Easter Sunday: May 7th

Beulah Land: Stories of Peter

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19

Summary: Today’s is an exciting story as your child will learn about the rapid growth of the church. It is taken from Acts 9:31-12:18 and gives multiple accounts of Peter’s work to spread the Gospel. Equipped by Holy Spirit and commissioned as an apostle, Peter was able to perform miraculous healings, escape from prison and even tell a Roman centurion the truth about Jesus.

I Wonder… : what it feels like to be healed? what it is like to see an angel? what it means to hear the story and let it change you? if this story is still a part of Jesus?

Follow up Ideas: Get out a map! Find where the church started to spread. Where do others Christians live now? How do people hear the Good News of Jesus?

Godly Play I: Paul’s Discovery

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Summary: Today’s story comes from Acts and multiple other New Testament books. It walks through the life of Paul, taking children through stories of his conversion, missionary journeys and death.

I Wonder…: what your favorite part of the story is? what the most important part could be? if this story has anything do with you? what you think about Paul? what it is like to be in a place where people do not like Jesus?

Additional Followup: Get out a map and trace Paul’s missionary journeys. Find out which New Testament letters are written by Paul. Do you have a favorite?

Fun Facts for Parents: We know from his second letter to Timothy that Paul was probably aware that his time on earth was ending– and that he would be executed for his faith (see 2 Timothy 4). Though we don’t have an exact time, Paul’s death is typically dated during Nero’s rule. Nero hated Christians, blamed them for the burning of Rome and tortured them greatly. He even used Christians as human torches for evening parties. Because he was a Roman citizen, historians report that Paul’s death would have likely come from sword or axe rather than crucifixion or burning. Many legends have popped up surrounding the death of Paul. One claims that after decapitation, Paul’s head bounced three times, leaving behind three flowing springs where it touched the ground. While the manner in which Paul was killed cannot be confirmed, we are confident that Paul was most likely killed for his faith. He was once a man driven by perfectionism and hatred of Christians until he met Jesus and was changed. I wonder how knowing Jesus changes you?

Godly Play II: Story of Dorcas

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18

Summary: This story is taken from Acts 9:36-42. It covers both the spread of the gospel through the mission of Peter as well as how believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to serve their neighbors.

I wonder…: why Dorcas was so concerned with helping the poor and the widowed? why the widows were so sad when she died? what Dorcas thought when she sat up and opened her eyes? what people thought when they saw Dorcas alive again?

Additional Followup: Wonder together over who the poor and widowed are. How can you as a family show them the love of Christ?

Fun Facts for Parents: Dorcas is the Greek translation for the Aramaic Tabitha (which means gazelle). Tabitha took seriously the call to care for the poor and the widow. From the text, it seems as though her ministry had far reaches in her community. We see a faithful follower in Dorcas. This account also shows us how the gospel continued to spread through the apostle, Peter. Because people saw Dorcas brought back to life, they believed in Christ.

Lent Sunday: March 19th

Beulah Land: The Prodigal Son

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God… Ephesians 2:8

  • Summary: Today’s parable is the Prodigal Son. This parable is also known by different names such as: The Two Sons, The Running Father, and The Loving Father. It only appears in one Gospel—Luke. This parable is a response to the mutterings of Pharisees who did not understand why Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (v. 2) Interestingly, though many parables highlight what one should do, this one does not. Instead, we see the abundance of the Good News…there is enough for all, regardless of if you do everything you “should do” or if you fail miserably and squander all you have.
  • I Wonder… : how it feels to waste things? how it feels to say you are sorry? how it feels to be the older brother? if anything like this story has ever happened to you? what it means to hear the story and let it change you? how God’s love changes us?
  • Parent Reflection: With your spouse or a good friend, talk about which parable character you personally identify with and even which tendencies you notice in your children. Pray to receive the grace of Jesus in those places. A good, short, follow-up read for adults is Henri Nowen’s Return of the Prodigal.
  • Hymn of the Month: Each month we sing a verse and a chorus to help our children learn hymns they’ll sing when they remain in the service next year. Holy, Holy, Holy is this month’s hymn. If you want to practice it at home, check HERE for help!

