the bag in a sealable baggie. Include the following (or similar) reflection:

“Just between his baptism and the beginning of his adult ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days, ‘to be tested’. What constitutes wilderness in your life?  What have you learned there? What might you learn there?”

 Rock
Place inside the bag. Include the following (or similar) reflection:

“While in the wilderness, Jesus was invited to transform stone into bread. Though he resisted the temptation there and then, he became justly renowned for feeding people who were hungry for food, or for love, or for a word of encouragement, or for simple acceptance. Might there be a stony place in you that needs transforming? Some attitude or habit that, with a little attention, might even become a gift for you and others?”

Human Figure 
Use a clothespin or wooden figure. Place inside the bag with the following (or similar) reflection:

“Because Jesus was, as we confess, fully human, he gets us, understands us from inside our skin, and knows from experience that we’re each capable of great things, Godly things. And no matter what we do, he keeps on inviting us to join us in his work which has become our own. As you enter this Lent, what might you plan to do over these 40 days so that the Easter you will more closely reflect you and the Christ who lives in and through you?”

Candle
Place inside the bag. Include the following (or similar) reflection:

“Lent begins in the dimness of late winter and ends with the burst of bright spring. Jesus is, according to John’s gospel, ‘Light of the world’ and that Light, directing his attention to his disciples and through them to us, insists: ‘You are the light of the world. Don’t be hiding under some bushel basket.’  So where do you shine? How do you keep your light lit?”

 

Lent in bag

 

*Updates for 2016: Two adapted resources to supplement Lent in a Bag*
Tri-fold Instruction Booklet by Gail Jackins

Leader Guide for Individuals, Households, or Groups by Anne-Marie Miller

 

 


The Reverend Shawn Schreiner is the Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park, Illinois. Vicki Garvey is the Associate for Christian Formation in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. 

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9 Responses to “Lent in a Bag: An Activity for Church or Home”

  1. […] Lent in a Bag (a great tool for children’s time, church school or home use) […]

  2. […] Lent in a Bag A hands-on method for explaining the entire season, using tactile symbols packed into a bag. A terrific activity for all ages, at church or at home. […]

  3. Janet Roth says:

    Terrifc idea. This sounds more like “Epiphany” in a bag to me, however. That’s when the baptism/ temptation lessons come. Might add a small (wooden?) star and a question about the Magi being led by a star / who do you follow?

  4. […] is this great/cute idea we got from the Building Faith blog written by the folks at the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. […]

  5. […] Lent in a Bag by Shawn Schreiner and Vicki Garvey involves distributing small bags (cloth, paper, or ziplock bags) with symbols of the season to assist individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. In addition to the items, you can include instructions, and reflections (on purple paper of course) to go with each item. […]

  6. […] THIS is more of an activity than a craft. Its a bag of items that teach children about Lent, a great way to start a dialogue with your kids. […]

  7. […] not new for 2016, Lent in a Bag was featured on Building Faith three years ago and is gaining in popularity.  Created by Shawn […]

  8. […] in a Bag http://www.buildfaith.org/2013/02/08/lent-in-a-bag/ We have discovered that distributing small bags (cloth, paper, or ziplock bags) with symbols of the […]

  9. […] Teaching’s resource website, offers a small token that could go a long way during Lent with their ‘Lent in a Bag’ This bag- which can be used in church or at home- includes small tokens and accompanying […]

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