Friday, March 3, 2017

Family Resources for First Sunday in Lent

Appreciate every moment with your children.   Don't wish their childhood away.

One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car you drove, or what kind of house you lived in, or how many books you wrote, or what your clothes looked like.

But the world may be a little better because you were important in the life of a child.


Family Closeness
Pick a letter at random. Go around your family taking turns to say a different word beginning with that letter. Go around as many times as you can. Stop only when a word is repeated or you can’t think of any more.
(from New Games for Community by C. Gapes.)

Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What is the best thing and the worst thing that happened to you this week?
  • What is something that you might say thank you to God for this week?
  • What is one thing you think you are good at?
  • Tell each member of your family something you think they are good at.

With your family read: Matthew 4.1-11
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at

Questions for Discussion:
  • What things tempt you the most? When is it hard to resist temptation?
  • What were the three things that the Devil wanted to tempt Jesus with?
  • How did Jesus respond to each temptation?
  • What can this teach us about how to respond when we are tempted?

Prayer and Celebration
We are now entering the Season of Lent, the forty days preceding Easter Day. This is traditionally a time of repentance (saying sorry and turning from sin). The resources for prayer and celebration for the next six weeks will focus on ways your family might “celebrate” well this season. Lent is a good time to focus on God’s care and provision and on our dependence on him, but also on saying sorry.

Why do we have “seasons” of the church year? In a wonderful way, they help us to tell more fully the story of faith, the story of Jesus. During Advent, we are alerted to the coming of Christ, not only as a baby 2000 years ago, but also in looking forward to his return. In Epiphany, we become aware of the presence of God in our world and the mission of Christ to proclaim the redeeming kingdom of God. This season, Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter, focuses on repentance, turning from sin, turning from self-worship, remembering that God is our creator. Lent also focuses on the covenant or promises God has made with his people through the ages and now.

Lenten Thanksgiving Bowl

This week, place a bowl in the middle of your table. Place some blank strips of paper and a pen next to it. Each night spend some time writing things you would like to say thank you to God for. Place them in the bowl. Smaller children might like to draw pictures.

Prayers to use in Lent

Dear God,
thank you that your love
is deeper than the ocean
and bigger than the sky.
No matter what we do,
you still love us
and welcome us home.

Dear God
Help us when we hurt.
Help us to know what to do.
Help us forgive.

App for Lent
The Anglican Board of Mission has a fantastic app that has a prayer, reflection and activity for every day of Lent.
For 2017, the reflection material is called “Into the Desert.” Download your free ABM Lent smartphone app here:
Further versions of related material can be found here:

Anglican Board of Mission – Australia
One mission organisation in Australia that does fantastic work is ABM-A. Their vision statement is: ABM believes in a world where all people enjoy God's promise of love, hope and justice.Their website is worth checking out. In particular look in their resources menu under Lent.

ABM-A has a Lenten Appeal every year.  This year they are supporting three different programs in Australia and overseas.

Family Time
Use an old newspapers to make costumes for your family. Have a fashion parade and take some photos. Make “formal dress” and wear them to the table for a special dinner.

[Having trouble playing?  When Jesus said we must change and become like children, he could have meant many things.  One of them surely is about playing.  Play is a serious way of being together and learning together.  This is the principle activity through which children learn and grow.  A corollary to that is laughter.  The God who brings laughter [see Sarah’s words in Genesis 21.6] speaks through Jesus and tells us to change and . . . play like children? So let go, have fun, and live life with enthusiasm!]

(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

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