Gathering in Circles
by Bonnie Benz
As the season of Lent is upon us, I want to share my thoughts about one of the most meaningful Lenten moments for me.
Last year, on the first Sunday of Lent, I had my Godly Play classroom ready for the children to enter. The liturgical calendar on the wall had the arrow moved to purple, the underlays on the classroom altar were purple, candles were lit, and I awaited their coming.
One-by-one the children entered and began wandering around the room to see the changes in our gathering space. I called them to the circle and began by having them close their eyes and say their secret word to center themselves. As they opened their eyes, I started the lesson by saying “I wonder, what is the season of Lent?” One child looked up with a very puzzled look on her face and said, “Isn’t that a time we give up something?” With her question, we began talking about how during Lent we can give up something or take on a new good habit.
As we went around the circle, each child had something to say.
I am going to be nicer to my sister; I am not going to argue with my mother; I am not going to fight with my brother; I am going to invite someone to come with me to church; I am going to give up a video game. When each child had spoken, I invited them to think about how our Lord was treated as he made His way to the cross. The looks on their small faces let me know that they truly understood.
Each Sunday we end our Godly Play class by standing in a circle holding hands and thanking God for the person standing next to us. I end by thanking God for each of them.
And, as I begin yet another season of Lent, I will endeavor to continue to build up the kingdom of God with these children. And, I will check off each reading in Luke on my bookmark!