Lent at Home
Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed.
You give us a spirit of loving reverence for you, our Father, and of willing service to our neighbor.
As we recall the great events that gave us a new life in Christ, you bring to perfection within us the image of your Son.
4 Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the LORD:
What wrong did your ancestors find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
6 They did not say, “Where is the LORD
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that no one passes through,
where no one lives?”
7 I brought you into a plentiful land
to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
and made my heritage an abomination.
8 The priests did not say, “Where is the LORD?”
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after things that do not profit.
9 Therefore once more I accuse you,
says the LORD,
and I accuse your children’s children.
10 Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has ever been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for something that does not profit.
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the LORD,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug out cisterns for themselves,
that can hold no water.
1 Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
4 For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over the land of Egypt.
I hear a voice I had not known:
6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7 In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.Selah
8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10 I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
11 “But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13 O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14 Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,
and their doom would last forever.
16 I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
John 7:14-31, 37-39
25 Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? 27 Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” 28 Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. 29 I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” 30 Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Worthy Things:Lenten Symbols in Our Home
Choose to let your home be a place full of the holy things that help raise our minds and hearts to God. Our world is full of so many images that lure our minds and hearts elsewhere. Here are some symbols that will carry the ongoing meaning we give them, for us and for our families and loved ones.
You may or may not have a cross or crucifix in your home. If not, Lent might be a wonderful time to buy one; or you may have a jewelry cross, or a place in your home where the architecture forms one. You can even just draw one. Whatever you choose, let it be a powerful, stirring reminder of God’s love.
Imagine having a candle in a central place in your home. Pray over it anytime, but it is especially meaningful upon waking or just before sleeping. Remember the words of baptism: ” Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life.” And imagine if we light this candle whenever we feel tempted away from the Light of Jesus, when we are experiencing tensions in our home, whenever we need comfort.
The Word is so important for us during Lent. Perhaps the prominent presence of a Bible in our home can represent for us our desire for God’s Word in our lives. Imagine the experience that could be ours if – when we feel a new inspiration or a softening of our heart, or just a sense of God’s love – we pick up that Bible, open it to any page, and read.
Perhaps a bowl of sand can help us remember our journey. God led the people in their journey in the desert. Jesus himself reenacted that journey to face his own temptations. The desert can be a place of retreat, where there is a freedom from distractions.
A simple bowl of water, in a central place, can be transformed into an ongoing reminder of our journey to the font of baptism for the renewal of commitment and life in Christ. Perhaps you can pray over it: “Lord, may this water remind us of our baptism and be a blessing for this home, where our dying and rising in you is lived each day.”
A Symbol of Almsgiving
Lent is a time of reflection and repentance, of sacrifice and self-examination. But Lent is also a season of hope — hope in the work God is doing in the world, even in the most challenging times. Click to download and print these Jar Wrappers from ELCA World Hunger, attach them to a jar or box and place prominently in your home. See how often you can empty your pockets for others during this season. Bring your labeled contributions to CtK anytime – we’ll make sure they get to ELCA World Hunger. Learn more at https://community.elca.org/40days.
Help us to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. May we serve Jesus through our generosity to others. Let us always remember to turn to you for all our needs. Keep us steadfast in your covenant of grace, and teach us the wisdom that comes only through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.