Monday, April 26, 2010

someone was looking for emerging kids & prayer. here are some resources for you to explore

Children & the Emergent Church on Facebook

an interesting article

a creative idea for kids at the end

prayers in the offering plate even a child's prayers. Not for public display, just for God.

a worship resource

Saturday, April 24, 2010

for every living plant or creature (human, included), for every change in sky or sea, every change of season that you interact with, depend on, or observe with awe . . . think "God's Word is alive like this" and always has been and always will be.

Then read Hebrew 4:12-13

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday starts another liturgical season.

You could go through all of scripture. You could use the lectionary. Keep looking for children. Where were they? How would this event affect them? Were they there to hear the words? What would they hear? What would make sense to them? How did what their parents see or hear affect them?

What are the concrete nouns and actions in the passage that we can share with children to better know God? If I bring objects or pictures or speakers or talk about the science, the life cycle, the environment, the history, the culture . . . will it give a child more experiential understanding to bring to their hearing of God's word? Will they be more apt to remember it? Will they be better able to process it? Not from an adult's perspective - not from your perspective but from theirs.

With the Holy Spirit's help, of course. Think small, simple & short. How can you explore God's Word, God's stories, with children in ways that will help them to better know God ?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Lent 8f Saturday

Job 14:1-14 Job. Not only the image of the young plant growing up in a dry place again but human mortality - Life & death. Babies living only a short time. The imagery of the tree. When I was a child we had a huge tree in my yard that went down in a thunderstorm and filled up the yard. 25 years later when I went back to visit, there it was again. Does it help the scriptures to make more sense to children if we talk about the plants, animals, customs God uses to teach us?

or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24 • We may forget how incredibly down writers in the scriptures would get (often for good reason with things they couldn't control - war, famine, etc etc). They continued to put their faith in God and have a place in that cloud of witnesses.

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16 • "My times are in your hand; deliver me . . ." Grown-up or child, our times are in His hands.

31:16 "Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love." From Psalmist's perspective God's deliverance would reflect well on God. Save me, Lord, so people will praise You!

1 Peter 4:1-8 • We all will have to give account to the God of the living & the dead. 4:7-8 "The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins." A disciplined prayer life or a disciplined life so God will answer our prayers? Keep loving... love covers a multitude of sins. We can share this with children.

Matthew 27:57-66
Here's the story of Joseph & Nicodemus again and the story of securing the tomb. They were afraid that someone would steal the body and trick them into believing that Jesus had risen. How young can you share this story?

John 19:38-42
Preparing the body for burial. How much is 100 pounds? What spices did they use? What did it smell like? What is linen? How big a piece of linen? What is "The Day of Preparation"? They found an empty tomb that was close by. This is sort of funny, ". . . a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid . . ." Was it common or uncommon to have a new tomb? Of course a new tomb was a tomb in which no one had ever been laid. If it had been a used tomb it would be occupied unless someone stole the body... This new tomb was about to become a used tomb. It would soon be empty & unused again because the occupant wasn't going to stay dead...but nobody knew that.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Lent & Easter: Concrete

What symbols that go with this season can you introduce to your youngest kids? Palm. Dove. Garden. Jail. Dinner. Cross. Lily. Bread. Wine. Sheep. Cooked lamb. Blood when you hurt yourself. Praise. Thanksgiving. Being nice. Being mean. Hurts. Bruises. Healing. Friends. Tomb. Death. Life.

Are there other concretes that you can use to explore the season with your youngest kids? What can you see, hear, touch, smell, taste to associate with these Lenten & Easter stories about Jesus?

Lent 8e Friday

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 • So ... Jesus grew like a young plant - like a root out of dry land. Plants need water. Most plants do.

He wasn't handsome or cute. People despised him. People rejected Him. He was familiar with suffering & infirmity. Do you know people like that? Do you know children like that? People hid their faces from Him. do you know any children like that?

Just like Job, people thought bad things happened to him because he sinned. But he wasn't carrying his own sin & suffering. He was carrying ours. We're the ones who rebelled against God -"upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed." It sounds like He took on Himself the punishment/correction that we needed to help us learn and change. It sounds like He was battered, bruised, and sick so God could/would heal us. Did He do all this for children, too or just for adults?

Can I look at someone who is chronically sick or debilitated and think, "Jesus endured that, too"?

Israelite children were familiar with sheep. Like sheep, we went our own way but Jesus, without turning His own way, accepted the consequences so we could follow where God was walking.

"By a perversion of justice he was taken away." Looking back we know God had a plan for all that happened to Jesus but at the time it was still a perversion of justice extended towards a most innocent, undeserving person.

His grave with the wicked. His tomb with the rich...We don't think of Him as wicked or rich. But here was another way He can identify with His people.

Do you think someday when we meet Him and tell him all our excuses and all our woes He will say to us, "Been there. Done that. You have no excuse"? Will He sympathize? Will He empathize?

(53:11-12)"Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities . . . he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." I don't want to even pretend to understand this and all of it's far-reaching implications. And I don't know that our recognition of the depth of Jesus suffering is so much to share with people as to incorporate into our prayers for people struggling in these places.

How can we bring this understanding of Christ Jesus to children...

Psalm 22 • This is the Psalm for us (whatever our age) to help us remember that even when we don't believe God is listening that he still hears & answers prayers. Jesus on the cross. The exact opposite of what His followers expected.

"Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel."

There's that crowd of witnesses again.

What's it like when you feel like a worm?

What does this tell us about childhood faith? "Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother's breast. On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help."

(22:22-24) Children can share this: "I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him."

(22:30-31) "Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it."

Hebrews 10:16-25 (10:23-25)"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful." Kids can do that. "...let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds. . ." Kids can do that. ". . . not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. . ." Kids can do this too.

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 • Jesus our high priest. Someone who sympathizes with our weakness. What would be the opposite of that? He is someone who has faced all the same tests we do, without messing up opening the door so we can come to him with confidence when we need Him and we can find mercy and grace.

This talks about Jesus praying. It talks about Jesus the son learning to obey His Father through the things He suffered...then the Son, in turn, became a source of eternal salvation to those who obey Him...

John 18:1-19:42
Here is the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. A place where Jesus often met with His disciples. Somehow I forget that line when I think of the garden. A story to act out.

Then you have the story of Jesus before the religious leaders. Another story to act out. What do we know about Annas and Caiaphas? What background stories can kids be familiar with to better understand the characters before they act out a story from scripture?

You have the story of Peter's betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter betrayed Jesus, too. What was different?

You have the story of Jesus before Pilate.

You have the story of Jesus on the cross.

You have the story of Jesus & the soldiers.

You have the story of Jesus, Joseph, & Nicodemas.

What parts of the Lenten & Easter stories will mean something to the youngest child? Preschool? Early Elementary. Late Elementary? Pre-teen? Teen? To what degree will it depend on the demographics of your kids and what they've been exposed to?