Easter Sunday: April 24

Beulah Land: The Loaves and Fish

  • Memory Verse: They all ate and were satisfied. Matthew 13: 20a
  • Summary: Today’s story puts us back into the throes of Jesus’ ministry. It’s the story of Jesus feeding thousands with five loaves of bread and two fish. This is a story about provision, miracle, and enough…with leftovers. It is at the heart of the Good News and is found in all four Gospel accounts.
  • I Wonder… : what it was like to be in the crowd who followed Jesus? why the boy offered his bread and fish to Jesus? what all those people thought when they were told there was only one basket of food? what is the best part of this story? how this story changes us?
  • Follow up Ideas: This is bit of a stretch, but maybe you could talk about how Jesus has given us enough (and more than enough!). How can we give to others in gratitude for what He has given us? Maybe you can take some food to someone or to a food bank?

Godly Play I & II: Parable of the Leaven

  • Memory Verse: The Kingdom of God is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough. Matthew 13:33
  • Summary: This parable, also known as Parable of the Yeast, is found in Matthew 13 and Luke 13. It is very short–basically the length of a verse.  Leaven is what permeates the bread dough so that it will become fluffy. Remember that in Exodus, the Hebrews were instructed to not wait for bread to rise in their flight from Egypt? They had to leave right away. They continued that feast every Passover using unleavened bread. This parable is about a dough with leaven. What might Jesus be saying about His kingdom permeating the world?
  • I Wonder…: what Jesus meant when he said the kingdom is like leaven/yeast? where you have seen bread like this in Scripture before? how it is different from that bread?
  • Additional Followup: Make bread!!! Don’t forget to sing the Rain for Roots song!

Easter Sunday: April 17

Beulah Land: Lazarus

  • Memory Verse: I am the resurrection, the truth and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. John 11:25
  • Summary: Today’s story comes from Luke 10 and John 11. It is a miracle story in which Jesus resurrects his friend, Lazarus. This story draws attention to the gift of life that Jesus gives…regardless of time. Jesus is never too late. This also draws attention to Jesus’ grief. He, too, was sad to see his friend face death even though he knew Lazarus would have life again. What a mysterious Scripture this is! I WONDER what is it telling us?
  • I Wonder… : why Jesus waited so long to heal Lazarus? why Jesus was crying? what it would be like to be dead and come back to life? what you think is most amazing about this story?
  • Follow up Ideas: I think most 3-year-olds will generally accept this story. They’re not as aware of death yet. It might be when they are two or so years older that they start to wrestle more with the concept of death, finality and eternal life.  Perhaps now is the time to memorize verses that we can cling to when death takes up more space on our radars.

Godly Play I & II: Jesus and the Twelve

  • Memory Verse: …those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew, Phillip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brother. Acts 1:13b-14
  • Summary: Today we will head into the New Testament to learn about Jesus’ Disciples/ Apostles. These men were vital to spreading the Gospel after Jesus ascended into heaven. They also wrote most of our New Testament books. This lesson will review each of the apostles, how they met Jesus, how they continued his ministry, and how they died.
  • I Wonder…: why Jesus called for these specific men to follow them?  what they thought of Jesus? how they felt when he died and was resurrected? which one you like best? what it is you like about him?
  • Additional Followup: Today’s lesson uses the Last Supper by da Vinci. Maybe you could pull up an image and ask your child to teach you about the apostles. Try to name all 12 and what you know about each one. Look for passages in Scripture that tell you about each one…even if you have to google search or use your bible index to locate the passages! Here are two to start you off: Matthew 10:2-4, Acts 1:13-14
    Godly Play Resources
    What the story looks like. From Godly Play Resources.

    From a google search
    Da Vinci’s Last Supper. From a google images search.

Easter Sunday: April 10

Beulah Land: The Good Shepherd

  • Memory Verse: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
  • Summary: Today’s parable is not really a parable in a strict sense. It’s an “I Am” discourse that is often lumped in with parables since it uses imagery to convey a truth about Jesus. In this story, Jesus is revealing something about himself, his followers, and enemies of God. You can find the passage in John 10. During the story, the storyteller is instructed to slowly take down the felt figures of the crowd following Jesus, and replace them with sheep. This provides a clear context for the children to see a connection between Jesus and his followers with the Good Shepherd with his sheep. In that way, it is quite similar to the communion story we learned last week in Godly Play!
  • I Wonder… : how the Good Shepherd knows the names of the sheep? how do they know his voice? why doesn’t the ordinary shepherd care about the sheep? what the names of the sheep are?
  • Additional Follow-up: You could read Psalm 23 or John 10. Maybe you can talk about shepherds and sheep. You could sing “I am Jesus Little Lamb” or, if you’re the crafty type, make a sheep pen with cotton ball sheep. I thought this was a cute thing to make and put in a child’s room as a reminder of our Shepherd’s presence!

