Pathways through Lent

Weekday reflections from St. John’s in the season of Lent.

Tuesday in the First Week of Lent: February 20, 2024

Last Sunday, we held a Lent 101 gathering for kids and caregivers. We talked about the season of Lent and ways families can intentionally walk through this season together. We also did some hands-on activities to get our bodies and minds engaged in the spirit of this reflective and penitential season. Inspired by something author Laura Alary did with her young children, I bought some wooden hearts, sandpaper, and food dye. 

We read aloud Ezekiel 36:26: A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. We talked about what it’s like when our hearts are hurting after we’ve done something unkind. We talked about how we show that we are sorry, things we hoped to change, and what “new” feels like. Then we spent time sanding the rough edges of our hearts, rubbing bright red dye into them, and then polishing them with beeswax. We imagined our own hearts being made new while we did this, and how we might let God’s love smooth out the rough places in our own lives.

photo © Sarah Akes-Cardwell
© Sarah Akes-Cardwell

My heart is now on my dashboard. It is a reminder of the ritual we used to help begin this season of Lent. It reminds me of the ways God wants to love and care for me, along with everyone else I drive alongside. It reminds me of little, red dyed hands carefully polishing their hearts alongside. And, I hope, it might inspire me to keep feeling with my heart of flesh: to feel the joy and pain of this world in which we live, and the courage to not turn my back on either.

Sarah Akes-Cardwell
Associate for Children and Family Ministries

Links to the appointed readings for today