Rembrandt

Godly Play I & II: Faces of Easter III

When John saw Jesus coming toward him, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1:29

  • Summary: We are three Sundays into Lent, the season in which we prepare for Easter. We are using a set of stories that walk through the life of Christ. Today’s lesson focuses on the baptism of Jesus by his cousin, John the Baptist. This is the first account we have of adult Jesus in Scripture.
  • I Wonder…:  if anyone in our family has been baptized? if this story reminded you of any other stories? why God told everyone that he was pleased with Jesus? if John and Jesus knew each other already?
  • Additional Followup: This might be a good time to revisit the topic of baptism. Talk about your child’s baptism or your own. You can talk more about John the Baptist. Why did he wear what he wore and eat what he ate? Look up pictures of the Jordan River. You can also talk about the presence of Trinity seen in this account– God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That is something to really wonder about!

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Third Sunday of Advent: December 11th

Beulah Land: Jonah

I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land. Jonah 1:9

Summary: Beulah Land will continue Old Testament character study until Christmas Sunday. This week’s story is about Jonah. When Jonah disobeys God and does everything wrong, God still uses him to extend his mercy to other nations…including Nineveh, a bitter enemy of Israel.

We will incorporate our Advent Spiral each week. It depicts a figure on a donkey coming closer to Bethlehem (the center) each week as we come closer to Christmas day. It looks like this:

This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.
This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.

Follow Up Questions: I wonder what it feels like to not want to do what God tells you to do? I wonder what it feels like to try to run away from God? I wonder what it feels like to be swallowed by a fish?

Additional Followup: Re-read the story at home. Play with water and wonder together about being swallowed up by a big fish.

Hymn of the Month: We are transitioning into a new hymn for December! We’ll be learning Friendly Beasts, which is on our Advent Hymn Sing rotation. Get ready to belt it out there on December 22nd! Check out THIS SITE to sing along.

Godly Play I & II: Advent: Shepherds

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: 10-11

Summary: We are continuing to prepare for the Mystery of Christmas through Advent stories. This week’s lesson draws attention to the shepherds. The goal of taking time to concentrate on each present party is so that the kids can come as close as they can to the beauty of the Incarnation. We want them to consider every angle possible… and marvel!

Follow Up Questions: I wonder if you have ever been heard something wonderful? I wonder what the shepherds felt when they saw the angels? I wonder what made the shepherds want to tell people all they’d heard concerning Jesus? 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?

Additional Follow Up: Review the passages from Luke that depict the shepherds. Look up pictures of shepherds in those days. Talk about their role.

Some interesting footnotes from The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible:

Shepherds were unable to keep ceremonial law due to their line of work. They were a despised class and were considered unreliable…to the extent of not having permission to testify in court. What an odd group to witness such miracles! Another interesting thing to note is that Scripture uses the word “host” as a military term designating an army. The angelic host that appears to the Shepherds is announcing peace. Wonder what that could mean?

Second Sunday of Advent: December 4th

Beulah Land: Daniel

…He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells within Him. Daniel 2:22b

Summary: Beulah Land will continue Old Testament character study until Christmas Sunday. This week’s story is one of faithful believers in exile. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel live far from their land and people, yet they remain brave in their obedience to God. When their loyalty to God is questioned by arrogant rulers, they are sent to fiery and ravenous trials. Through them, the one true God reveals his power to deliver and rule. He also displays his presence with his people, even when they’re not in the promised land.You can find this in the book of Daniel, in particular chapters 3 and 6.

We will incorporate our Advent Spiral each week. It depicts a figure on a donkey coming closer to Bethlehem (the center) each week as we come closer to Christmas day. It looks like this:

This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.
This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.

Follow Up Questions: I wonder why Daniel’s friends would not bow down to the idol? I wonder how Daniel and his friends came to be so brave? I wonder how God can be everywhere with His people?

Additional Followup: Re-read the story at home. Wonder about how the people of God were able to be safe from the fire and lions.

Hymn of the Month: We are transitioning into a new hymn for December! We’ll be learning Friendly Beasts, which is on our Advent Hymn Sing rotation. Get ready to belt it out there on December 22nd! Check out THIS SITE to sing along.