Godly Play I: Free Work Time

  • Memory Verse: Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11
  • Summary: Today is a lesson completely devoted to encountering God through the story sets and art supplies. The storyteller will open the story circle by helping the children reflect upon and wonder over the stories they’ve heard in Godly Play. Children will then be given the opportunity to choose either a story set or art materials to work with. Since children integrate their experience and knowledge with hands-on play, this will be a time for them to connect with God and His Word. Sometimes children need to come back to the same story on multiple occasions to “get it”…not unlike us adults! This time gives them a set-apart time to do so. See more HERE about work in Godly Play.
  • I Wonder…: which story you think of more than others? which one you like most? which one you like least? which story has something to do with Jesus? which story has something to do with you?
  • Additional Followup: Go ahead and ask what story your child picked to work with! Maybe you could read that story from the bible or even create your own version of it to play with at home.

Godly Play II: Parable and I AM Synthesis Game

  • Memory Verse: Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
  • Summary: One goal of this lesson is to teach children how to locate parables and “I AM” statements in the Gospel texts. You’ll notice that narrative parables are found in what’s known as the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). The Book of John contains “I AM” statements made by Jesus.
  • I Wonder: why Jesus gave us parables? why Jesus gave us I AM statements? how you find them? if they are in all of the books of the bible?
  • Followup: Practice looking up verses at home! While this story/lesson takes the ability to read, memorizing the books of the bible in order does not! If your child isn’t able to read well yet, consider memorizing the order or talking about the types of books found in the bible (prophetic, poetry, Gospel, etc).

Easter Sunday: April 3

Beulah Land: Easter Week

  • Memory Verse: It is true! The Lord has risen. Luke 24:34a
  • Summary: Today’s story is taken from all four Gospels. It depicts Jesus’ encounters with people after the resurrection. Your children will hear about Jesus revealing himself to Mary Magdalene, Cleopas, the disciples and Thomas.
  • I Wonder… : why nobody believed Mary when she said that she had seen Jesus? why Jesus’ friends did not recognize him at first? how many things we believe without seeing or touching them? if this is the end of the story with Jesus?
  • Follow up Ideas: There is a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer that draws imagery from resurrected Jesus’ encounter with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus. Maybe you can use this prayer over the week:

Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past. Be our companion in the Way. Kindle our hearts and awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in Scripture, and in the breaking of bread. Grant us this for the sake of your love. Amen.

Godly Play I & II: The Good Shepherd and Communion

  • Memory Verse: I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14
  • Summary: Today’s story is a remarkable one to witness! I tear up nearly every time I hear it. Your child will hear the words of John 10 and watch the Good Shepherd story connect with the lesson of Communion. The Shepherd figure will lead the sheep from a pen to the good, green grass, which places them at a table surrounded by people from all over the world. The Shepherd will stand with a pastor figure as the storyteller explains that the pastor reads the words of the Good Shepherd and gives us the bread and wine.
  • I Wonder…: if you have ever been close to this table? if those sheep have a name? what the table really is? what the bread and wine really are? if you ever thought about taking this special meal? who all takes this meal? where people who take it are from?
  • Additional Followup: Lessons about Communion can be full of mystery and wondering! Explore with your child what it means to take communion. You can also use your worship folder to review our order of communion with your child. They have probably already made some interesting and even profound observations (see photo below). You could even play/ act out “communion” using your worship folder. You could also pretend to be the Good Shepherd/ sheep and walk beside green grass and cool waters. HERE is a beautiful version of Psalm 23 (word for word).

In our Godly Play rooms, the Christ figures are in the center of our story sets just as Christ is central to our faith. Next to that is what we can fit of the Good Shepherd and Communion story set. Note how the sheep (and maybe a cow figure!) have been arranged on the resurrected Christ figure. I WONDER why one of our children would organize the set this way?