Lent for children & families: A Lenten version of a “Jesse Tree”

March 2, 2009

I’ve been meaning for a few days to post a link I included in an earlier Lenten Links compilation as a stand-alone entry here.  The resource is found at FridgeArt – a great site for crafts and family resources for the liturgical year.

Here is the Fridge Art Lenten Crafts & Activities page.

Note especially their idea for a Lenten Cross — which is basically very similar to an Advent Jesse tree in that it provides a structured way to appreciate prophecies about Christ’s crucifixion. Here’s how the Lenten Cross is described — this looks to be a really excellent idea, and all the Scripture references for each day of Lent are provided!

This family activity is similar to the Jesse Tree used at Advent. The Jesse Tree follows both the family tree of Jesus and the history of the first Advent when God’s people awaited the coming of the Messiah. The Lenten Cross simultaneously follows the Messianic prophecies through the Old Testament and matches each with its fulfillment in the Crucifixion narrative.

Like the Jesse Tree, your family Lenten Cross can be made of many materials. Some options are: a banner with Velcro dots for fastening, a wooden cross with small nails or hooks, or a laminated cardboard poster with reuseable sticky putty.


Here is the list of Scripture verses and corresponding image or symbol for each day of Lent:

Ash Wednesday Even Now (Joel 2:12-13) Image: ashes – as in the sign we receive on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday
2nd Day of Lent (Thursday) Original sin (Genesis 3:1-20) Image: an apple, or a small plastic snake
3rd Day (Friday) Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-12) Image: two men, one standing with his fist raised
4th Day (Saturday) Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6:5-13, 9:8-11) Image: picture of Noah’s ark

5th Day (Monday) Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18) Image: a lamb
6th Day (Tuesday) Jesus and Abraham (John 8:31-40) Image: a chain – symbol of the slavery Christ frees us from
7th Day (Wednesday) Moses and the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21) Image: picture of the two tablets
8th Day (Thursday) The Covenant with Abraham and Moses (Jeremiah 31:31-33) Image: an outstretched hand
9th Day (Friday) A New Covenant (Luke 22:15-20) Image: two hands clasped together
10th Day (Saturday) 2 Great Commandments (Matthew 22:34-40) Image: notice of the two great commandments

11th Day (Monday) Forty Years in the Desert (Numbers 14:2-4, 10-112, 17-19, 33-34) Image: small piece of bread to represent manna
12th Day (Tuesday) Forty Days in the Desert (Luke 4:1-13) Image: a stone/picture of a city to represent Satan’s temptation
13th Day (Wednesday) The Day of the Lord (Joel 2:10-16) Image: a trumpet
14th Day (Thursday) Jonas and the Whale (Jonah 1:1 – 4:11) Image: a plastic whale or fish, a picture of a large whale
15th Day (Friday)Whom Shall I send? (Isaiah 6:8-10) Image: a red coal
16th Day (Saturday) Trust and Rescue (Psalm 22) Image: a small globe

17th Day (Monday) Prophetic Role of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1: 4-8, 3:12-15) Image: a shepherd’s staff
18th Day (Tuesday)Story of Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-12) Image: a chariot and horses
19th Day (Wednesday) Story of Elisha (2 Kings 4:38-44) Image: basket of bread and fishes
20th Day (Thursday) Loaves and Fishes (Mark 6:34-44) Image: basket of bread and fish
21th Day (Friday) Gabriel and the Anointed One (Daniel 9:15-24) Image: a picture of the angel Gabriel
22nd Day (Saturday) Anointing of David (1Sam. 16:1-13) Image: a horn or jug of oil

23rd Day (Monday) Anointing at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13) Image: vial of perfume
24th Day (Tuesday) John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17, 80) Image: pitcher of water
25th Day (Wednesday) Prophecy of New Order (Micah 4:1-7) Image: a sword and a pruning hook
26th Day (Thursday) Fulfillment of all Prophecies (Luke 24:44-48) Image: picture of a book, the Scriptures
27th Day (Friday) Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36) Image: a tent
28th Day (Saturday) Entrance Into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-9) Image: small plastic donkey or piece of palm

