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

Lent Five: March 26, 2023

This is the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Lent is almost over.  Our journey to the cross is getting closer.  What will you do in these last weeks to journey closer to God?

The Liturgical color is purple.

Our Readings this Sunday, we hear the story of Ezekiel (and the Dry Bones), Paul’s letter calling the Romans to recognize the Holy Spirit lives in them, and the Gospel of John, where we hear Jesus bring Lazarus back to life.

Bible Story: John 11: 1-48

1-3 A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”

4 When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”

5-7 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

8 They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”

9-10 Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.”

11 He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.”

12-13 The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.

14-15 Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”

16 That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along. We might as well die with him.”

17-20 When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.

21-22 Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”

23 Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”

24 Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”

25-26 “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”

28 After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”

29-32 The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33-34 When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”

34-35 “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.

36 The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”

37 Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”

38-39 Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”

The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”

40 Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

41-42 Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”

They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”

43-44 Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.

Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

45-48 That was a turning point for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”


This miracle happened on the way to the cross for Jesus.  He is able to save his friend, Lazarus, before he enters Jerusalem and no one saves him. It starts out with accusations, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Anger at God for not putting Martha’s family’s need before all else.  Or maybe just disappointment, but still she is upset that Jesus did not respond when she wanted him to.

How often have we been angry or thrown accusations at God?  “What kind of God lets this happen?”  “Why did not God do what I asked (meaning instructed)?”

One of the steps on our faith journey is accepting that God is not Santa Claus.  We do not give him a wish list and then wait for our list to be given to us.  God does not work like that nor would the world be a better place if He did.  Imagine all the competing and opposite wish lists for each person in the world?

In Mary and Martha’s grief and pain, Jesus wept with them.  We have a God that loves us and hurts with us.  We have a God of intense love.  Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus, but first he sits with Mary and Martha in their pain.  When we are in pain, he is there with us too.  We are never alone. He is with us through all of it. 

Prayer:  Almighty God, you alone know us completely and know what we need, even when we ourselves insist it is something else.  Give us grace when things do not turn out like we would like, to find the love and the good around us.  May we live in love with your Son, Jesus Christ 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):

  1. Discussion questions- Do you find yourself praying to God as if he is “Santa Claus” and giving him your wish list?  How might you pray differently?  Can you think of a time when you wanted something so badly, but then you got it or it happened and it was not what you had thought? 
  1. Craft response: Make a prayer bowl and put your requests in it, but for each request, put in a “thank you” to God.
  1. Outreach/community service response: Bring a treat to someone at school to thank them for being your friend.
  1.  Activity response: Do one of the Lenten Challenges in your “Lent Take Home Kit”
  1.  In-reach response: At dinner, everyone say something they are thankful for that day.
  1.  Game response:  Play a game as a family.  Look around and think of how wonderful God is to give you this family.
  1. Watching the story:

What is Lent

Lent Four: March 19, 2023

This is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Lent is a time to reset and make our priorities first.  It is a time to turn from those things that keep us from being the best we can be.  It is a time to look around and see who is our neighbor.

The Liturgical color is purple.

Our Readings this Sunday, we hear a reading from 1 Samuel about the prophet Samuel grieving King Saul, who had turned from God and let power corrupt him.  We hear Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which he calls Jesus’ followers to live as children of the light and in the Gospel we hear John’s story of Jesus healing on the sabbath, creating anger in the Pharisees. 

Below is a translation from The Message.

Bible Story: John 9:1-41

  1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

3-5 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”

6-7 He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.

8 Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, “Why, isn’t this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?”

9 Others said, “It’s him all right!”

But others objected, “It’s not the same man at all. It just looks like him.”

He said, “It’s me, the very one.”

10 They said, “How did your eyes get opened?”

11 “A man named Jesus made a paste and rubbed it on my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ I did what he said. When I washed, I saw.”

12 “So where is he?”

“I don’t know.”

13-15 They marched the man to the Pharisees. This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath. The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, “He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “Obviously, this man can’t be from God. He doesn’t keep the Sabbath.”

Others countered, “How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this?” There was a split in their ranks.

17 They came back at the blind man, “You’re the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

18-19 The Jews didn’t believe it, didn’t believe the man was blind to begin with. So they called the parents of the man now bright-eyed with sight. They asked them, “Is this your son, the one you say was born blind? So how is it that he now sees?”

20-23 His parents said, “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But we don’t know how he came to see—haven’t a clue about who opened his eyes. Why don’t you ask him? He’s a grown man and can speak for himself.” (His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place. That’s why his parents said, “Ask him. He’s a grown man.”)

24 They called the man back a second time—the man who had been blind—and told him, “Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor.”

25 He replied, “I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.”

26 They said, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 “I’ve told you over and over and you haven’t listened. Why do you want to hear it again? Are you so eager to become his disciples?”

28-29 With that they jumped all over him. “You might be a disciple of that man, but we’re disciples of Moses. We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from.”

30-33 The man replied, “This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes! It’s well known that God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of—ever. If this man didn’t come from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.”

34 They said, “You’re nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us!” Then they threw him out in the street.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”

38 “Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.

