Dear Ms. Jen’s people,
We want to tell you how to get ready for Lent.
So first, read Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-18. It’s the Ash Wednesday reading in the Catholic church. It may confuse you because it’s all “Don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing” on a day when we walk around with ASHES ON OUR FOREHEADS, but Ms. Jen says those ashes tell the world we are sinners, not do-gooders. So it’s actually not hypocritical. And the point is that when we do good things, we do them to honor God and NOT to honor ourselves. If you give up chocolate but go around telling people you gave up chocolate, they cancel each other out.
And Lent is not just about giving something up. You can also take something on. That sounds good but we didn’t know what it meant. Ms. Jen says you can stop doing something or start doing something. Angel said “Like stop eating vegetables and start playing XBOX 1 all day long?”
Ms. Jen said no. Angel was bummed.
If you don’t know what to give up or take on, you could think about these three lines from the prayer at the end of our chapter:
Help us to work with you to bring justice, love and peace to everyone.
This could be giving up mean words, fighting with a brother or sister, talking too much at school. It could also taking on hugging someone every day, giving a compliment to someone every day or leaving an anonymous note on your teacher’s desk (you should type it because teachers are really good at figuring out handwriting and they might thank you and then everyone would think you were teacher’s pet).
Free us from being careless and lazy.
This could be making your bed, folding your laundry, setting the table, clearing the table, doing the dishes, walking the dog, cleaning your room, feeding the dog, cleaning the toilets and so on.
(Really, we only came up with the first three and then Ms. Jen and Ms. Elena, her helper who is also Joseph’s mom, took the markers away from us and kept making the list longer)
Keep us from being blind to goodness.
This could be things like giving up regular music and listening to Christian music, or not playing that one violent video game. Maybe turning off the news or Facebook. This one was weird for us because why is it hard to see goodness? Ms. Jen said it’s more of a grown-up problem.
After you pick something, you should think of someone in your life who made a sacrifice for you. Then you could write them a letter thanking them and telling them what your sacrifice for Lent will be. This is a nice gesture, and it will also help you stick to your thing, whatever it is, because you said it to another person.
(At first we didn’t want to do this, but then Ms. Jen was all “Jesus DIED on a CROSS for you, can’t you write a letter?” It was kind of like, Oh. Yeah.)
So that’s it. Good luck!
Ms. Jen’s 4th grade Sunday School
PS: You get Sunday’s off!
PPS: From Lenten sacrifice, not church.
Thank you to Angel, Ashleigh, Carolina, Joseph, Margaret and Blaine for such a great class on Sunday and for inspiring this post. You guys crack me up! And the future of the Church is safe in your smart, logical, artistic and kind hands.