I really enjoyed this article on the gifts that kids can bring to intergenerational worship. What do you think?
This past Sunday, we explored the parable of the seed and sower (Matthew 13:1-9). This is a great parable to explore – many possible reflections and interpretations!
Since it was social justice Sunday, we focused a lot on the idea of seeds being like people, some of whom grow up in very good environments and others who do not. We explored what people (and plants!) need to grow up well – what is “good soil,” literally and metaphorically? What are some of the obstacles that people encounter?
Our stations included writing letters to our City Councillor about affordable housing and the basic needs of every person that need to be respected and supported, as not everyone gets that support from their families or circumstances. We planted seeds in pots and explored how we can care for seeds literally, and then also metaphorically how we can be good caregivers of those people and things in our lives. We also did some seed related dances (there are many dances from different parts of the world that involve planting and harvesting), used finger labyrinths to explore wondering questions, and did obstacle course like games to see how physical obstacles can impact us and what we can do to make things easier and more supportive.
Here are some ideas of discussion questions you could use at home:
-Why do you think the seeds were sowed on both good and bad soil? What could that mean? Why do some people grow up in very good circumstances while others do not?
-What else could we imagine the seeds to signify? Could they also be ideas, thoughts, physical objects, something else? For example, we can think of seeds like trying new things: sometimes things work out really well but other times they seem to not have been such a good idea and obstacles emerge.
-Can you tell automatically if a seed will grow? Is all soil either good or bad for seeds – what about different types of plants that need different conditions/soil? Is there anything we can do to make poor soil better, literally or metaphorically? Can it be problematic to say that seeds have just fallen on poor soil, end of story? Where is the hope for those seeds?
This past Sunday, we focused on the Parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10). We talked about how parables in general cause us to think about the world differently and challenge us to be more inclusive and just. With respect to this parable, we considered how it is common, especially if we have a lot of stuff, not get too worried about something that is lost. If we have a lot of friends, not to worry too much if someone drifts away. But that this parable can remind us of the importance that God places on each and every person, each and every part of creation. And it can remind us to celebrate too! That we shouldn’t just work hard and try to maintain friendships, try to find lost things, but remember to really celebrate and to share with others the joy that can come from re-uniting.
Things to consider as a family:
-Are there people (i.e. family friends) you have lost touch with? What might you do to reconnect?
-Do you sometimes buy a new thing when something is lost or a little bit damaged? Could you instead sometimes try to fix the thing or keep looking a little longer?
-If something is found or if you reconnect, do you celebrate it? What could you do to that (more)? i.e. – have a special outing with the friend, find a special location for the lost item, say a prayer of thanksgiving, etc.
To explore this theme in Spirit Space time, we made coin rubbings and imprints of special coins from around the world and talked about how coins are easy to lose but also valuable and talked about different things that are like that. We made treasure maps and treasure hunts for one another to find hidden chocolate coins and talked about how looking can be both challenging/frustrating and fun but can help us to be more mindful of our surroundings. We learned magic tricks that involve hiding things to also discuss this and remembered to celebrate once we figured out the trick and found the object. It was a lot of fun! Another activity you could try at home could be to make a special box to put items that were lost and have been found (or so that they don’t get lost in the first place!) or create a place where you can draw or write things that were lost and then found that you are grateful for.
Our focus in Spirit Space this season is on the parables of Jesus. This is a great theme to explore as a family, and probably something you do all of the time without even knowing it. When you talk about an experience or a story you read in a book and try to find meaning and morals and lessons that can be applied to other situations, you are exploring parables and creating that experience into a parable!
With parables, there is no one way to interpret them. There is no right answer, but rather the opportunity to reflect and continually consider what one experience or story might have to say to our present circumstances, what we are up to now.
Maybe you have some favourite parables from the Bible, or maybe this is something totally new to you. Are the stories like the parable of the lost coin, the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, the pearl, the mustard seed familiar?
As we start to delve more deeply into parables week by week, you might want to start off by considering how parables feature for you in your faith. Are there benefits to gleaning wisdom indirectly through stories? Are there potential pitfalls or downsides? Do you think this idea will connect well with your child? Why or why not?
This past Sunday, families worshiped together to pray and dream for the year ahead. We focused on our hopes and dreams for ourselves and our families, our world, and our church/the church globally. It was a very meaningful service and opportunity for kids to reflect together with their parents and other adults. Thanks so much for your willingness to engage in something new! We will check in throughout the year to see what we can continue to do to cultivate those prayers and dreams.
During Advent we focused on waiting and preparing through hope, peace, joy, and love for the coming of Christmas. We wrote prayers, made spiritual tools like Advent wreaths and calendars, collected books and other items to donate to others, and learned about different ways Advent is celebrated all over the world.
Thanks so much to everyone who attended our Bethlehem Market on Saturday, December 5! The day was a huge success with over 91 new visitors who attended who had never been to Fairlawn before, plus many folks from Fairlawn. Thanks so much to all of our volunteers!
Please mark your calendar for Saturday, December 5 from 1-4pm! This will be the date of our Bethlehem Market. The building will be filled with games, crafts, activities, middle eastern food, live animals, an angel choir, carpentry activities, storytelling, and much, much more! Come whenever you can and stay for as long as you would like. Move through the stalls at your own pace. No admission, but donations of new socks and underwear, like-new kids’ books, and non-perishable food items would be gratefully received. Please help us spread the word to your friends and neighbours – this is going to be an occasion you won’t want to miss.
If you would like to help us transform the building to make it look like Bethlehem of centuries ago, volunteers would be welcome (including teens and tweens!) on the Friday evening (Dec 4) and Saturday morning (Dec 5). Volunteers are also welcome during the market – please just let me know!
Last night at Messy Church we had a great crew! We celebrated the new year’s eve of our Christian calendar (which ends with Christ the King, the last Sunday before Advent) and then talked about how Advent is a season of waiting and preparing for Christmas to come.
We played a whole body Advent game (see link above for a smaller version you could make and play at home), made Advent wreaths and a whole lot of different Advent calendars. We made little felt nativity dolls. We sang and played and got to know one another better! And we ate: we figured that New Year’s Eve food is lots of different fancy appetizers…at least that was the best we could come up with!