This Sunday: January 10th

Welcome back to Ordinary Time! That’s the green time between Christmas (white with star) and Lent (where purple starts).

From Pinterest
From Pinterest

It is a time of growing. Like green trees and grass.

Here is what we will learn this week.

Beulah Land: Jesus in the Temple

  • Memory Verse: And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52
  • Summary: This Sunday your child will hear the story of young Jesus going to the temple with his parents. It is told in a way that ties together Old Testament Covenant stories with the Christmas story. It also serves as a bridge leading us to hear the Gospel stories of “grown-up” Jesus (which begin next week!). You can find the passage in Luke 2:41-52.
  • I Wonder… : if Jesus stayed behind on purpose or if it was an accident? why the teachers were so amazed with Jesus’s answers? if you have ever been lost and found?
  • Additional Follow-up: It’s interesting to think about Jesus as a child!  He would have grown up hearing Old Testament stories from Mary and Joseph, not unlike your children. One suggestion Beulah Land suggests is to draw a picture of Mary and Joseph telling Jesus these stories! Here’s an example from their curriculum.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 3.56.25 PM copy

Godly Play I & II: Parable of the Good Shepherd

  • Memory Verse: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11
  • Summary: This Sunday we begin stories about Jesus’ ministry. Over the next few months, your child will learn about his parables and miracles. We will begin with The Parable of the Good Shepherd, a story Jesus gives us about a shepherd who leads, protects, finds and rescues his sheep. This is a different sort of parable in that Jesus also makes the declaration; “I am the Good Shepherd.” I’ve chosen to lead with this one for several reasons, including that it pulls together Psalm 23, John 10, Matthew 18, Luke 15 (and our Communion lesson!) in a way that helps link the Old Testament with the New. It helps form the grid through which the kids begin to filter this set of Scripture stories by naming who this amazing man is.
  • I Wonder…:  if you have ever been in a dangerous place? have felt good grass and tasted fresh water? who these sheep could really be?
  • Additional Follow-up: There really are so many neat things you could do to re-tell this story at home. You could make sheep and a pen (or set up stuffed animals in the roles). You could draw pictures of the story. You could read Psalm 23 and wonder together about what “valley of the shadow of death” might be for humans. How can God’s rod and staff comfort us? That’s a wonder filled thought! You could even look up pictures of sheep and shepherds online. For older kids, use a concordance to see how many times shepherd/sheep are mentioned in the bible and read those passages together. How are they connected?
From Godly Play Resources
From Godly Play Resources

Advent Sunday: December 13

Don’t try to explain the Incarnation to me! It is further from being explainable than the furthest star in the furthest galaxy. It is love, God’s limitless love enfleshing that love in the form of a human being, Jesus, the Christ, fully human and fully divine. – Madeline L’Engle

Beulah Land: Operation No More Tears

  • Memory Verse:  You shall go out in joy and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the hills will burst into song and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
  • Summary: We are continuing to build anticipation for the arrival of the Christ Child! This week, they are learning about Isaiah, prophet to Judah, and what he foretold of the Savior. The story is called Operation No More Tears. It combines several summaries of chapters in Isaiah, including 9 and 55. We will continue to see a pregnant Mary get closer and closer to Bethlehem in our Advent spiral.

    This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.
    This is from A Holy Experience. We use one that is very similar.
  • I Wonder… : what Isaiah’s name means? what a prophet is? what message Isaiah had for God’s people? what about for us?
  • At home: Read at Isaiah 9 together say the names of Christ. Try to memorize them or the memory verse from this week.

Godly Play I & II: Advent Prophets

  • Memory Verse: 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 out in the field on the night of Christ’s birth.
From the Wonder Circle Blog
  • I Wonder…: what the shepherds thought when they saw angels? what they felt? what you would do if you were a shepherd?
  • Additional Follow-up: 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! What an irrational group for the Lamb of God to come close to! Another interesting thing to note is that Scripture uses the word “host” as a military term designating an army…yet the angelic “host” that appears to the Shepherds is announcing peace. Wonder what that could mean? HERE is a link to blank comic strips. Maybe you and your child can create a comic of the shepherds and angels?

