Monday, March 01, 2010

Lent 3

Isaiah 55:1-9

Remember that "all" and "everyone" includes children.

You could create a shopping activity for kids from verse 1 & 2 but to make it really meaningful kids would have to do something challenging-but-not-impossible to earn whatever they would exchange for a snack - a salty snack to make them thirsty. I found myself wondering how do we "buy" without money to buy or buy without price. Wouldn't that make it just a give away? If so, then why not say, "Free food!" Or is there something more here?

From verse 2. Spend your money on bread, spend your labor on that which brings you satisfaction. Eat what is good. All that makes sense to me but I found myself recoiling a little at "delight yourselves in rich food." I don't want to tell kids that but it's there. Does that mean we add meat, gravy, wine sauces, butter cookies, baklava & chocolate creams to our snack? Why is it there? Luxury you don't have to buy? Example of God's rich love, lavish giving, and goodness? Why am I recoiling at "delight yourselves in rich food..."If you're not used to it, it can make you sick. If you are used to it, you probably have the $ to buy it but maybe I'm being too practical.

Psalm 63:1-8

Thirst & water are here again in this Psalm.

Dry, tired land. Do you know of any dry, tired land nearby? Photos of a desert or dry worn-out land would work, too. Water. Why do we need it? Why does the land need it? What happens when you water a dry, weary land? Can you show it over a couple weeks time?

What is a sanctuary? What does it mean to find sanctuary? Can you recreate the experiential "safe place" of that?

Do you praise God with your children for His love ? With lips? Words and song? Even toddlers can play with the idea of praising lips, singing lips, happy lips. Play with lifting hands, praising hands, praying hands, happy hands, helping hands.

What is a blessing? Do you bless God? Do you bless one another? Do you bless the children in your care? By name? Does your pastor?

Do you call on God's name? Which name will you call today? Father? Shepherd? Teacher? Lord & ruler? Counselor? For a child? What names does your child know for God? Names that he/she can relate to? Names that he/she can call?

What is a rich feast to a child? More than enough of the foods you love? Which foods and drink would make a rich feast for your children? Do these passages lose meaning in a culture already as rich as ours?

Do you think about God when you lay in your bed? Do your children? What do they think about?

When did God help you? Do your children know when God helps them? Did you ever feel safe under the shadow of His wings and sing a happy song? Does God have wings like that chicken Jesus talked about?

"My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." Did you ever see a clingy child or animal? If something clings to your sweater (a piece of lint, a static-y kleenex) or your pant leg (a burdock) what does it look like? What does it feel like to cling to something? A blanket? A teddy bear? A mom? How do you feel when someone holds you up with their strong hand? When do you need them to do that? When are you happy for them to do that?

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

This passage starts with a reference to an OT story. Do you see a pattern of references to OT stories in Paul's epistles? In the gospels of Jesus?

All...all...all...a huge group of people - all ages- experiencing that trek out of Egypt together, experiencing all that God did or the effects of all that God did. They felt the affects of saying "Yes" to God and saying "No" to God. What was that like for the children?

At what point do you introduce good & evil? Early, so they grow a healthy fear of things they should fear? Later, so they understand about making choices? Early so you train them to make those good choices whether they understand the why or not?

School-aged children understand about testing. "No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." Alike, but different from the tests you take in school. Something to talk about.

How young can a child understand "test"? I will ask you a question. If you answer correctly or if you do the right thing, I will give you an M&M.

Can you use testing as a teaching tool? Depending on how you use it, what does it teach? Should we test as part of Christian formation because God tests us? Does He test us to facilitate learning (to help us see areas where we're weak and help us fix them) Does He use it to re-enforce and condition us to make the correct choice? Does He test us to show us our weaknesses or set us up to fail? To celebrate winners? To rank us? To see if the teaching methods work? To grade the teachers? What do the stories of scripture tell us about God's testing?

Luke 13:1-9

From a teaching and learning perspective it might be interesting to look at how Jesus questioned his listeners - when He answered His own questions and when He didn't.

Is there story background to go with the first verses of this section that teach us about the repentance Jesus is talking about?

To how young an audience can you tell or re enact the story of the fig tree? Can you do it without interpretations or explanations? It's a wonderful story to act out!

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