Wednesday Lesson Plan
I thought it might
be helpful for those who are not familiar with Ash Wednesday--or who may never
have observed it--to read my lesson plan for tomorrow's Ash Wednesday class.
Discuss the following with your students:
"What is Lent?" ( Lent means "lengthening" as in
the lengthening of days in Springtime. It is the 40-day period leading up to Easter, not counting Sundays, because they are considered “mini-Easters.”
It is a time for Spiritual renewal, refreshing.)
"Why do you suppose it is 40 days long?" ( To remember that Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert—denying self—and didn’t give into Satan’s temptations. Jesus was without sin!)
"What does it mean to deny self?" (To not give into
temptation. To turn away from anything that would limit or hinder your
relationship with Jesus. To look to others needs over your own. )
What can be gained by fasting during Lent -- or anytime for that matter?
( By denying ourselves of something we enjoy eating or doing--that's what is
meant by fasting, we identify with Jesus’ denial of self; then when we are tempted to eat or do that thing we are “giving up,” we can
think about what Jesus did for us and pray and thank him for denying himself and
going to the cross for our sake.)
Make Prayer Pretzels
(directions in website too)
Pretzels were originally made by monks to ease their hunger during Lenten fasting. They shaped them to resemble crossed arms in prayer. The pretzels were made with flour and water and no yeast because in the Bible yeast symbolizes sin. The pretzel reminds us of our need to rid the sin in our own lives, and our need to repent and turn to Jesus for cleansing from sin. (See also: 1Corinthians 5:6-8.)
As Christians, we need to examine our lives everyday, not just during Lent. We need to ask God to show us our sins: "Search us, O God..." as Psalm 139 requests, and receive God's cleansing, "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin..." Psalm 51.
What you do: Use ready-made breadstick dough in a can. Roll the dough into 12"-15" long ropes. Do not overwork the dough; otherwise, it becomes difficult to shape. To shape the pretzel: Begin by making a smile-shape with the dough. Take one end of the dough, the arm, and fold it down over the middle of the smile, overlapping just a bit. Do the same with the other arm. Sprinkle with coarse-grained salt (or sugar). Bake according to directions. (The smile-shape reminds us that when we are forgiven of our sins, our lives are gladdened! See vs.12.)
While the Prayer Pretzels bake,
Cut out paper crosses, write sins on them, and then read King David’s prayer of confession found in Psalm 51:1-12.
Carefully burn the paper crosses (adults ONLY); then use the ashes to mark cross-shapes on foreheads.
(In Old Testament times, ashes from animal sacrifices were placed on one’s head as a sign of repentance—turning from sin and turning to God.)
If time allows, play a pantomime game using the following words from Psalm 51: God - love - you - sin – wisdom - cleanse - evil - joy - hide - wash - face - bones – heart. Have one person act out the word. The person that guesses correctly acts out the next word. When you're finished playing the game, eat your Prayer Pretzels.
Close in prayer. (This semester we are studying the Names
of God. http://www.sundayschoolnetwork.com/curriculum-names-of-God.html
I will write God's names from the series on strips of paper and distribute
them to kids. We'll then take turns thanking God for who he is by using his many names, e.g. “Thank you for being our Alpha &
Omega, our Creator and Judge; for being ther King of Kings, and making me part of your
kingdom; for being The Bread of Life, and feeding me spiritual food, etc.”)
Sarah Keith <><