This Sunday: November 1

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Jesus Story Book Bible’s The Beginning

  • Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
  • Summary: This week we are starting an 8-week break from our Beulah Land Curriculum to utilize the Jesus StoryBook Bible (JSB). Children will hear the story of Creation read through once, then will act out the story as the storyteller reads the account through a second time!
  • I Wonder… : what part of this story you like best? which part is most important?
  • At home: You might not have felt figures at home, but the chances are high that you have a JSB! You can continue this lesson at home. Find this account in the JSB pp. 18-26. Re-read it at home. OR read it from another bible. Draw pictures of your child’s favorite part of creation.

Godly Play I: The Ten Best Ways

  • Memory 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, we heard about the Exodus. This week we will turn our attention to when the Ten Commandments are given to the Israelites. The story begins 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.
  • I wonder…: why God gave the 10 Commandments? which is the most important? which is the hardest to follow? what happens when we don’t follow the best ways?
  • Other followup: The Ten Commandments raise some big concepts for little kids! What does it mean to break a marriage? Honor your parents? Keep the Sabbath holy? What happens when you don’t obey them? They’re big concepts for us adults, too! We are all constantly learning what it means to do these things in general and in particular. This is great fodder for conversation with your kids! Maybe pick a mealtime this week to eat together and talk about it as a family. Where do you see Jesus in the 10 Commandments? What about grace?

Godly Play II: The Great Family

  • Memory Verse: I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Genesis 22:17
  • Summary: This week, your child will be reacquainted with the “desert box”. Several lessons are given through this medium, as it is an important setting in Scripture. They will cover the story of Abraham & Sarah, the promise of God to Abraham (known as the Abrahamic Covenant in Reformed Theology), and Isaac & Rebekah. You can find this in Genesis 12-15, 24. One major theme repeated is the idea of the “great family” of God that includes Abraham, Jesus, you, and as many people as grains of sand in the desert.
  • I Wonder…: what God meant when he said there would be as many descendants as stars in the sky? who else is in the Great Family? what it was like Sarah and Abraham thought and felt when they learned they were going to have a baby when they were very old?
  • Additional Follow-up: Go outside and try to count the stars. Scoop up a handful of dirt and try to count the granules. Make a family tree. Can you trace the Christians in your family? Are you the first ones?

This Sunday: October 11

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Daniel
Memory Verse: Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries! Daniel 2:47a
Summary: Today’s story is one of a God who is present with his people, even while they are in exile surrounded by false gods and arrogant kings. Shadrach, Meshach, Adebnego and Daniel live far from their land and people, yet they remain faithful to God. When their loyalty to God is questioned, they are sent to fiery and ravenous trials. Through them, our one true God reveals His power to deliver and rule. Surely He is the God of gods and Lord of kings!
I Wonder… : why Daniel and his friends would not bow down to the idol or the king? what made Daniel and his friends so brave? how Daniel came out of the lion’s den without a scratch? what it was like to be far away from home?
Additional Follow-up: Yep. I’m encouraging you to act out the story with your kids again! You can read the story while the kids act out the motions. Google images of lions and fire. Talk about how hot fire is or how powerful lions are! Marvel together over the even great power of God who rescued Daniel and his friends. Draw pictures of the event.

