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Posted by on Mar 4, 2017 | 0 comments

Wilderness in a Bag

I am always looking for ways to “extend the sanctuary”…always looking for ways to extend worship for individuals and families into Sunday afternoon and the rest of the week.  Fortunately, Lent is such a rich season and provides many symbols and opportunities to do just this!

On the first Sunday in Lent 2017 I planned the following for our Children’s message:

  1. I took some all purpose sand (about $2.50 for 50# lb bag) and: 1) I poured one whole 50 bag onto a tarp at the front of the church to make a small wilderness area; 2) I filled about 75 2″x 3″ ziptop baggies (cheap and sold in any craft store) with sand, wrote “wilderness” on each one, lined them into 4 small baskets, and placed them near the wilderness area.
  2. During the children’s message I invited the children to gather around the wilderness area and asked them to describe what they saw.
  3.  I then told them the story of Jesus in the wilderness from Matthew 4:1-11.
  4. I explained how Lent is a time in the church when we recreate Jesus’ wilderness experience and in a variety of ways try to walk in the wilderness with him (this was a good time to highlight some of the special Lent/Holy Week events).
  5. I then gave each one of the children one of the baggies filled with sand and invited them to this prayer practice: pray each day in Lent with a pinch of the sand in their hands to remind them of Jesus’ time in the wilderness.
  6. I then gave them each a pinch of sand and closed with this prayer: God who loves us, give us the courage to walk with Jesus in the wilderness, and to become more like him.  AMEN.
  7. I then invited 4 groups of the children to take the baskets and pass the baggies to each person in the sanctuary who wanted one.

To tie this in with my sermon, I then preached part of my sermon with my socks and shoes off while standing in the wilderness area.


© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2017

Kevin Goldenbogen is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ serving an amazing congregation in the foothills of the Green Mountains of Vermont. He skis, climbs, runs, bakes bread, rides a red Vespa, and tries every day to follow Jesus. He is married to the perfect woman and has two boys who he loves beyond words.

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