To help students think about the meaning of Lent.
Things you’ll need:
- Two or three pancakes – made slightly thicker than usual.
- A frying pan.
Prepare your pancakes! You may only need one – the others are spares in case the first one gets broken.
1 Ask the students what they think is special about this time of year. Help them, if necessary, towards the answer: Pancake Day!
2 Show the frying pan with one of the (cold) pancakes already in it. Ask if anyone is good at flipping pancakes. Ask for a couple of volunteers and let them try, Encourage applause for the best effort and let your volunteers sit down.
3 Now ask the students if they know the reason for Pancake Day. Encourage some answers, then briefly talk about their responses.
4 Talk about Lent, explaining that it is the time leading up to Easter. Jesus spent 40 days fasting (going without food) in the desert, thinking and praying about what God had sent him to do.
5 Explain the reason for Pancake Day. Some Christians believe that they should give up foods, as a way of showing that they are remembering Jesus’ time in the desert, spending more time praying and fasting as Jesus did. In order to clear out food from their store cupboards, people used to make pancakes. Then, during the time of Lent, they wouldn’t eat any rich foods. This tradition led to us having Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Ask whether any of the students are intending to give up something for Lent (eg chocolate).
6 Show the pancake to the students again. Holding it up, talk about what a wonderful thing a pancake is – it can be used for all kinds of things! Give some silly examples, acting them out as you say them, for example: ‘You could use it to shine your shoes; as a face cloth; to wash under your armpits; as a hat; to play Frisbee.’ Then say, ‘Or, you could eat it.’ Begin to eat it! You could pretend to offer it to some of your audience as well!
- Put the pancake to one side. Then talk briefly about Easter. Explain that at the first Easter time, just over 2,000 years ago, Jesus died a horrible death on a cross. He gave up his life. Christians believe that he gave up all he had in heaven to come to earth for us.
- Lent is a good opportunity to take some time, like Jesus did, to think about what God wants us to do with our lives. Or, to consider if there is anything in our lives which we think God would want us to give up.
- At this point, you may wish to read Mark 8:31,34–36. Explain that these are some words from the Bible about Jesus when he was talking about his death.
In a short time of silence, invite the students:
- to take a moment to think about how they would feel if they had to give up something very precious to them. Ask them to reflect on how Jesus gave up his life for us.
- to think about what God might want them to do with their lives.
- to think whether there are things in their lives – apart from chocolate – which aren’t right? Encourage students to make a decision to change, asking God’s help to do so, if they’d like to.