Godly Play I: The Flood
Memory Verse: Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. Genesis 9:16
Summary: Though often portrayed in soft colors on nursery walls, the story of Noah and the Ark is quite terrifying! Because of the horror of sin, God destroys the earth and everyone in it (except for Noah, his family and 2 of every kind of animal) with massive amounts of water. Through this re-creation event, God establishes a covenant with all living creatures that ensures He will not destroy life with the flood again.
I Wonder…: what it was like for Noah to build the boat? what it was like to be on the ark for so long? what God meant when He said He would not let floods destroy the earth again? what this story has to do with you?
Additional Follow-up: It took Noah about 120 years to build the ark AND he was 600 when the flood occurred. Look up what scholars suggest the ark may have looked like. Build your own ark!
Parents: What do you think theologians mean when they say the Flood is a “re-creation” event? What parallels do you see between the creation and flood account?

Godly Play II: Creation
Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Summary: Today’s story is about the creation. It is how we begin to trace the presence of God in our history. At the end of each day, we are reminded that God declared His creation “good”, and His human creations “very good”. You can find the story in Genesis 1:1-2:3
I Wonder…: what you like that God made? if there is something you don’t like in God’s creation? what God is most proud of creating? what we can know about the Creator by His creation?
Additional Follow-up: Go for a nature walk and point out trees or water. Ask what day God made those. Give a prayer of thanksgiving for those things.

This Sunday: October 4

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Esther
Memory Verse: Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. Jeremiah 20:13
Summary: All of these Old Testament stories cover big themes, Esther included. During this lesson, children will learn that the Israelites were taken into exile and nearly extinct…that is until the Lord uses two of His people in an exciting rescue. This is a story one that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
I Wonder… : why Mordecai would not bow down to Haman? why the king listened to Haman’s plan to kill the Jews? how Esther came to be so brave? if this story reminds you of any other stories?
Additional Follow-up: Yep. I’m encouraging you to act out the story with your kids again. You can read the story while they kids do the motions. Who can be Haman or Mordecai? Have a Purim party. Purim is a holiday that Jewish people continue to celebrate. People often dress up as characters and role-play the story. When Haman walks out, people boo and hiss. Make and eat Hamantaschen.
Bonus:
 Esther takes place while the Israelites are in exile. They are far from home- the place where they worshiped God. Did they wonder if God was with them? While God is never mentioned in Esther, we see His providence and provision through the unfolding events of this book. I wonder if there are times in your life where God seems far away and silent? I wonder if events in your life have unfolded in such a way that they reveal the presence of God? I wonder if you see God’s presence in the lives of your children?

Godly Play I: Creation
Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Summary: Today’s story is about the creation. It is how we begin to trace the presence of God in our history. At the end of each day, we are reminded that God declared His creation “good”, and His human creations “very good”. You can find the story in Genesis 1:1-2:3
I Wonder…: what you like that God made? if there is something you don’t like in God’s creation? what God is most proud of creating? what we can know about the Creator by His creation?
Additional Follow-up: Go for a nature walk and point out trees or water. Ask what day God made those. Give a prayer of thanksgiving for those things.

Godly Play II: The Holy Family
Memory Verse: For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Summary: The Holy Family is a story that the Godly Play Curriculum advises to use at the start of every liturgical season or story type change throughout the year. The story is a simple description of the nativity scene that focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, death and resurrection. Because of the centrality of Jesus to all Scripture, it is important that children are consistently brought back to Him through the yearly spiral. It is the lens through which we Christians observe everything else.
I Wonder…: what you can tell me about the Holy Family? who is the most important family member? why it is important to remember the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus even during Ordinary Time (the green time)? what this has to do with you and me?
Additional Follow-up: Draw a picture of today’s lesson. Have your child tell you about each participant. I encourage you to not quiz the children to make sure they have the right answers, but allow them to talk about their picture and wonder about why we would care to remember something we typically only see at Christmas or Easter.