Godly Play I & II: Advent: Mary and Joseph

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.    Isaiah 9:2

Summary: We are continuing to prepare for the Mystery of Christmas through Advent stories. Last week, the lesson focused on the prophets. This week’s lesson draws attention to Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. The goal of taking time to concentrate on each present party is so that the kids can come as close as they can to the beauty of the Incarnation. We want them to consider every angle possible… and marvel at it!

Follow Up Questions: I wonder if you have ever been full of something wonderful? I wonder what Mary and Joseph were thinking about as they traveled to Bethlehem? I wonder what you think they talked about? I wonder what Mary and Joseph felt after walking and riding for so many miles? 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?

Additional Follow Up: This might be a good time to read passages with your child from the Gospels about Jesus’s parents (the Annunciation, Mary visiting Elizabeth, Joseph stopped from divorcing Mary, etc). I think it could be interesting to show some famous artwork of these encounters to your child and see what your child notices from them.

Music: Don’t forget our beloved Rain for Roots’ Waiting Songs Album! Another great one for this time is Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb  (this concert will be in town this upcoming Friday, December 9th!)

First Sunday of Advent: November 27th

ADVENT

This week begins the season of Advent, a special time 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.

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Beulah Land: Esther

Who knows if you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14b

Summary: Beulah Land will continue Old Testament character study until Christmas Sunday. This week’s story is an overview of the book of Esther. We will incorporate our Advent Spiral each week. It depicts a figure on a donkey coming closer to Bethlehem (the center) each week as we come closer to Christmas day. It looks like this:

This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.
This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.

Follow Up Questions: I wonder why Mordecai would not bow down to Haman? I wonder how Esther came to be so brave? I wonder where God is in this story?

Additional Followup: 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, don’t forget to start your tree today!

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 child? 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”?

Hymn of the Month: This is the last week for the first verse of Be Thou My Vision! We will begin a new one in December. Check out THIS SITE to singalong.

Godly Play I & II: Advent Prophets

Memory Verse: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots, a branch will bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1

Summary: The Godly Play lessons during these four weeks reflect on the parties present at the birth of Christ. 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!

Follow Up Questions: 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?

Additional 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, don’t forget to start your tree today!

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 child? 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! Another great one for this time is Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb  (this concert will be in town on December 9th!)

Ordinary Time: Sunday, November 20

Beulah Land: Elijah
O Lord, God of Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel!                        I Kings 18:36

Summary: Today’s story is about the prophet Elijah. It is an overview of his ministry that includes his encounter with the widow, the false prophets of Baal and the whisper of God’s presence. It is also about how Elijah called God’s people away from their sins and carelessness to repentance and obedience. You can find these accounts in I Kings 17-19 and II Kings 2.

Wondering: I wonder why the people stopped believing God’s promises? I wonder why Elijah went out to the desert and holy mountain? I wonder why God sent Elijah to tell His people a message?

Family Followup: Re-read the story together at home from your bible. The Beulah Land curriculum suggests inserting dramatic reading in the part where Elijah encounters God in a small, still whisper. When you read about the earthquake, have your child stomp his/her feet. When you read about the wind, have him/her blow or make swooshing sounds. When you read about the fire, have them wave something red or their arms like flames. Then when you get to the whisper, lower your voice and whisper.

Hymn of the Month: Our November hymn of the month is Be Thou My Vision. We will start with the first verse for now. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Story of Isaiah
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will            bear fruit. — Isaiah 11:1

Summary: This week’s story is about the prophet Isaiah. It will cover the entire book, highlighting some particular prophesies. God sent messages through him to warn the people of judgment through exile and assure them of future restoration after the exile. Like all prophets, we see Christ anticipated. One way we see this in Isaiah is with “respect to Isaiah’s servant motif” (Reformation Study Bible). Jesus fulfilled several of these including being a light to the Gentiles (49:1-7), by bringing justice to the nations (42:1-4) and take away the sins of the elect (52:13-53:12).

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Isaiah? I wonder why he was afraid when he saw God and thought he was not good enough to be near God? I wonder what it was like for Isaiah to know about the future exile? I wonder why he told people to make a garment of splendor to go back home in?

