Bible Stories, meditations, activities, crafts, games, outreach projects and more to do together. Three weeks at a time are posted.
Lent 1: February 21
Welcome to Lent! Lent lasts six weeks. It is the time we prepare to enter the mystery of Easter. Historically, Lent was a time used to make things right, to prepare for baptism, to reconcile with God, the church and each other, and a time to learn scripture.
The Liturgical color is purple.
This Sunday, we hear the story of Noah and the covenant God made with him using a rainbow. From 1 Peter, we hear about living in Jesus’ resurrection. In our Gospel, we hear about Jesus’ Baptism, after which he started his ministry.
We have recently covered Jesus’ baptism so we will cover 1 Peter.
Bible Story: 1 Peter 3: 18-22
13-18 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.
19-22 He went and proclaimed God’s salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment because they wouldn’t listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact—saved from the water by the water. The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection before God with a clear conscience. Jesus has the last word on everything and everyone, from angels to armies. He’s standing right alongside God, and what he says goes.
Our Sunday reading does not start until verse 18, but I think it is important to hear it all. 1 Peter is a letter written to share encouragement to the readers. He explains that by choosing to do the right thing and to do good works, even if it means that we get hurt for it or teased about it or punished for it, we should do the right thing (choose the good action or words.) Like Jesus, Peter lived his life teaching about God’s love and healing, even when the authorities told him not to. Jesus suffered because he did the right thing. But God’s love won and Jesus was resurrected. This bad punishment brought good things. Choose doing the right thing. Choosing the wrong thing, may seem easy, but it will not bring any good.
We must always remember that we belong to God’s family. By baptism, we have made the promise that we will try to do the right and good thing. If we fail, we say we are sorry and turn back to God and the right thing.
It seems easy, but choosing to do the right thing can be hard when we are faced with things we fear, like someone might not like us, we might be picked-on/bullied, we might be left alone, we might be laughed at by others, we might lose friends, or we might get in trouble with someone. Those are very real and scary things. We have to trust God and chose the right thing. If the things we are afraid of happen, then to help us get through, we need to remember that we are a part of something bigger, God’s family. God is proud of us when we choose the right action or words. Something good will come of it, it may take a little longer to see, but it will happen. That is where trusting God comes in to play. Trust God and wait.
Prayer: Almighty God, whose blessed Son, faced being hurt by choosing to do the right and most loving thing, help us when we are faced with tough choices to choose to do the right, good, and loving thing. Help us in our weaknesses to have strength to trust you; through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Activities (choose one or more to do during the week. For links, copy and paste):
- Discussion questions- What are some of the choices that are hard to make? Have you had a choice that you chose to do or say something because you were afraid? How can you choose to do the right and good thing? Parents, tell a story when you had to choose between doing the right thing or the easiest thing. Did you see the bigger picture?
- Musical response- God is So Good https://youtu.be/KhVPnmtkAPI
- Craft response: Make a prayer bowl to use for Lent. Decorate a bowl. Make sure you use purple, the color of Lent. Cut up some paper or use post-its. Family members write down their prayer requests on the paper as it comes to them throughout the week and put in the bowl. Anytime, a family member can go to the bowl and pull out each prayer request, lifting the request to God. Then put the requests back for another person or another time. Once a week at dinner, pull out all the requests and pray them as a family. Then remove those from the bowl.
- Outreach/community service response: Pick someone you do not know well from your church family. Someone new to the church or someone a different age would be good. For Lent, pray for that person each week. Send them a card to let them know you are praying for them.
- Activity response: Make a prayer area in your home. Find a purple cloth to use as the base. Use a battery-operated candle. You can add a prayer bowl or a picture or a cross. This is a holy space for those in your family to use for prayer time.
- In-reach response: Read together a book about someone who choose to do what is right. A book about racial equality or about a saint or about someone making a tough choice. Talk about how to choose to do the right and good thing. What were the obstacles the person faced? What was the person’s attitude about choosing to do the right thing even with those obstacles?
- Game response: Get two jars or plastic cups for each person. On one write Good Choice and on the other write Bad Choice. Gather a bunch of pennies or buttons or paper clips and put next to the jars/cups. All week, when you make a good choice or someone notices you making a good choice, put one of the objects into the Good Choice container. If you make a bad choice or someone notices you making a bad choice, put one of the objects in the Bad Choice container. At the end of each day, talk about how to repent (turn away from) the bad choice. Older children can keep a journal next to the containers and make notes of how to turn bad choices to good choices. At the end of the week, celebrate all the objects in the Good Choices container.
- Watching the story: Learn about 1 Peter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhP7AZQlzCg&feature=youtu.be
What is Lent https://www.youtube.com/watch/akkQCnZAwWI
See next Devotion for lesson on Transfiguration.
Season After Epiphany: February 14
This is the last Sunday in the Season After Epiphany. Our liturgical color is white, because we celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus. This is a day that Jesus exposed his divinity in a way that could not be denied.
Bible Story: Mark 9:1-9
Then he drove it home by saying, “This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you who are standing here are going to see it happen, see the kingdom of God arrive in full force.”
2-4 Six days later, three of them did see it. Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high
mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them. Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus.
5-6 Peter interrupted, “Rabbi, this is a great moment! Let’s build three memorials—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking, stunned as they all were by what they were seeing. 7 Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him.”
8 The next minute the disciples were looking around, rubbing their eyes, seeing nothing but Jesus, only Jesus. 9-10 Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t tell a soul what you saw. After the Son of Man rises from the dead, you’re free to talk.” They puzzled over that, wondering what on earth “rising from the dead” meant.
Today is Valentine’s Day and a day we celebrate love. Today’s Gospel story is a story of love between God the Father and God the Son, but it is, also, a story of God’s love and his love for us. God’s love is not just a warm feeling, but a love where God is willing to sacrifice and give up so much for us. It is a love, that even when it is rejected, or ignored still is given without question. It is a love that we did not earn, but one freely given. It is one, we often take for granted.
The best way we can show God appreciation and love is to spend time with God (in prayer), take care of the gifts around us, care for the people in our lives through acts of love, and look out for those in need and find ways to lend a helping hand. Love one another as God loves us.
Prayer: O God whose Son showed us his glory on the mountain: help us to have faith and be strengthened in the love you showed by sending Jesus for us.; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.
Activities (choose one or more to do during the week. For links, copy and paste):
- Discussion questions- How does your family show love to God? How do you show love to God? What is something you can do this week to make an effort to say “I love you” to God? Looking around your house and yard, what gifts has God blessed you with?
- Musical response- God is Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVGWxkj-rmA
- Craft response: Make a Valentine for God. After you complete it, spend a few moments in prayer with God.
- Outreach/community service response: Where is the need in your community? Is it cleaning up an area? Is it giving food? Is it reaching out to the lonely? Is it helping to do a chore that someone else cannot do? Is it caring for the sick? Is it caring for animals in shelters? Find the need and make a list. Then pick one or two projects to do as a family.
- Activity response: Draw a picture of what you think the transfiguration looked like.
- In-reach response: Is there some way you can show your love to your family. Spend the week picking one thing you can do for each person that says “I love you” without using words.
- Game response: Gather together wearing as many silly things as you can. One person leaves the room and removes one item or exchanges two items places. When he/she comes back into the room, see who can guess what was changed. The person who guesses is it and they leave the room and either switch two items or remove one item. The game continues.
- Watching the story: Jesus Transfiguration for young children https://youtu.be/Y22Qozsn8Go For older children https://us-en.superbook.cbn.com/video/transfiguration
For Devotion on Jesus Healing, see next devotion.