Easter Sunday: April 30th

Beulah Land: The Apostles’ Ministry

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

Summary: After Jesus’ ascension, Holy Spirit came as a helper for Christians. The Apostles spread the message of Christ in remarkable ways. Two of the ways we will hear about today is through the healing of a paralytic man and an encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. This is an exciting set of stories as it tells the beginnings of the Church.

I Wonder… : what it would be like to have Jesus’ power to heal people? what happened to the Ethiopian man when he went home to Africa? how someone can know and love Jesus if they never met him in person? if this is still the story of Jesus?

Follow up Ideas: Memorize the names of the disciples! (Acts 1 and Matthew 10 list them off)

Godly Play I & II: Jesus and the Twelve

…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

From a google search

Easter Sunday: April 23rd

Beulah Land: Easter Week

He has risen, just as He said! – from Matthew 28:6

  • 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?
  • Hymn of the Month: Abide with Me (Click HERE for practice!)
  • 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

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? how is communion like the good grass and still water?
  • Additional Followup: Did you know a rumor about the early church was that they were cannibals? Onlookers heard they ate a special meal of the “body” and the “blood.” While those early critiques of the church are misinformed, communion is certainly a topic full of mystery and wonder. 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! If you’d like to highlight some of the Good Shepherd passages, HERE is a beautiful version of Psalm 23 (word for word). It might make memorization easier!

Easter Sunday: April 16th

God’s love is stronger than death, stronger than hurt, stronger than lying and cheating and stealing and fighting and hurting and hating—not even the Enemy is stronger than God’s love. God’s love is always enough and more than enough. Amen and Alleluia.

That is our story.
— Beulah Land, Passion and Resurrection

Beulah Land: The Cross and the Resurrection

“Behold! I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5a

Summary: Today’s story is the Passion and Resurrection. Because Beulah Land kids are so young, the curriculum is designed to tell both of those stories together rather than stopping one week with Jesus’ Death, then teaching the Resurrection the following week. This week, Satan, the enemy, who has been “waiting and watching” in the corner of the board to destroy Jesus, will be thrown to the ground with the beautiful words quoted above.

I Wonder… : what your favorite part of the story is? why those leaders were scared of Jesus? what it was like for him to be on the cross? where Jesus was when he died? what it was like for him to come back to life? where he is now? what made him want to die for us?

Additional Follow-up: Feast! Sing songs of rejoicing! Dance around! Give way to joy! Today is a celebration. I wonder what practices you can use with your family to celebrate Easter?

Godly Play I & II: Faces of Easter VII

In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace… Ephesians 1:7

Summary: We have arrived at Easter! Today’s lesson is about the Passion and Resurrection. As the children hear of Jesus dying and being buried, they expect the story to end in sadness. Instead it finishes with great joy… Easter joy! Listen to the words told in our story as the storyteller flips the set pieces back and forth, When you look at this side (crucifixion), you know that the other side is there (Easter). When you look at this side (Easter), you know that this side (crucifixion) is there, and you cannot pull them apart. This is the Mystery of Easter, and that makes all the difference …

I Wonder…: what part of this story you liked most? where Jesus was when he was dead? where he is now? what it means when we say “when two or three are gathered in his name, he is there?” why is it so important that Jesus died and was resurrected? what that has to do with you and me?

Additional Followup: Sing songs of rejoicing! Dance around! Give way to joy! Today is a celebration. I wonder what practices you can use with your family to celebrate Easter?

Palm Sunday: April 9th

Beulah Land: Lazarus

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: Faces of Easter VI

Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26

  • Summary: Today our kids will hear about Jesus turning toward Jerusalem and the cross. They will learn about the institution of the Lord’s Supper.
  • I Wonder…: if you have ever come close to the bread and the wine Jesus was talking about? what it means when Jesus said this bread was his body and this wine was his blood? why we still partake of this special meal? why it is so special? where else you have heard about Jesus’ people eating bread or drinking wine?
  • Additional Followup: Lessons about Communion can be full of mystery and wondering! Explore with your child what it means to take communion. Ask an elder to help if you feel stuck! You can also use your worship folder to review our order of communion with your child. They have probably made some interesting and even profound observations! You could even play/ act out “communion” using your worship folder.
  • Bonus: Host a seder meal with your kids. Look HERE , HERE and HERE for some ideas. Talk about the Passover and wonder what the Passover might have to do with Jesus. HERE is an example of the Passover/ Last Supper if you are not comfortable with a Seder. It includes a foot washing for the  family. You can always tweek it like THIS author did. She made up her own symbolic meal. The idea is to incorporate all of the senses and wonder about the gravity of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Lent Sunday: April 3rd

Beulah Land: The Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

  • Summary: Today’s story is not 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 tell in Godly Play!
  • I Wonder… : how the Good Shepherd knows the names of the sheep? how they know his voice? why the ordinary shepherd doesn’t care about the sheep in the same way? 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!
  • Hymn of the Month: Abide with Me. Find it HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I & II: Faces of Easter V

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. Matthew 4:23

  • Summary: Today’s story focuses on Jesus as Parable-Maker and Healer. In the words of Godly Play, “His work was to come close to people…when Jesus came close to people, they changed.”
  • I Wonder…: what Jesus thought about his work? what the blind man thought when he was able to see? what was so important about Jesus’ parables and healings? what sort of people Jesus came close to? what about today…who does Jesus come close to? what does that even mean?
  • Additional Followup: Go back through some of the accounts of Jesus’ miracle and parables in Scripture. Ask your kids to tell a parable or miracle to you!