Believe it or not, Lent is coming soon!
Here's a hands-on idea to do with young children Pre-Ash Wednesday to talk about the meaning.
Warning...It's messy! Be Not Afraid because that's just the point! The messiness highlights us, we who are all messy sinners, when left to our own devices. It's only with God's help that we are clean again.
As you crumble up the messy "Dust" Cake, talk about how it reminds us of Ash Wednesday and the words of the priest when he places the ashes on our foreheads:
"Remember, you are dust, and unto dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19)
It's a tangible reminder that God made us out of dust (a lifeless existence) and someday we all return to dust until we are (hopefully) raised again by Christ on the last day. The hopeful part is where the ashes come in as they remind us to turn away from our dirt (sin) and get right (clean) with God!
*Only God can bless our dirty mess*
There are many variations that you can use, even Gluten-free, but we used this one:
- One box chocolate cake mix, baked ahead of time according to the directions on box
- One small box of instant chocolate pudding
- One small package of gummy worms
Have the cake ready and cooled ahead of time. Make the pudding according to directions. Dump the cake into individual bowls and let the children break it up with their hands until there are plenty of chunks broken down into "dust" or crumbs. Stir in the pudding and add the gummy worms, representing our sin and messiness. Eat up and clean up, just like the results of God's mercy and grace!
Just A Few Fun Facts about Ash Wednesday To Share
While Making Dust Cake:
- People have been using ashes as a sign of repentance since Old Testament times. Look it up! (Daniel 9:3-6)
- Since Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent for Catholics, it's a time for us to stop and reflect upon our own walk with God and where we might have gotten off track. For many of us, the ashes are an outward expression (and reminder) of our broken nature and the deep necessity for reconciliation (repentance) in order to be whole again.
- For over 1200 years, faithful followers have received ashes on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.
- Remember those palm fronds from Palm Sunday? They were saved to be burned for this year's ashes. They are burned, incensed, and blessed with holy water, using prayers that are thousands of years old.
+God Bless your Lenten preparations+