In times together and times apart, we are on a six-week journey toward Easter.

Lent is a time to re-orient towards God and care for one another and Earth. It is a time when we might give something up or take something on as we explore themes of life, love, community and remembering. This week, through the words of a psalmist and story of wilderness wanders, we empathize with people who call to God in distress and, with them, give thanks for a God who hears our cries.

March 14 – Choose to Give Thanks

Psalm 107:1–3, 17–22 “Give thanks to God, for God is good.”

Read Psalm 107:1–3, 17–22 or listen to the audio story “With a Song” or gather around as someone tells the story “God’s Wonderful Love” that is in this week’s children’s activity leaflet.

In this week’s reading from the book of Psalms, people thank God for God’s goodness and love that exist now and forever. This goodness and love continue for all of us no matter how hurt we may feel or how badly behaved we have been. The psalmist recognizes that people sometimes face tough times; people get sick, make mistakes, and fight. But the psalm reminds us that we can always turn to God, and God is always ready to comfort and love us. We can thank God not only with words but also with music – with songs of joy that give thanks to God!

Set out a washbasin (empty), a clean hand towel, hand soap, and a large pitcher (or bucket) of water.

Saying or singing grace before eating a meal is a familiar ritual in many homes.

 Recall a grace or make up a new one.
In Malawi, Africa, water is sometimes a source of disease such as cholera, but water is also a critical way to prevent disease. In addition to grace before meals, Malawians have a ritual of handwashing. In much of this rural country, people sometimes walk as far as 8 km/5 miles to fetch water. Every drop of water they carry home is valued. Water is used for drinking, washing, cooking, for their animals and vegetable garden. Before every meal, this is what they do:

Each person takes turn washing hands, with one person holding the basin under another person’s hands and another person pouring the water over the hands into the basin. The one washing their hands uses just enough water to wet their hands, then uses some soap, and then has just enough water poured over to rinse away the soap. The water is collected in the basin and later used to water some plants, indoors or outdoors.

 Try doing this handwashing ritual with your family.

Print this week’s children’s activity leaflet, which includes the story “God’s Wonderful Love,” a bookmark pattern and instructions, and an activity.

During the week

Watch and be inspired by a Gratitude, a short movie (6 mins) by Louie Schwartzberg, narrated by Brother David Steindle-Rast.
“Let gratefulness overflow into blessing around you.”

Spend an entire day being thankful for everything that happens, no matter what happens. Take a digital camera with you throughout your day and photograph moments of gratitude. Post some to social media or your personal blog with your reflection on what it was like to be intentionally thankful throughout the day.

Visit Lection ConnectionMarch 14, for current events that connect with this week’s scriptures.

Prayer for each day

Thank you, God, for the goodness of your creation,
for always loving us,
even when we have made mistakes or hurt others.
Thank you for your gift of water that gives life to every living thing. Amen.

Sing the song “To You O God”