This Sunday: September 27

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Elijah
Memory Verse: O, Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 1 Kings 18:36
Summary: This week’s story covers a lot of ground! Your kids will hear events from Elijah’s life such as being fed by ravens, battling prophets of Baal and meeting Elisha. The structure of this lesson is meant to “emphasize the sovereign will of God and inscrutable nature of the  Living God, who, unlike Baal, is not to be tamed, placated or charmed by superstitious rituals, but is interested only in unflinching loyalty and righteous deeds.” Once again, your children will see the desert appear, and witness the recurrent theme of a “holy journey…whose leader and guide  is the Lord of Hosts.”
I Wonder… : why the people grew lazy and careless? why they stopped following God’s laws? why Elijah went out to the desert and holy mountain? if you have ever heard the ‘still, small voice” of God? if this story reminds you of other stories? where you have heard about the desert before?
Additional Follow-up: Once again, I encourage re-reading the story and acting out roles. There are several parts of Elijah’s account that lend themselves to this. Have someone be the raven that brings food to hungry Elijah. Have another child whisper in a “still, small voice” that God is with Elijah.

Godly Play I: The Holy Family
Memory Verse: For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Summary: The Holy Family is a story that the Godly Play Curriculum advises to use at the start of every liturgical season or story type change throughout the year. The story is a simple description of the nativity scene that focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, death and resurrection. Because of the centrality of Jesus to all Scripture, it is important that children are consistently brought back to Him through the yearly spiral. It is the lens through which we Christians observe everything else.
I Wonder…: what you can tell me about the Holy Family? who is the most important family member? why it is important to remember the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus even during Ordinary Time (the green time)? what this has to do with you and me?
Additional Follow-up: Draw a picture of today’s lesson. Have your child tell you about each participant. I encourage you to not quiz the children to make sure they have the right answers, but allow them to talk about their picture and wonder about why we would care to remember something we typically only see at Christmas or Easter.

Godly Play II: The Holy Trinity
Memory Verse: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians13:14
Summary: We’ve got one of those VERY mysterious and full of WONDER synthesis stories this week–the Holy Trinity. Today several lessons are pulled together to emphasize the presence of the Godhead in Creation, life of Jesus. Baptism and Church. The storyteller will help children wonder about a Three-in-One Presence.
I Wonder…: how God can be one, but three? where you have talked about the Trinity before? what it means when we baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Additional Follow-up: There are many ways in which we try to explain the Trinity to children…apples and eggs are two that come to mind. Yet those are not able to really capture what we believe. Instead of trying to figure it out, wonder about it over the week. Pray and ask for understanding as well as the ability to rest in God’s truth.

This Sunday: September 20th

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: David
Memory Verse: David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…” 1 Samuel 17:45a
Summary: Today’s story is about David facing Goliath. The story contrasts the size and power of the boy David and the giant Goliath, with the even bigger strength of God.
I Wonder… : if David was afraid of the giant? if the giant was afraid of David? what it is like to trust in the Lord? if this is like any other story you’ve heard?
Additional Follow-up: Kids process information and learn via play. Stage a battle with toys between the Israelites and Philistines. Act it out. Pretend a tall tree is Goliath. Marvel and wonder together about the Lord, who can equip an average boy to defeat a giant. Find the site of the battle on a map.

Godly Play I & II: Paul’s Discoveries
Memory Verse: Choose a verse from Acts 9!
Summary: Our final New Testament lesson this semester is about Paul and the spread of Christianity. The story discusses the role of Holy Spirit in changing Paul from the inside out, then using him to spread the hope of Christ to early churches. It’s told in 7 stages (Leaving Tarsus, Study at the Temple, Conversion on the way to Damascus, Escape from Damascus, Letters to the New Churches).
I Wonder…: what Paul thought when He met Jesus as he traveled? if Paul was afraid? what is most important about Paul’s life? what part of the story is about you?
Additional Follow-up: Find a map of Paul’s missionary journeys. Wonder together over why Paul was willing to endure hardships to spread the hope of Christ.

This Sunday

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Samuel
Memory Verse: 1 Samuel 3:10
Summary: Today’s story is about the birth and calling of Samuel to serve in the tabernacle and become a great prophet.
I Wonder… : why Hannah promised to take Samuel to the tent? if she wanted to? if Samuel wanted to? what it was like for Samuel to hear God call his name? if this story reminds you of any other stories.