Family Followup: I specifically picked Isaiah for this class during this last week of Ordinary time. We use so many references to Christ from Isaiah during the Advent and Christmas season. You can try to sing THIS song from the Rain for Roots Waiting Songs album. You can also try to use the prophets flashcard game again!

Godly Play II: Story of Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he shall stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.  Job 19:25-26

Summary: This week, we turn our attention from the prophets to Job. Job is a very early Old Testament writing that address some major themes like suffering and the mystery of God’s presence. As we prepare to enter Advent next week, I wonder what Job has to teach children about pain, sorrow and how it brings us to God’s presence?

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Job? I wonder what it was like to have everything taken from you? I wonder what it was like for Job to hear his friends tell him he did something wrong when he didn’t? I wonder what it was like for Job to meet God in the middle of so much suffering? I wonder if it is enough to know God when we are hurting?

Family Followup: This can be a difficult story for children (and adults!). It addresses the concepts of deep suffering and faith. It is hard to understand why God allowed, and allows, pain and sorrow. Talk to your child about what they experience and see others experience as sorrow. Explore where God is when we hurt. Pray for insight for you and your child. HERE is a recent sermon if you’d like to hear more.

Ordinary Time: Sunday, November 13th

Beulah Land: David
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts. Psalm 28:7a

Summary: Today’s story is about David defeating Goliath. It is a fun telling complete with wondering about how TALL Goliath was and how BIG his feet were and how WIDE his shield was! All confronted by the sure faith of a shepherd boy who is appalled that anyone, large or small, would dare mock the living God. Indeed, it is by the power of God that the weak and seemingly foolish shame the strong. This story may be found in 1 Samuel 9, 16-17.

Wondering: I wonder if David was afraid of the giant? I wonder if the giant was afraid of David? I wonder what it is like to “trust the Lord with joy”? I wonder if this story reminds you of any other story?

Family Followup: Re-read the story together at home from your bible. This would be an interesting account to imagine together. Draw a picture of the giant and David. Talk about strength being found in the Lord rather than size. Please note, this is a big concept for 3-year-olds to grasp. Big = strong in their minds (and in their reality for a bigger person could literally pick them up and move them!). What a thing to wonder for them… and what a thing for us adults to remember. Even the smallest are important to God.

Hymn of the Month: Our November hymn of the month is Be Thou My Vision. We will start with the first verse for now. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Prophets
Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:24

Summary: This lesson is an introduction to lessons about the prophets. From Godly Play…”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 Followup: Use the prophet flashcard game! Your child may not know all of the symbols (since their class did not cover all of the prophets this year) 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.

Godly Play II: Daniel

God reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. Daniel 2:22

Note: This is our sixth week studying a prophet in GP II. From Godly Play notes… “In Jeremiah 18:18, the people say that priests teach and wise men give advice, but the prophet speaks the “word” or message of God. A secular messenger of those times, who spoke on behalf of a king, used traditional messenger-speech, first naming the one spoken for, then using the first-person voice to recite the message. Prophet spoke the same way: they identified themselves as speaking for God, then spoke “with God’s voice” on behalf of God to the audience God had chosen for the message.”

Summary: This week’s story is about the prophet Daniel. He was a prophet to God’s people while they were in exile in Babylon. Daniel happened to be placed in the king’s court because of his God-granted abilities to interpret dreams and visions. Despite persecution by the Babylonians, Daniel was faithful to God and sharing the messages God gave him.

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Daniel? I wonder what it was like to see visions from God? I wonder what it was like to tell the Babylonians messages from God when he knew they would be angry with him? I wonder what it was like for Daniel to be in the lion’s den?

Family Followup: Review the Prophets Flashcard Game at home! You can also read from the book of Daniel. The most popular story about Daniel is his encounter with the lion’s den, but there are several more important parts of his story such as faithfulness to God, courage that comes from God, and the promise of being God’s people forever.

Ordinary Time: Sunday, November 6th

Beulah Land: Samuel
Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!” 1 Samuel 3:10b

Summary: Today’s story is about Samuel. Like other stories sprinkled throughout Scripture, we begin with barrenness and end up with a blessing from God. Children will hear about Samuel’s call to serve the Living God.

