Last night, we marked the start of Lent with a little home devotional time. We usually attend a church service on Ash Wednesday, but quite honestly, at ages 5 and 2, evening services are hard on the kiddos and hard on Mama! Everyone is tired and wiggly; plus the solemnity of this particular service leaves me feeling on edge in a way that regular Sunday morning worship does not. The dim lights, the element of confession, the whole atmosphere leaves me feeling extra sensitive to every half-whisper, every dropped toy, and rolling crayon. So I declared a night of “church at home.”
I’ve always heard that one learns most through teaching, and I’m growing to believe that more and more. Teaching our kids about our faith is a joy and a delightful challenge. The process of turning long-held beliefs and practices into words and images that are meaningful to little ones helps me to keep old ways fresh and to really examine the “just because” feeling that slips into a life-long faith.
I snitched a baggie filled with ashes from my parents’ coal stove, and we let the boys touch the ashes (although they preferred to just squish the baggie). We read the first entry in the devotional My ABC Journey through Lent by Peter Mead (provided by our church). The evening’s entry used Genesis 3:19, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We talked about how our bodies go back to the earth, but our spirits are special. Our spirits get to go to Heaven. Our five-year-old wanted to argue about people being made out of dust. His teacher had explained that God made people out of nothing, and you know, teacher knows best. So we explored the relationship between God’s calling creation out of nothing and his final act of forming Adam out of the earth. Ultimately, we talked about how the death of Jesus on the cross allows us to be more than the dust of the ground. The exciting chain of conversation helped me to remember that Jesus is the thread that pulls together the entire narrative of time.
This is just the beginning of a journey of learning beside our children as we walk toward Easter.