Godly Play I & II: Mystery of Pentecost
Memory Verse: Acts 2:4
Summary: We are going back to the New Testament in our spiral curriculum since we weren’t able to finish these last Spring. This Sunday’s lesson is about Pentecost. This story begins with the Tower of Babel and shattering of a common language. It ends with the Holy Spirit descending on the early followers of Christ and the spread of Christianity.
I Wonder…: who the Holy Spirit is? what it means to have ‘tongues of fire’? what this story has to do with you? if you have ever come close to something like Pentecost?
Additional Followup: Fun Fact: Red is usually worn and used in decoration for Pentecost. Ask your child what color on the church calendar we use for Pentecost. If they’ve been in Godly Play before, they’ll know! Many denominations have historically viewed Pentecost as the birthday of the church. It’s the first recording we have of new believers in groups together, devoted to “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, breaking of bread and to prayer”. Read Acts 2 with your family and wonder what the early church was like. Give thanks that God sent Holy Spirit to help us.

Fall Schedule

Time, time, time. There are all kinds of time. – Godly Play, Circle of Calendar Year

Greetings!

This Sunday, August 23rd, is our last summer catechism class. The summer has really flown by! We will restart our Godly Play Curriculum August 30th.

That Sunday will also be the time when 4-year-old/ PreK children move into Godly Play I. It is also the time when 1st graders move into Godly Play II and 4th graders cycle out of Godly play. The 4th graders will remain downstairs through the entire service.

Here is our tentative Story Schedule for Fall Semester:

August 30
Beulah Land: Exodus III
Godly Play I: The Circle of the Church Year
Godly Play II: The Books of the Bible

September 6
Beulah Land: Ruth
Godly Play I: Jesus and the 12
Godly Play II: Jesus and the 12

September 13
Beulah Land: Samuel
Godly Play I: Pentecost
Godly Play II: Pentecost

September 20
Beulah Land: David
Godly Play I: Paul’s Discovery
Godly Play II: Paul’s Discovery

September 27
Beulah Land: Elijah
Godly Play I: Holy Family
Godly Play II: Holy Trinity

October 4
Beulah Land: Esther
Godly Play I: Creation
Godly Play II: The Holy Family

October 11
Beulah Land: Daniel
Godly Play I: The Flood and the Ark
Godly Play II: Creation

October 18
Beulah Land: Jonah
Godly Play I: The Great Family
Godly Play II: Falling Apart

October 25
Beulah Land: Jerusalem
Godly Play I: Exodus
Godly Play II: The Flood & the Ark

November 1
Beulah Land: TBA
Godly Play I: The Ten Best Ways
Godly Play II: The Great Family

November 8
Beulah Land: TBA
Godly Play I: Ark and the Tent
Godly Play II: Story of Abraham

November 15
Beulah Land: TBA
Godly Play I: Ark and the Temple
Godly Play II: Story of Sarah

November 22
Beulah Land: TBA
Godly Play I: The Holy Family
Godly Play II: The Holy Family

November 29 *Advent Begins
Beulah Land: Teeny, Weeny King (JSB)
Godly Play I: Advent 1
Godly Play II: Advent 1

December 6
Beulah Land: Good Shepherd (JSB)
Godly Play I: Advent 2
Godly Play II: Advent 2

December 13
Beulah Land: Operation No More Tears (JSB)
Godly Play I: Advent 3
Godly Play II: Advent 3

December 20
Beulah Land: Get Ready! (JSB)
Godly Play I: Advent 4
Godly Play II: Advent 4

December 27
Beulah Land: Christmas (JSB)
Godly Play I: The Mystery of Christmas
Godly Play II: The Mystery of Christmas

Hope to see you there!
Shalom,
Jessica