Ordinary Time: November 26th

All Godly Play Classes will start our Advent series this week. Godly Play will not meet on Christmas Eve Sunday. Therefore, even though Advent officially begins NEXT Sunday, 12/3, we are beginning this four part series today in order to receive the whole story before Christmas.

ADVENT

The season of Advent is a time set aside in the church calendar for members to prepare themselves to engage the mystery of the Incarnation. Advent helps teach us what it means to long and wait for the arrival of Jesus. Rather than rushing through the holiday season, Christians slow down to remember and receive the promise of full redemption and rejoice in the hope of Christ. This helps us learn to look for his second coming. The Godly Play lessons during these four weeks of waiting and watching will reflect on the parties important to the birth of Christ.

Advent I: The Prophets

Summary: Today’s lesson focuses on the prophets who foretold the Incarnation. It is different from other Godly Play lessons because there are no wondering questions at the end. The reason for this is to heighten the mystery of Christmas as we build up to THE DAY we have been waiting for!

I Wonder…: I wonder what the prophets thought was going to happen in Bethlehem? I wonder what it was like to wait for so long for some thing to happen? I wonder if you remember anything from the stories of prophets that might be about Christ? I wonder if you’ve ever had to wait a long time for something? I wonder what it means to be waiting for Jesus now…didn’t he already come?

Follow-Up: Make an advent wreath together! Or put out 4 candles and light one each Sunday of Advent. Check out the RMC Kids Advent pinterest page for more ideas. If you participated in the Jesse Tree Ornament Swap last year, don’t forget to start your tree on Sunday, 12/3!

Parents, where do you long for Christ’s presence to be known in your family? What needs to be disrupted in your daily routine to make space for this hope? What would you really be anticipating if you took away all of the Christmas rushing? Ask God: What does it mean that you are Emmanuel, “Christ with us”?

Music: Don’t forget our beloved Rain for Roots’ Waiting Songs Album! And save the date for our own Advent Hymn Sing, December 21st.

Ordinary Time: November 19

GP I: Ark and Temple

Passage: O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth- you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 2 Chronicles 6:14

Summary: This week’s lesson continues to address the presence of God with the Israelites. Our focus is on the building of the temple as a dwelling place for God. Remember, last week’s important phrase was, “God made a way for the people to come near.” You kids will build upon that idea with questions about God’s special presence in the temple as well as that his presence cannot be contained in one place. How’s that for something to wrestle with?!

Wondering: I wonder what you remember from the temple? I wonder what King Solomon meant when he said God was too big to be contained in one place? I wonder where God lives now?

Additional Follow-Up: Look up pictures of the temple (then and now). You can explain to your children that it was destroyed, rebuilt, then destroyed again so now all we have are ruins of the temple. Jesus talks about himself as the temple. I wonder what he means?

GP II: Story of Elijah

Passage: Answer me, Oh Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again. Kings 18:37

Summary: This week we hear the story of Elijah. Elijah challenged the kings of Israel for their idolatry and immorality. He encountered prophets of the idol, Baal, and advised the evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel to repent. He was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind! You can find his account in I and II Kings.

Something interesting to note is that all of our prophet stories begin with something like this: “A prophet is a person chosen by God to take a message to His people. Sometimes people do not like hearing what the prophet has to say.  They become angry at the prophet. It is not easy being a prophet.”

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Elijah? I wonder why he ran to a cave after defeating the prophets of Baal? I wonder what God wanted the people to hear from Elijah? I wonder if we left out part of the story if we’d have all we needed?

Family Follow-Up: A great resource for you parents is from Richard Pratt’s study of Prophets. Look HERE and HERE for a study guide and set of videos about the prophets. Points Pratt makes about prophets during the time of the Israelite monarchy are that God sent prophets to the kings of Israel to make sure they were obedient to the law of Moses. The prophets were witnesses against the disobedience of kings and those who followed them.

This would be an interesting follow-up with your child after the lesson. Over the week read the account of Elijah from I and II Kings together. Then ask questions like, “I wonder how Ahab and Jezebel were disobeying God?”, “I wonder what was it like for Elijah to tell the truth to people who were not obeying God?” or “I wonder why it was so important that Elijah warn Ahab about his disobedience?” Hopefully questions like that could provide areas of exploration for your children when they encounter stories about prophets.

GP III: The Prophets
Passage: But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Micah 5:2

Summary: This lesson is an overview of some of the Old Testament prophets. Here is a part of what your children will hear…”Sometimes the people of God forget who they are. They hide from God, and pretend God isn’t there. Sometimes they even worship other gods. There are also people God spoke to. These people are called prophets. They tell people what God wants His people to know.”

Wondering: I wonder what is important about the prophets? I wonder what it was like to give messages to God’s people? I wonder why the people of God did not always stay close to God? I wonder what God wanted His people to know?

Family Follow-Up: Did you get a prophet flashcard game last year? Want one? You can use it to help with identifying which prophets said what. Your child may not have heard all of the stories yet, but it’s fine to go ahead and begin to learn about them! They’ll get those stories as they go through Godly Play over the next few years.

