Lenten Meditations for Children: Jesus Suffers for Us

Another week of Lent has passed. We’ve had many chances to draw closer to Jesus. Have we taken the choices to do so? Or perhaps instead made choices which took us farther away? 

Jesus was betrayed by one of his own followers. Judas’ choice led Jesus to the road of Calvary.
Matthew 27:3-4 Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.”

MEDITATION: Before Dina, my older sister, got home from school today, I looked through her dresser drawers until I found where she hid her new perfume. Jasmine Promises. It smells great! She bought it with money she saved from babysitting jobs. It took almost three months for her to earn enough money. 
We share a bedroom, but Dina won’t share her new perfume with me. That’s not a very nice way to treat a sister. So I decided to try it out without her knowing. When she came home and sat down next to me at dinner, her big ol’ nose sniffed trouble fast.
“Have you been in my perfume?”
I shook my head so hard my pony tail flipped back and forth.
“You’re lying! I can smell it.” She bent over closer to me and sniffed some more. “That’s my Jasmine Promises!”
I shook my head again. “It was a scratch and sniff coupon in Mom’s fashion magazine. I didn’t touch your gross perfume.”
Dina huffed and rolled her eyes. I tried to take a bite of my mac and cheese, but it tasted gross now. 
Have you caused someone hurt this week by your actions or words?
Or has someone else hurt you? Can you forgive her or him?
Jesus, help me make choices of love. Help me forgive anyone who has hurt me. And help me to be sorry for the times when I have hurt others. Thank You. Amen.

  1. Make a Lenten Cross poster for your family and place it in a central location. Help your children understand how Jesus died for our sins. Provide small pieces of paper which family members can use to pin or tape their sins onto the cross. (For more info on this activity, visit Fridge Art.)
  2. Celebrate loving acts done for family and friends during Lent. Place an empty Easter basket on the dining table with a pile of plastic grass beside it. For each good deed or prayer said for others, the family member can place some grass into the basket. Hopefully, by Easter Day there will be a big fluffy pile inside the basket on which to place Easter eggs.

Lenten Meditations for Children: Helping Others Carry Their Crosses

We’ve almost finished the third week of Lent–half-way through. I made some intentions at the beginning of Lent. Some of them I’m doing better on than others. One of my intentions was to spend more time in prayer, but I’m not too sure I’ve been following through on that one as I should.

During Lent, we try to perform acts that will draw us closer to Jesus. Simon of Cyrene was drawn very close to Jesus, even when Simon didn’t want to be. He was the stranger the Roman soldiers pulled from the crowd. Jesus’ cross was dumped on his shoulders. Simon helped Jesus on His way to Calvary.
Luke 23: 26–As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.
MEDITATION: Pedro, the new boy, sat down next to me at lunch. He had only a small, crumpled paper bag. No milk or soda. He twisted away from me and pulled out a bruised apple and a little pack of crackers–like the ones the lunch ladies hand out on chili days. That’s all Pedro had for his lunch.

I looked at my sandwich, loaded with meat, cheese, lettuce, and pickles. Plus, I had chips, carrot sticks, raisins, and a giant chocolate chip cookie I helped Mom bake last night. I bit into a chip, but I didn’t feel so hungry anymore. I didn’t need all this food.

With a plastic knife from my lunch kit, I cut the sandwich in two.
“Here,” I said, placing it by Pedro. “I’m not hungry. You want some of this?”

Pedro nodded. “Thanks.”

I pushed the chip bag in-between us. “Take some of these. I won’t be able to eat them all.”

“Okay,” was all Pedro said. But he smiled too and offered me some of his crackers.
By the end of the meal, I didn’t even have to think twice before I broke the cookie in two and gave him the bigger half.  
Have I helped Jesus carry His cross this Lent? Have I reached out to help someone in need? Have I given my time or resources to aid someone else?
Jesus, show me how I can help carry your cross. Show me how to care for others. I know when I treat others with love, I am loving You. Thank You. Amen.

  1. Have your child grocery shop with you. Help him pick a less expensive food (perhaps breakfast cereal) than he usually eats. Collect the saved money during the rest of Lent then help your child donate the money to a needy organization.
  2. Have your child make a list of ways that she could aid members of your family. You could post it on the frig or bulletin board, and she can check off her kind deeds.
  3. Have your child make a list of ways that he could aid students and teachers at school. Again, you can post it in a prominent place and celebrate his loving acts with him.
  4. Help your child sort through her clothes and toys. She could donate gently worn/used items to a homeless shelter.

Lenten Mediations for Children: Condemning Others

We’re already at the end of the first full week in Lent. Time goes by so quickly when we are busy with all the routine day-to-day work and activities. So I wanted to include here at least one Lenten meditation each week for children. I’ll use somewhat the same format as I did several years ago in an article I wrote for MY LIGHT magazine , in which children can view Jesus’ life and death in relation to their world.

A good source for Lenten meditations can be found in Christ’s passion. Today we’ll think about the beginning–when Pilate condemns Jesus to death. Even though Pilate couldn’t really find anything to punish Jesus for, he let the crowd sway his decision. [Mark 15:12-15]
Pilate spoke to them again, “What do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They called back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. 
MEDITATION: Today I condemned Libby. She wore her ugly purple sweater and stupid matching headband. Tiffany giggled loudly when she saw Libby at her school locker. “You look like a grape with wavy hair.” 
Maria pointed a finger. “Did you put on the light when you got dressed today?” They turned to me laughing, so I felt like I needed to join in. That I needed to say something cool also. 
“I think Libby just got sloppy with her grape juice this morning,”I said. We laughed more. But when Libby ran past us, I pretended to cough and looked away.

Who have I condemned today with a look, a thought, or my words? Who have I made suffer because I was not brave enough to love–especially when it was difficult?

Jesus, help me be strong and loving toward all those I encounter each day. Amen.
  1.  Have your child illustrate Pilate condemning Jesus or the meditation scene with the school children.
  2. Older children might want to write their own meditation and prayer focusing on the cruelty of condemning others.
  3. Take a positive approach. Help your child list how many ways he has shown (or could show) love to others today.
For more Lenten meditations and activities, click on the following link at Fridge Art–a center for family oriented activities.
And for another beautiful picture of the Biblical scene highlighted above, visit Wikipedia.
The illustration at the top of the page is from Karen’s Whimsey. She has many other religious clip art available.