29th Day (Monday) Zeal for your house consumes me (Psalms. 69:6-25) Image: a musical instrument
30th Day (Tuesday) Driving the moneylenders from the temple (John 2:13-25) Image: a knotted piece of rope
31st Day (Wednesday) Judas (Matthew 26:14-25) Image: silver coins – to represent Judas’ 30 pieces of silver
32nd Day (Thursday) The Innocent Victim (Isaiah 53:1-12) Image: a white lamb
33rd Day (Friday) Last Supper (Luke 22:14- 20) Image: cup and plate
34th Day (Saturday)Agony in Garden (Matthew 26:36-46) Image: olives – from the garden of Gethsemane

35th Day (Monday) Denial of Jesus (Mark 14:29-31 and 14:66-72) Image: small plastic rooster
36th Day (Tuesday) Crown of Thorns (Matt. 27:27 – Matt. 27:31) Image: a twig bent in a circle – the crown of thorns
37th Day (Wednesday) Scourging at the Pillar Image: a leather strip – the thongs of the whip used when Jesus was scourged  [Update: Day 37 suggested Scripture Matt 27:26 or Mark 15:15]
38th Day (Holy Thursday)The Two Thieves (Luke 23:32 – 43) Image: a row of three crosses
39th Day (Good Friday) On the Cross Image: a single die, a piece of sponge and a blue strip of cloth  [Update: Day 39 suggested Scripture John 19:16-19]
40th Day (Holy Saturday) Death Of Jesus (Matthew 27: 45-54) Image: small stones/gravel/dirt – reminder of the earthquake

My apologies for not truly highlighting this excellent resource sooner!

Lent Prayers: Dietrich Bonhoeffer – In Me there is Darkness, but with You there is Light

March 2, 2009

from our archives – originally posted March 2007

Lent Prayers: A prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Filed under: Prayers & Prayer Themes, Quotable, Guidance, Lent 2007, Lent Prayers — Karen B.

God of the day and of the night, in me there is darkness, but with you there is light. I am alone, but you will not leave me. I am weak, but you will come to my help. I am restless, but you are my peace. I am in haste, but you are the God of infinite patience. I am confused and lost, but you are eternal wisdom and you direct my path; now and for ever. Amen
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945

source: Thisischurch.com (the original link to this specific post from 2007 no longer works)

Update: I found a longer version of Bonhoeffer’s prayer here

Finally have created a Lent Links & Resources Sidebar

March 2, 2009

Finally… I’ve gotten a chance to pull together a Lent sidebar with links to all our Lent categories here at L&B, as well as links to some of our favorite Lenten resources.

Look for it below the categories listing on the right hand sidebar of the blog.

Lent Prayer: Arise Thou Sun Upon the Winter Landscape of My Heart

March 2, 2009

Note: the links below have been fixed. Sorry for the problems!

Not sure how I missed the Feb. 27th post at the Story-Formed blog, a blog I first discovered in Advent and included in my list of “new links” for Lent. It is a strikingly beautiful Lenten meditation, picture and prayer.

Here’s the beginning:


It seems as though my heart has mimicked the weather of Epiphany. It has been foggy, cold and dark outside, and I realize the same is true for the climate of my heart.

As we enter into Lent and the daylight lengthens, I too, open my heart to You and the radiance of Your light. Please come illuminate the dark corners of my heart and bring warmth to those places gone cold.

The full blog entry is must reading!

You can keep up with all the Lent entries at Story-Formed blog here.

Lent Quotes: Jean Pierre de Caussade – the active practice of fidelity

March 2, 2009

From our archives. Originally posted March 2007

Lent Quotes: Jean Pierre de Caussade

Filed under: Meditations & Devotions, Quotable, Lent 2007, Lent Quotes, Lent — Rick H.

If the work of our sanctification presents, apparently, the most insurmountable difficulties, it is because we do not know how to form a just idea of it. In reality sanctity can be reduced to one single practice, fidelity to the duties appointed by God. Now this fidelity is equally within each one’s power whether in its active practice, or passive exercise.

