Lent in a Bag, Oh My!

Lent in a Bag

by Shawn Schreiner and Vicki Garvey

We have discovered that distributing small bags (cloth or ziplock bags) with symbols of the season assists individuals and families to “practice” Lent at home. Instructions, reflections (on purple paper) to go with each item, and materials are placed inside.

Attach instructions for use to the outside of the bag:

Use the contents of this bag as you wish.  Two suggestions:

  1. Choose one night of the week and invite those around your table to pick one of the symbols as a starting point for conversation for the whole group, including the children.
  2. For your own devotion daily or weekly or whatever best suits you, choose one of the symbols for your own reflection as you make your way through the season.

Inside the bag: 

Sand (in a sealable baggie)

Just between his baptism and the beginning of his adult ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days, ‘to be tested’.  What constitutes wilderness in your life?  What have you learned there?  What might you learn there?


While in the wilderness, Jesus was invited to transform stone into bread. Though he resisted the temptation there and then, he became justly renowned for feeding people hungry for food or for love or for a word of encouragement or for simple acceptance.  Might there be a stony place in you that needs transforming?  Some attitude or habit that, with a little attention, might even become a gift for you and others?

Human Figure (use a clothespin or wooden figure)

Because Jesus was, as we confess, ‘fully human’, he gets us, understands us from inside our skin, and knows from experience that we’re each capable of great things, godly things.  And no matter what we do, he keeps on inviting us to join us in his work which has become our own.  As you enter this Lent, what might you plan to do over these 40 days so that the Easter you will more closely reflect you and the Christ who lives in and through you?


Lent begins in the dimness of late winter and ends with the burst of bright spring.  Jesus is, according to John’s gospel, ‘Light of the world’ and that Light, directing his attention to his disciples and through them to us, insists: ‘You are the light of the world.  Don’t be hiding under some bushel basket.’  So where do you shine?  How do you keep your light lit?

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