Bible Stories, meditations, activities, crafts, games, outreach projects and more to do together. Three weeks at a time are posted.

Season After Epiphany: January 24

It is the Third Sunday in the Season After Epiphany.  This Sunday we hear from the prophet Jonah, we hear Paul speaking to the Corinthians, and we hear Jesus calling disciples.  All are stories of moving into what God is calling people to be.

The liturgical color is green.

Bible Story: Mark 1: 14-20

14-15 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”

16-18 Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed.

19-20 A dozen yards or so down the beach, he saw the brothers James and John, Zebedee’s sons. They were in the boat, mending their fishnets. Right off, he made the same offer. Immediately, they left their father Zebedee, the boat, and the hired hands, and followed.

Meditation:   We continue with the story of Jesus calling his followers.  The Simon in this story is Simon Peter, who becomes Bishop Peter.  Jesus tells him that he will help them fish for people.  This idea is not new.  Jonah, the prophet, was to go to Nineveh to tell them about God.   He is sent to “fish” for God and then ends up in a belly of a “fish” until he follows God’s plan.  After Jesus’ resurrection, Paul goes to Corinth to “fish” for people. 

What does it mean to fish for people?  I fish.  I put a hook on my line, I put bait on my line, and then I wait for long periods of time for a fish to come along.  The way it is done by the brothers, is they throw out a net and move the boat slowly, hoping to come upon a school of fish and bring them up with a net.  Both ways, has the same result.  Gathering of fish for a purpose.  God wants the gathering of people to help them find new life based on God’s love and God’s grace.  It is to stop living an aimless life swimming around and live a life with purpose and meaning.  It means being “caught” in love, so we can be free.

Prayer:   Give us grace, O Lord, to answer your call of love and proclaim to all people the Good News of Jesus, that we and the whole world may believe and live in love; by the grace of Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.

Activities (choose one or more to do during the week.  For links, copy and paste):

  1. Discussion questions- Have you ever fished?  What part do you like the best? What do you like the least?  Do you remember the story of Jonah?  How was Jonah called by God to fish for people?  How did the disciples fish for people?  Is there a way you can fish for people too?  What would you use for bait?  How have you been “caught” by God’s love?
  2. Musical response- Ask Seek Knock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3vXskhI1ig&list=PLh_ZCcaNyX7dFnxtDM-B7wzPwoMdfefDk&index=13
  3. Craft response:  Use paper towel roll cardboard, yarn or ribbon, print fish from internet and cut out.  Use a marker to write on roll cardboard holder “Fisher of People”.  Decorate the roll using crayons or markers.  Use a hole punch and punch holes in top (about three).  Tie yarn/ribbon through holes leaving a length.  Cut out fish (color or decorate) and punch a small hole.  Using the length from pole, tie fish on.  Now you are a fisher of people!  Older children can use yarn and tie knots making a fishing net.  Use craft sticks or other sticks for end to tie net onto.
  4. Outreach/community service response: Fishing for people means helping them know they are cared about.  Who seems alone in your school, your community, your neighborhood?  Make them a card to let them know God loves them and you do too!
  5.  Activity response: Make a “boat” using sheets and pillows.  Plan for a long adventure.  What do you need to take.  Watch a video about Jonah and the whale. Or make a snack using celery as a boat.  Use peanut butter or other filling.  Then add  goldfish snacks and teddy grahams for people.
  6.  In-reach response:  Fishing for people does not just mean telling them about God, it may mean helping them to not feel alone.  How can you let each person in your family know that you care for them?
  7.  Game response:  Play the card game “Go Fish”. 
  8. Watching the story:  Jesus calls first disciples https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G91yyLM8zJA  Jonah : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOSadLyqshg or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–OGZ1NC7vs

See January 17 for Jesus calling Nathaniel.


Season After Epiphany: January 17

It is the Second Sunday in the Season After Epiphany. This season lasts four to nine weeks, from the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The length of the season varies according to the date of Easter. The gospel stories of this season describe various events that manifest the divinity of Jesus. The gospels of this season describe the wedding at Cana, the calling of the disciples, and various miracles and teachings of Jesus. The Last Sunday after the Epiphany is always devoted to the Transfiguration. Jesus’ identity as the Son of God is dramatically revealed in the Transfiguration gospel, as well as the gospel of the baptism of Christ. We are called to respond to Christ in faith through the showings of his divinity recorded in the gospels of the Epiphany season.    This Season varies in length because the season between Christmas Season and Lent. 

The liturgical color is green.

Bible Story: John 1: 43-51

35-36 The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.”

37-38 The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”

They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.

40-42 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”). He immediately led him to Jesus.

Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”).

43-44 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.)

45-46 Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.”

But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”

47 When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.”

48 Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.”

Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”

49 Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”

50-51 Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”

Meditation:   Jesus choosing his Apostles is a story we often overlook.  We assume Jesus chose the most faithful, the best of the best, those who had an extra something that we often do not find in ourselves.  We would be wrong to assume this belief.  I would argue that Jesus did not choose them, but they chose Jesus. 

One of my secret fears is that in my young adult life, if I had meant Jesus as a person, I would have been so busy that I probably would not have noticed.  That if I encountered him looking anything but what I would have been looking for in God’s son, I would have rushed right past him/her.  And if this person had asked me to follow him or her, I would have not even heard the question in my rush.

A false belief I had as a child is that Mary and Jesus had halos and that is how everyone knew they were important people.  When I was about 11, I learned that was an artist addition.  So if they did not have this glowing light around them or obvious signs, what would we need to recognize them?  If asked, have we missed the opportunity to say “Yes” to God as the Apostles did?

I wonder if we really looked around and made it important to keep looking for where God is working in our lives and around us, if the chance of missing it would lessen?  If we viewed the world and our lives through the lens of asking each night “Where did I see God working?” if we would enter into a world that we had never recognized before.

I decided to slow down.  I decided to look.  I decided to listen.  I decided to say “yes!”

Prayer: Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.(BCP, Collect for Sunday).

Activities (choose one or more to do during the week.  For links, copy and paste):

  1. Discussion questions- How do you choose your friends?  What is important to you about a person?  What do you think Jesus would look like if you met him today?  How would you recognize him?  Where did you see God today (or this week)?
  2. Musical response- Come and See Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REoH306hI5s
  3. Craft response:  Print our pictures of your friends and people important to you.  Cut them out and glue them on a piece of paper. Decorate the collage with hearts and other items.  Put this by your bed and use it as a prayer reminder.
  4. Outreach/community service response: Reflect as a family on what the needs are around you.  Use the attitude of really looking for need.  Talk as a family and make a list of the needs around you.  Choose one or two as a focus for the year.  Pray about it, raise funds and awareness.  Use it as a chance to say “Yes”.
  5.  Activity response: Make a list of your friends and people important to you. Write one or two things about each person that you really like or admire in them.  Are there any similarities?  Do you share any of these same characteristics?  How can you be a friend to them?
  6.  In-reach response:  Is there something someone in your family has been asking you to do or saying they wish from you? What can you say yes to?
  7.  Game response:  Set up a maze using chairs, pillows, and other props.  Make it like an obstacle course.  Form a line touching each other’s shoulders and go through the maze.  Take turns being the leader or guide. 
  8. Watching the story:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j5CPuAUCAg

To learn about Jesus’ Baptism, see January 10th Lesson