5th Sunday in Easter: April 29th

GP I: Missionary Story: The Cordells

Memory Verse: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Summary: Today’s story is about the Cordells, a family from RMC who is serving in Ukraine.

I Wonder…: what living in another country is like? what makes people want to go tell others about Jesus? how you can pray for missionaries? how you can be a missionary in your own town?

Additional Followup: Make an effort to talk about missions at home over the next few weeks! What are missions? Who are missionaries? How can you pray and support them?

GP II: Paul’s Discovery

Memory Verse: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6

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 lighting at his 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 myths 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?

GP III: John’s Letter

Memory Verse:Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4

Summary: This story shares about John’s travels to share the Good News, his exile and writing of Revelation. It is one of our new Godly Play stories!

I wonder?…: what made John willing to go into exile? what it was like for John to see God’s vision/ revelation? what you like best about the story?

Additional Followup: Read Revelation together. You’ll probably have to talk about the symbolism in it. Where have you seen some of those images in Scripture before? Talk about what the new heavens and new earth will be like. The Bible Project has helpful  videos about this often complicated-to-understand book. Look HERE and HERE.

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4th Sunday in Easter: April 22nd

Godly Play I and III: Paul’s Discovery

Memory Verse: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6

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 lighting at his 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 myths 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: Jesus and the 12

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 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: Try to name all 12 and what you know about each one. HERE is an incredibly cheesy song that might help you memorize them! Maybe you can put your own spin on it.

3rd Sunday in Easter: April 15th

Godly Play I and III: Jesus and the 12

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 II: Synagogue and the Upper Room

Memory Verse: The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… Isaiah 61:1

Summary: Today’s story begins with Luke 4:16, where Jesus is in the Synagogue. It ends with Jesus in the Upper Room, instating the Lord’s Supper. This story is aimed at linking Old Testament and New Testament as they meet in Christ. It also helps explain why we read God’s Word and take communion together each week together.

I Wonder…:  if you have heard Scripture read in the worship service? if you have seen the Lord’s Supper take place? why we do these things as Christians?

Additional Followup: This might be a good time to look through the worship folder from Sunday together. Ask wondering questions like, “I wonder what your favorite part of our time together is?” or “I wonder why we do things like have a sermon or take communion?”. HERE is a website that explains some cultural background on Synagogues. There is some interesting overlap in the liturgy we use today, including the use of the Aaronic benediction that John Calvin also tended toward in his order of worship. We also use that one and several other blessings found throughout Scripture in our services at Red Mountain.

2nd Sunday in Easter: April 8th

Godly Play I & II: The Good Shepherd and Communion

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

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!

Godly Play III: The Psalms

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” – Luke 24:44

Summary: This story is a new one for us! It is about the book of Psalms. The story tells an overview of the bible and how Psalms were created along the way as prayers and songs attesting to stories such as Creation, Deliverance, Hope, Grief, Repentance, etc. The story ends with the culmination of the Psalms in Jesus.

I wonder…: what is a Psalm you know? when you might use a Psalm? if Jesus quoted from Psalms?

Additional Followup: How many times do you think the New Testament refers to or alludes to the Psalms? HERE is an article giving some examples you might find interesting. Find a Psalm that your entire family can memorize together! HERE is a link to a CD of Psalms set to music to help you along the memorization way.

Easter Sunday: April 1st

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

Godly Play I, II & III: 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? 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?

Lent Sunday (Palm Sunday): March 25th

Godly Play I, II & III: 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 also 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” at home.

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.

This Sunday is also Palm Sunday and marks the day Jesus entered Jerusalem before the crucifixion and resurrection. It’s known as the “triumphal entry” and can be found in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19 and John 12.

 

Lent Sunday: March 18th

Godly Play I, II & III: 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? how you know that?

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!