Week One: Family Toolkit

Theme: Practicing Emptying

Being emptied in Lent makes room for different kinds of full. Feeling empty reminds us to not stuff ourselves with the distractions that never really satisfy. Embracing emptiness helps us see that we are already full of the Divine.

Scripture Text | Luke 4:1-13; Wilderness

Three Wonderings

1

What are the things that tempt me that aren’t healthy, physically and spiritually?

2

How can I ask for help to overcome some of these temptations?

3

What are some healthy things or habits I can use to fill me when I “empty” myself of the unhealthy things?

Meditation Practice

Join Rev. Emily Meyer, Director of The Ministry Lab, as she invites you to wonder and reflect in the audio recording below.

Transcript available here.

Video Conversation & Reflection

Join Rev. Tony Romaine, First Church UCC/UMC, Little Falls and Pastor Sheri Nelson, UCC Outdoor Ministry Program Director for conversation and reflection.

Creative Project

Watercolor Play
Creative, hands-on, ages 3+

Materials: watercolor or mixed media paper, watercolor paints (or any paint)

How To: Start with 3-5 empty pieces of paper. Think of your paper as empty spaces to be explored, and your paint as symbolic of the things (constructive and unconstructive) that we can fill with: emotions, habits, things, etc.. Some ideas to try:

  • For littles, experiment with negative, or empty, spaces by talking about filling some spaces on the page and not others. Talk about the power of empty, and full spaces.
  • Use tape to mark areas that won’t get covered by paint, and pull off the tape once the paint is dry.
  • For older kids, you can make some more explicit connections to their art by talking about filling up with certain habits and emotions and sometimes spilling off of the page.

Caring for the Common Good

Fill Your Family with Giving

When we are filled with compassion, gratitude and a sense of empowerment, we are less likely to be lured by unhealthy habits and practices. Share these simple but powerful activities with your family to fill your spirits with lovingkindness, leaving less space for what tempts you:

Too much stuff in your house?

Spend an afternoon gathering your gently used toys, games, clothing and electronics to donate. Or spearhead a donation drive for what’s desperately needed right now: hats and mittens for Minnesota’s children.

Too many video games or too much social media?

Use your screen time to share messages of support for nursing home and assisted living residents or send virtual letters and cards to healthcare workers.

Too many unhealthy snacks?

Share some with your delivery drivers, sanitation workers or mail carrier, along with a kind note.

Talk together about how else you can fill your hearts – and your days — with joy and love during this season of Lent.

Children’s Picture Book

The Empty Pot by Demi.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2021