The question is should we take children to a service or not, when some adults actually struggle with it?
Of course the answer is yes. Providing a simple service for young children is preferable and an outline of a service that can be used is attached below.
Before the service explain to the child/children what it means.
When the children have been involved in the making of the ashes, and putting away the Alleluia's then Ash Wednesday is the next step on the journey.
In order to say sorry you have to admit you have done something wrong, you have to admit that you have sinned.
SIN a big concept for both children and adults alike.
So what is a sin?
Archers use a bow and arrow to shoot at a target. It's usually from a distance it's not an easy thing to do. Many times the archer falls short of the target.
This is how we sin – by falling short of the target.
None of us - adults or children are perfect. Children need to know that we share in their imperfection.
God wants us to be happy and doing the wrong thing or making the wrong choices – whatever it might be doesn't make us happy.
Get the children to think about it.
Example: You shout at your someone, they shout back, making each other upset, angry and you feel hurt.
Are you happy at that point?
So, how do we make it better?
When we say sorry that's not all we need to know. Especially if we were in the wrong we need to know that the other person has forgiven us, so that we can reconcile and become friends again.
- Tell the children the story of Adam and Eve.
- They did something wrong. They sinned.
- What did they do?
- They were like 2 children.
- God gave them the whole garden to play in, God only gave them one rule.
- Don't eat the fruit from Tree of Life.
- The snake came along, and tempted them.
- They ate the fruit from the Tree of Life.
- God found out and they blamed each other.
- God became cross with them and then they weren't allowed in the garden again.
But God didn't abandon them, he forgave them and looked after them.
Just like he does with us. God knows that we sin just like Adam and Eve. God waits for us to admit that we have gone wrong and sinned, and when we say sorry, God forgives us.
God doesn't hold a grudge, God doesn't sulk, God doesn't keep his love for us. God simply just forgives us.
So, Why do we need Ash on our heads to know we are forgiven?
It is a symbol. An outward sign of something that has happened inside us.
It shows that all our sins have been burnt away they have gone with last years palms and we are ready now to begin Lent.
So, what are you going to do to help you focus on Lent this year?