Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lent 4

Joshua 5:9-12 (NIRV)

Whether or not you want to talk about circumcision is up to you but it was physical evidence that you were born into a covenant faith community. In most Christian communities Baptism has taken the role (is that the word?) of circumcision. For older kids that discussion would take you into other parts of scripture.

God taking away "... the shame of being laughed at by [Egypt]..." Most kids know what it's like to be laughed at. Consider the story without superimposing who or what Egypt "represents". Just look at the story.

This passage is rich with the stories of Egypt, leaving Egypt, the first Passover and all the passovers between (how many would that be?), the manna, the promise of deliverance, the promise of land that would be their own. It's rich with sensory experience: eating food grown from their own land, harvested by their own hands ... how did all that translate through the eyes of the children? How old were they when they experienced all of this and what had they experienced before? How about their parents? Their grandparents? How old were those who had childhood memories of Egypt? Of trekking through the desert? Of almost making it to the promised land and turning around to wander again? And how did all of this affect the children?

Psalm 32 (NIRV)

Forgiveness. Confession. Freedom from guilt. Prayer. "When troubles come like a flood..." I love that phrase! There's that hiding place again, safety.

Picture a child surrounded by people singing praises to God for saving them from something that just happened.

God's promise to teach & guide & watch over. I'm guessing most kids were familiar with bridles and bits and stubborn animals when those Psalms were written.

Throughout this Psalm there are verses about honesty and doing what's right.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIRV)

"So from now on we don't look at anyone the way the world does." What does that mean? Better yet, what does that look like? Sound like? Feel like? "At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don't anymore." How does the world see Christ? How do we see Him?

New & old. Brought back to God. Not holding someone's sin against them. Official messengers begging someone to "Come back to God." Jesus makes it possible for us to come back home to God.

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Who are the people we avoid? Who are the people we won't eat with? Jesus sat down and ate with them.

The story of the lost sheep isn't included. But would you risk the safety of 99 living creatures in your care to go out looking for one when you know there are predators lurking in the dark? And these weren't people, these were "just" animals. Farmers are familiar with losing an animal here and an animal there.

The parable of the Lost Son is a story to tell. What questions can you ask that will encourage kids to explore the story, ponder the story, talk about the story and the people in the story rather than looking for the "right" answer? What observations do they make? About each of the boys? About the father? About God? Do you know anyone who had a story like that to tell?

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