Wondering: I wonder why Hannah wanted to take Samuel to live in the tent of the Lord? I wonder if Samuel wanted to live there? I wonder what it was like for Samuel to hear God calling his name? I wonder if you have heard God call your name?

Family Followup: Re-read the story together at home from your bible. Have your child pretend to be Samuel and re-enact God calling him/her.

Hymn of the Month: Today we begin a new hymn of the month! It is Be Thou My Vision. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Jonah
I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land. Jonah 1:9

Summary: This week our younger Godly Play children join the older Godly Play class in turning their attention to the prophets as we get ready to enter the season of Advent. Today’s story is that of Jonah. When Jonah disobeys God and does everything wrong, God still uses him to extend mercy to other nations…including Nineveh, a bitter enemy of Israel.

Wondering: I wonder what made Jonah not want to go to Nineveh? I wonder what he felt when a big fish swallowed him? I wonder what he thought when God spared Nineveh because they repented? I wonder if we are ever like Jonah? I wonder if you have heard another story about a storm on the water while a man sleeps in the boat? What is different in that story?

Family Followup: Use the prophet flashcard game! Your child may not know all of the symbols (since their class did not cover all of the prophets this year) 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.

Interesting to note: Jonah is read during the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It is a reminder that no one is beyond God’s hand of mercy and that His mercy awaits those who repent whole-heartedly. In addition, Jesus compares his ministry to Jonah. What parallels do you see between the two?

Godly Play II: Ezekiel

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

Note: This is our fifth week studying a prophet in GP II. This might be a good time to explore patterns and themes with your children. What were typical messages the prophets delivered? What did God ask of his people? What were consequences of their actions? How did God remain faithful to his people despite their disobedience?

Summary: This week’s story is about the prophet Ezekiel. He was a prophet to God’s people while they were in exile in Babylon. He had several visions from God to relay to the people. As the storyteller discusses each vision, she will lay a symbol out to represent that vision. The completed story looks something like this (check out those dry bones!):

ezekiel

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Ezekiel? I wonder what it was like to see visions from God? I wonder what it was like to tell the people God’s messages?

Family Followup: Review the Prophets Flashcard Game at home! You can also read from the book of Ezekiel and look for God’s faithfulness to his covenant with Israel. Despite being in exile and seeing Jerusalem destroyed, God also promised to breathe new life into dry bones and restore the city.

Ordinary Time: Sunday, October 30th

Beulah Land: Ruth
The women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!” Ruth 4:14

Summary: Your child will hear the story of God’s faithfulness to two women who were alone, depressed and in need of a kinsman-redeemer. You can find this story in the Old Testament book of Ruth.

Wondering: I wonder why Ruth wanted to stay with Naomi instead of going back to her own parents? I wonder what it was like for Ruth to be a stranger in her new city? I wonder why Boaz was kind to Ruth? I wonder why this story is important to know?

Family Followup: Review the story at home. You can act out the story or ask your child to draw a picture of something from the story. It would be interesting to see what they pick up from it!

Parents: This book often is portrayed as a romantic love story between Ruth and Boaz. It often gets a bit of a damsel-in-distress rap. However, it is a story of radical, self-sacrificing commitment from several characters. I wonder what God is telling us through that?

Hymn of the Month: Today is the last day for this month’s featured hymn! It is the DOXOLOGY. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Ark and the Temple
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. This week, the 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 the temple was like? I wonder what you remember from the building? I wonder what King Solomon meant when he said God was too big to be contained in one place? I wonder what it means that God met with his people in a special way in the temple? I wonder where God lives now?

Family Followup: 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 why he does that?

Godly Play II: Jeremiah

My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns; broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13

Note: This is our fourth week studying a prophet in GP II. Prophets remind God’s people that blessings will come from following God, but that dire consequences will follow disobedience. Prophets speak of the consistent, faithful nature of God and His redemption, even after exile. Christ is our ultimate prophet as He revealed in the flesh, God’s word, and His will for our salvation. Once we, too, were far away, but we have come close because of Christ.

