An Embodied Lent for Kids and Grownups

Penny and Marilee accompanied me this year for the Ash Wednesday “stations” at our church—an embodied Lent for kids and grownups.

Each station contains an activity, a prayer, and a few passages from Scripture. The first station is an invitation to become “moldable” by God. We take a piece of molding clay and hold it in our hands and sit with it, squeezing and flattening it again and again, until it becomes warm and pliable. As we do this, we ask God to warm our hearts, to make us receptive to the movement of the Spirit, so that we are ready to be shaped and formed into the people we have been created to be.

There’s a station in which we consider our mortality, another to consider our sin, and another to lament the brokenness of the world and write down the sorrows of our age on a paper that gets added to throughout the day as a witness to communal prayer. There’s a station for us to write down whether we want to give or take up anything during this Lenten season, and there’s the final station of receiving ashes in the sign of the cross on our foreheads. 

Embodied Lent

Nothing profound happened as we went through the stations. The girls felt a little self-conscious about the ashes. They argued a little over who got to read the prayers and scriptures out loud. I felt a little annoyed that I didn’t have more time to contemplate it all. 

But we showed up. We felt the clay in our palms and traced a cross through ashes with our fingertips. We knelt to light candles and closed our eyes to remember the realm of the Spirit whom we cannot always see with our eyes open. We brought the season of Lent into our bodies, just as we are invited to do throughout the upcoming forty days.

I trust that in bringing our bodies, we are issuing an invitation to our hearts and souls to also become open and warm and expectant in the presence of God.

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