Ordinary Time: November 12th

GP I: Ark and Tent

Memory Verse: Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

Summary: This week’s lesson focuses on the presence of God with the Israelites. God would not leave His people as they wandered nor as they entered the Promise Land, even when they doubted and sinned. But how will He make his presence known? The Israelites were afraid to approach him at Mt. Sinai, but He is also too holy to be addressed in an ordinary way. Your children will discuss the way God commanded Moses and the Israelites to set up the tabernacle in order to have His presence. An important phrase repeated in this lesson is, “God made a way for the people to come near.”

I Wonder…:  I wonder how we are near to God? I wonder how we know? I wonder how God makes a way for his people to come near? I wonder how He makes a way for us to come close to Him?

Additional Follow-up: See if your child can remember the parts of the tent. Light some incense (or a candle) and wonder what it smelled like in the tent.

GP II: Story of David

Memory Verse: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Summary: This week’s lesson gives an overview of the story of David. It begins with David as a shepherd and continues through his life, highlighting some parts of his story such as the battle with Goliath and murder of Uriah. One theme presented to the children is that though David was not a perfect king, he was repentant and asked for God’s forgiveness. And God was always faithful to forgive him.

I wonder…: I wonder what it was like to be the king of Israel? I wonder what it means to be a man after God’s own heart? I wonder what part of the story you remember most?

Additional Follow-Up: This week’s lesson covers a lot of ground. You might enjoy re-reading the parts of David’s story that are most interesting to your child. You can find David’s stories in 1 Samuel 16-31, 2 Samuel 7 1 Kings 1-2. Our memory verse is from Psalm 51, which was written by David after his affair with Bathsheba. If your child is reading, you can help him/ her look through the bible to find which Psalms were written by David.

Godly Play II: The Story of Ruth

Passage: Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer! Ruth 4:14a

Summary: This week’s lesson is the story of Ruth. When Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, are widowed and left to starve, God reveals how He is at work on behalf of His people. This story is much less about a romantic encounter nestled in between rocky times of the judges, and much more about the welcoming of a courageous Moabite woman into the family of God.

I wonder…: I wonder what Naomi and Ruth thought would happen to them? I wonder how they felt about going back home? I wonder what Ruth thought when she decided to take care of her mother-in-law? I wonder what she meant when she said “your God will be my God.” I wonder what the most important part of the story is?

Additional Follow-Up: This week’s lesson is quite short. It might be a good time to read the story of Ruth together at home. Another idea for home is to talk about what it means to be a widow or to be unable to have children today (both here and around the world).

Ordinary Time: November 5th

Godly Play I: Ten Best Ways

Verse: Walk in all the ways that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33

Summary:  Last week, your child heard the story about the Exodus. This week, we will turn our attention to the part of our story in which the Ten Commandments are given to the Israelites. The story sets up with this line, “Now that the people are free, they can go anywhere they want to go and do anything they want to do. Where will they go now? What is the best way?” You can read the story at home in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:1-21.

Wondering: I wonder why God gave the people the Ten Commandments? I wonder why we called them the 10 best ways tonight? I wonder what the most important commandment is? Which ones do you remember? I wonder which one is the hardest to keep for you? I wonder what happens if we don’t choose the best ways?

Family Follow-up: Do you think you can memorize the ten commandments together? They’re big concepts for adults, let alone 3 and 4 year olds! What does it mean to value life? To not want what other have? I wouldn’t expect too much discussion about these, but you can still try to wonder together about them. Memorizing is also good for now. For adults, Matt Clegg recommended this book as a good reference for you as you think through the commandments and life as a Christian!

Godly Play II: Story of Samuel

Memory VerseFor the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b

Summary: This week’s story is about Samuel. It will give a brief overview of his life as a priest, prophet and judge. It will also help link the worship of God from the tent to the temple. We will also hear briefly about the institution of kings in Israel with Saul and David.

I Wonder…: I wonder why the Bible tells us that Hannah brought a coat to Samuel every year? I wonder what you liked most about this story? I wonder what is most important?

Additional Follow-up: Talk about (and memorize) the bible verse. What does it mean for God to see beyond what’s on the outside? What is important to God?

Godly Play III: Holy Family

Verse: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Colossians 1:15

Summary: This story draws attention to the focal story of our room- the Holy Family. It is literally in the middle of our focal shelves and seen behind the story teller each week as a new story is told. Christ’s incarnation changes everything for us. He is the story all of the other stories are about. We will name those present at His birth and talk briefly about His death and resurrection.

Wondering: I wonder which part of the story you like best? I wonder which is most important? I wonder what this story has to do with you?

Family Follow-up: Read Colossians 1:15-20 with your children one night before bed. It is about the supremacy of Christ. Draw a picture of today’s lesson. Have your child tell you about each participant in the story. I encourage you to not quiz the children to make sure they have the right answers, but allow them to talk about their picture freely as they explore the story.