Summary: This week’s story is about the prophet Jeremiah. It will cover the entire book, highlighting some particular prophesies. God sent messages through him during the reigns of the last kings of Judah. He warned that Babylon would take over Judah. Jeremiah also spoke against false prophets who said that the people were safe. Jeremiah also gives instructions to those in exile about how to live.

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Jeremiah? I wonder why he was sad and afraid when he saw what all would happen to the Israelites? I wonder why rulers punished Jeremiah for telling God’s message?

Family Followup: Review the Prophets Flashcard Game at home! Wonder together over why God used images (in this case like a broken clay pot or linen belt) to communicate important messages to His people. Though it is not clear, Lamentations is a book whose authorship has been traditionally attributed to Jeremiah. The book expresses deep grief and pain over the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies. You can read some of that book together and discuss the sorrow that inevitably comes from sin and disobedience. Despite the consequences the Israelites faced, God continued to show his mercy to them. They lived in exile and were even promised a fuller redemption if they turned back to the Lord. I wonder what that was?

Ordinary Time: Sunday, October 23rd

Beulah Land: Exodus, Part II
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Exodus 20:2

Summary: The Exodus story picks up this week with God’s provision in the desert. Moses goes to receive the commandments from God, but comes back to find the Israelites have built a golden calf to worship! Even though they Israelites sinned, God forgave them and gave them a chance to receive the commandments again — and to put them in a special place signifying that He was near them. The story ends with Joshua leading God’s people into the land He promised Abraham.

Wondering: I wonder what the Israelites thought about the desert? I wonder what manna tasted like? I wonder what part of this story is most important? I wonder why the Israelites built something else to worship? I wonder why God decided to forgive the Israelites?

Family Followup: See if you can remember the 10 Commandment hand signals we learned in the downstairs worship service. Practice those with your child to memorize the 10 Commandments.

Hymn of the Month: This month’s song is the DOXOLOGY. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Ark and the Tent
I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. Exodus 29:45

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. 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.”

Wondering: I wonder what we do to prepare to hear from God? How do we “‘get ready” to listen to God? I wonder what is different between us and the Israelites? I wonder how God makes a way for the people to come near? I wonder how He makes a way for us to come close to Him?

Family Followup: Look up pictures of the Ark and tent! Talk about how God comes so close to us that He gave us Jesus and sent His Spirit to dwell in us. Bless your children each night as they go to bed with the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Godly Play II: Isaiah

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

Note: This is our third week studying a prophet in GP II. Isaiah thru Malachi are sometimes referred to as the “latter prophets”. The prophetic books are also divided into “major prophets” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and “minor prophets” (Hosea through Malachi). The term “major” and “minor” simply refer to the length of writings and have no bearing on level of importance!

Summary: This week’s story is about the prophet Isaiah. It will cover the entire book, highlighting some particular prophesies. God sent messages through him to warn the people of judgment through exile and assure them of future restoration after the exile. Like all prophets, we see Christ anticipated. One way we see this in Isaiah is with “respect to Isaiah’s servant motif” (Reformation Study Bible). Jesus fulfilled several of these including being a light to the Gentiles (49:1-7), by bringing justice to the nations (42:1-4) and take away the sins of the elect (52:13-53:12).

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Isaiah? I wonder why he was afraid when he saw God and thought he was not good enough to be near God? I wonder what it was like for Isaiah to know about the future exile? I wonder why he told people to make a garment of splendor to go back home in?

Family Followup: We now have a Prophet Flashcard game for you to take home! This is a game some of our RMC Kids ministry team members created based off the specific stories we are using this year in Godly Play. One side has an image that correlates with one we use to tell the Godly Play story. The other side has the name of the prophet, what the image is, and the chapter where the passage can be found. Your child can get a point for each one they name (so up to 3 points per card). Or you can just use it to review and not get points. This is a great way for everyone to memorize some of the prophet content. It will not cover everything, but is a good start!

I am including a few blank cards for your child to create a prophet card or two of their own if they can remember other parts of a prophet’s story! If they do, let me know and I’d love to include it in next year’s Prophet Flashcard game.