The active practice of fidelity consists in accomplishing the duties which devolve upon us whether imposed by the general laws of God and of the Church, or by the particular state that we may have embraced. Its passive exercise consists in the loving acceptance of all that God sends us at each moment.

Are either of these practices of sanctity above our strength? Certainly not the active fidelity, since the duties it imposes cease to be duties when we have no longer the power to fulfil them. If the state of your health does not permit you to go to Mass you are not obliged to go. The same rule holds good for all the precepts laid down; that is to say for all those which prescribe certain duties. Only those which forbid things evil in themselves are absolute, because it is never allowable to commit sin. Can there, then, be anything more reasonable? What excuse can be made? Yet this is all that God requires of the soul for the work of its sanctification. He exacts it from both high and low, from the strong and the weak, in a word from all, always and everywhere. It is true then that He requires on our part only simple and easy things since it is only necessary to employ this simple method to attain to an eminent degree of sanctity.

If, over and above the Commandments, He shows us the counsels as a more perfect aim, He always takes care to suit the practice of them to our position and character. He bestows on us, as the principal sign of our vocation to follow them, the attractions of grace which make them easy. He never impels anyone beyond his strength, nor in any way beyond his aptitude. Again, what could be more just? All you who strive after perfection and who are tempted to discouragement at the remembrance of what you have read in the lives of the saints, and of what certain pious books prescribe; O you who are appalled by the terrible ideas of perfection that you have formed for yourselves; it is for your consolation that God has willed me to write this. Learn that of which you seem to be ignorant. This God of all goodness has made those things easy which are common and necessary in the order of nature, such as breathing, eating, and sleeping. No less necessary in the supernatural order are love and fidelity, therefore it must needs be that the difficulty of acquiring them is by no means so great as is generally represented.

Review your life. Is it not composed of innumerable actions of very little importance? Well, God is quite satisfied with these. They are the share that the soul must take in the work of its perfection. This is so clearly explained in Holy Scripture that there can be no doubt about it: “Fear God and keep the commandments, this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes xii, 13), that is to say—this is all that is required on the part of man, and it is in this that active fidelity consists. If man fulfils his part God will do the rest. Grace being bestowed only on this condition the marvels it effects are beyond the comprehension of man. For neither ear has heard nor eye seen, nor has it entered the mind what things God has planned in His omniscience, determined in His will, and carried out by His power in the souls given up entirely to Him.

The passive part of sanctity is still more easy since it only consists in accepting that which we very often have no power to prevent, and in suffering lovingly, that is to say with sweetness and consolation, those things that too often cause weariness and disgust. Once more I repeat, in this consists sanctity. This is the grain of mustard seed which is the smallest of all the seeds, the fruits of which can neither be recognised nor gathered. It is the drachma of the Gospel, the treasure that none discover because they suppose it to be too far away to be sought. Do not ask me how this treasure can be found. It is no secret. The treasure is everywhere, it is offered to us at all times and wherever we may be. All creatures, both friends and enemies pour it out with prodigality, and it flows like a fountain through every faculty of body and soul even to the very centre of our hearts. If we open our mouths they will be filled. The divine activity permeates the whole universe, it pervades every creature; wherever they are it is there; it goes before them, with them, and it follows them; all they have to do is to let the waves bear them on.

Would to God that kings, and their ministers, princes of the Church and of the world, priests and soldiers, the peasantry and labourers, in a word, all men could know how very easy it would be for them to arrive at a high degree of sanctity. They would only have to fulfil the simple duties of Christianity and of their state of life; to embrace with submission the crosses belonging to that state, and to submit with faith and love to the designs of Providence in all those things that have to be done or suffered without going out of their way to seek occasions for themselves. This is the spirit by which the patriarchs and prophets were animated and sanctified before there were so many systems of so many masters of the spiritual life. This is the spirituality of all ages and of every state. No state of life can, assuredly, be sanctified in a more exalted manner, nor in a more wonderful and easy way than by the simple use of the means that God, the sovereign director of souls, gives them to do or to suffer at each moment.

