Here are five ways you can observe Ash Wednesday at home with your friends or family. You should be able to do everything with stuff you have around the house. Let us know how these work for you! And, don't forget to sign up for our new "forty" devotional series .
STATION 1: DIRT
We are not immortal, nor are we invincible. As human beings, we share one thing universally: we all die. Our flesh eventually becomes dirt. Head to your local home improvement store (or your garage) and get a bag of potting soil. Touch it. Smell it. Bury your hands it. Take your time. This is what we are. And this is why we need God.
… you are soil, and to the soil you shall return. (Genesis 3:19, CEB)
With God, what we are isn’t nearly as important as whose we are. You belong to God. You are God’s child. Don’t put your hope in the things that will die and become dirt, but in the things that endure. We don’t live forever, but the things of God that come by way of our living do outlast our death. Pledge yourself to the things of God, and defy death.
STATION 2: HEAVY
To take on the things of God that defy death, we must let go of the things that weigh us down. Find a heavy object in your home. Pick it up and think about the things that burden you. As you struggle with it, remember how much work being burdened by insignificant things really is.What in your life is a heavy burden that never touches your soul? What prevents you from being uplifted by the Spirit of God?
Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, CEB)
Time to give that burden up. Let go of what burdens you so Christ can give you what transforms you. Write down what you need to be rid of and put it in your garbage can.
STATION 3: REFLECT
Read this selection from John. Listen for a word or phrase that attracts you. Write it down.
Read the scripture again. Listen for the personal resonance of the word or phrase selected. Ask: “How is my life touched?” Take a few moments to journal or draw in response to this question.
Read the scripture for a third time. Once again, listen for the places in which the scripture personally resonates. Ask: “Is there an invitation to respond here?” Take a few moments to journal or draw in response to this question.
Now, pray about the ways in you feel called to respond. If you are in a group setting, each person could be invited to pray for the person next to them as well. Consider letting your response become a discipline for the next 40 days.
STATION 4: FITTING
Look through your closet. Are there things you still have that don’t fit? Are there things you own that are falling apart? The things we fast from in Lent are often things we should just get rid of … like those ill-fitting and/or tattered clothes. Of course, those are things we should rid ourselves of forever, not just for 40 days.
Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. (Matthew 11:29, CEB)
Consider Lent a time when you get a new spiritual wardrobe … one that permanently replaces the old stuff. Put on a life that fits better. Put on something that will allow you to be yourself and work in the ways God is calling you.
STATION 5: COMMUNITY
Though it may feel like it, Lent is not a solitary activity. It is something we participate in as community. Community is what carries us through this season of self-reflection and renewal.
Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. (Philippians 2:4, CEB)
Invite your support community over for a game of Scrabble or Bananagrams. Using the tiles available, add your best one-word answers to these questions:
- What is it that you value about your support community?
- What do you offer to it that helps it grow?
- What does it give you that helps you take more risks as a disciple of Jesus?
Build on the work of others to create what you dream your community could become.