–Rev. Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J. (+1751)

Deuteronomy 8:11-20

March 2, 2009

“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments, his judgments, and his statutes which I command you today,” (Deuteronomy 8:11)
      LORD, we have forgotten your judgments and your commandments; have mercy on us.

“lest–when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them;” (Deuteronomy 8:12)
      LORD, we have eaten and are full and have not acknowledged that it all came from you; have mercy on us.

“and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied;” (Deuteronomy 8:13)
      LORD, our wealth multiplied in this nation, and we did not remember those in dire need; have mercy on us.

“when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;” (Deuteronomy 8:14)
      LORD, we forgot that our freedom came from you, and we misused it; have mercy on us.

“who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;” (Deuteronomy 8:15)
      LORD, you have brought us through time of trial before, and we forgot you afterward; have mercy on us and help us remember this time.

“who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and that he might test you, to do you good in the end–” (Deuteronomy 8:16)
      LORD, you fed us bread from heaven and we have not repented yet; have mercy on us.

“then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.'” (Deuteronomy 8:17)
      LORD, we have said, “We have done this,” but it was you who formed us as a nation; have mercy on us.

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18 )
      LORD, re-establish your covenant among us, help us to remember you in all circumstances, give us hearts of flesh once again.

“Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.” (Deuteronomy 8:19)
      LORD, we have sinned: we have followed other gods, bring us back to you.

“As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 8:20)
      LORD, in your mercy do not give us what we deserve, do not let us perish, but once again help us place our trust and hope in you.

Monday: 41, 52; Deuteronomy 8:11-20; Hebrews 2:11-18; John 2:1-12
Tuesday: 45; Deuteronomy 9:4-12; Hebrews 3:1-11; John 2:13-22

Albany Intercessor

Lent Resource: Trinity School for Ministry Daily Devotionals

March 2, 2009

Unfortunately a comment by the Rev. Dr. Leander Harding from Trinity School for Ministry got caught in our spam filter and I just now discovered it. TSM has a Lenten resource available online.

(More details coming soon… my internet connection has gotten AWFUL all of a sudden tonight, and I’m having problems getting into the TSM website. Stay tuned…)

Update: Here is the link to the Trinity Online Lenten devotional. It looks like you will have to check the site each day for new entries.


March 2, 2009

Today Rev. Cleophas Lunga is enthroned as the Bishop of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. The primates of the Anglican Communion have called for Lenten prayers for Zimbabwe. This prayer was part of a pastoral letter from the bishops of Central Africa, now altered into a litany.

Lord, you asked for my hands that you might use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment then withdrew them for the work was hard.
Lord, we pray Your mercies for Bishop Lunga and the Diocese of Matabeleland.
You asked for my mouth to speak out against injustice.
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.
Lord, we pray Your mercies for Bishop Lunga and the Diocese of Matabeleland.
You asked for my eyes to see the pain of poverty.
I closed them for I did not want to see.
Lord, we pray Your mercies for Bishop Lunga and the Diocese of Matabeleland.
You asked for my life that you might work through me.
I gave a small part that I might not get too involved.
Lord, we pray Your mercies for Bishop Lunga and the Diocese of Matabeleland.
Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve you
Only when it is convenient for me to do so,
Only in those places where it is safe to do so,
And only with those who make it easy to do so.
Lord, we pray Your mercies for Bishop Lunga and the Diocese of Matabeleland.
Father, forgive me, renew me
Send me out as a usable instrument
That I might take seriously the meaning of your cross.
Lord, there is no sin beyond the redemptive power of the cross. We claim the blood of Jesus over Bishop Lunga and Your church in Matabeleland. Amen.

Evangelism and church growth consultation

March 2, 2009

The Anglican Communion Office recently hosted representatives from West Malaysia, Uganda, Church Army International, Canada, Anglican Frontier Mission (USA), Faith2Share/CMS, Peru, and UK in compliance with Lambeth Conference 2008’s request for a worldwide strategy for church growth. A bishop from Nigeria could not attend due to visa difficulties.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15

Lord, we pray for the time to be fulfilled in the Anglican Communion. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done amongst all Anglicans. May we repent of all our sins, believe the good news of Jesus Christ and procalim it far and near. Amen.

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