39 Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

40 Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”


As I read this passage, I wonder at the blindman who wanted to see, but couldn’t and the Pharisees, who were not blind, but could not see what was in front of them.  It is easy to get so focused on something that we miss what is right in front of us.  It is easy to get so set in what we think is right that we do not see the things that contradict that view.  It is easy to want something to be a certain way that we do not allow our brains to see or process what is in front of us (or dismiss it completely.)

As we journey through Lent, let us look at our blind spots.  Spend the week really looking around and listening.  Look to see if our views, beliefs, and judgments are making us blind.  Do we see the need around us?  Are we blind despite our vision?

Prayer:  Gracious Father, who sent Jesus to open our eyes and give us the light of truth and the light of love, help us to see the truth and then to be the light in the darkness. May we live in love with your Son, Jesus Christ 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):

  1. Discussion questions- Has any of your practices during Lent opened your eyes to anything?  What things do you do automatically and keep you from looking around?  Every night this week, at dinner, talk about the things you saw that you did not really notice before?  Does it give you
  1. Craft response: Using a paper towel roll insert and construction paper.  Decorate the paper and then tape or glue it onto the roll insert.  Use this as you magic truth seer.  Use it to focus and look around you.
  1. Outreach/community service response: Make a list of needs around you and then pick one to do something about.
  1.  Activity response: Do one of the Lenten Challenges in your “Lent Take Home Kit”
  1.  In-reach response: At dinner, everyone share the things they saw, but had not noticed before or saw for the first time.  Give thanks to God for those things or for helping you to see.
  1.  Game response:  Play a board game, and really look at the other players while you play.  Do you notice things while you play that you had not before?
  1. Watching the story:

What is Lent

Lent Three: March 12, 2023

This is the Third Sunday of Lent. Lent is a time of reflection and turning away from those things that separate us from God and each other.  What are you having trouble turning away from?

The Liturgical color is purple.

Our Readings this Sunday, we hear the story of the Exodus.  Things are not going as they expected.  We hear Paul’s letter to the Romans and in the Gospel we hear John’s story of the woman at the well.

Below is a translation from The Message.

Bible Story: John 4: 5-42

“To get where he was going, Jesus had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

7-8 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

11-12 The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

13-14 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

15 The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”

16 He said, “Go call your husband and then come back.”

17-18 “I have no husband,” she said.

“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”

19-20 “Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”

21-23 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.

23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

25 The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”

26 “I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it.

28-30 The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” And they went out to see for themselves.

It’s Harvest Time

31 In the meantime, the disciples pressed him, “Rabbi, eat. Aren’t you going to eat?”

32 He told them, “I have food to eat you know nothing about.”

33 The disciples were puzzled. “Who could have brought him food?”

34-35 Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!

36-38 “The Harvester isn’t waiting. He’s taking his pay, gathering in this grain that’s ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. That’s the truth of the saying, ‘This one sows, that one harvests.’ I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.”

39-42 Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness: “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!” They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world!”


The people of Samaria were considered outcasts and sinners.  They were looked down upon.  People would travel around the town rather than go through it.  Jesus had no trouble choosing to go in to the town.  There he meets a woman.  Jesus, does another unexpected (and unacceptable thing), not only does he enter Samaria, but he talks to a woman by herself (and a Samaritan!)  He tells her in a puzzle-like way, that he has come for her too.  God loves the people of Samaria and most important to the woman, God loves her, just as she is.  She does not have a list of tasks or things she must do to be acceptable to God.  She is loved for who she is deep inside no matter what things she has done.  She shares this joy with the others in her village. 

Imagine feeling unclean and unlovable and there Jesus comes to her to tell her that she is beloved.  What a wonderful feeling and repairing of one’s self-esteem and life that would be.  God loves us where we are at each moment, including in our worst moments and our best. 

Prayer:  Loving God, thank you for loving us all the time in all moments and in all places.  May we love others the way you love us.  May we accept others the way you accept us. May we live in love with your Son, Jesus Christ 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):

  1. Discussion questions- Have you ever felt like you were not accepted or were not wanted somewhere or by someone?  What did that feel like?  Is it hard to accept others even at their worst?  How can we act with love when someone is being unkind?
  2. Musical response- Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love:
  1. Craft response: Make a well out of craft sticks.  Visit
  1. Outreach/community service response: Make cards for those who do not have many friends and in the card, say you like them for who they are.
  1.  Activity response: Do one of the Lenten Challenges in your “Lent Take Home Kit”
  1.  In-reach response: At dinner, everyone share their highs and lows of the week.  Listen with acceptance to whatever each says.
  1.  Game response:  Play a water relay game.
  1. Watching the story:

What is Lent

Lent Two: March 5, 2023

This is the Second Sunday of Lent. How is your Lenten practice going?  Is it getting harder or easier?

The Liturgical color is purple.

Our Readings this Sunday, we hear the story of Abram in Genesis and Paul’s letter to the Romans, where he talks about Abraham.    In the Gospel of John, we hear the often recited, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Below is a translation from The Message.

Bible Story: John 3:14-21

“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

19-21 “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”


 The idea of people choosing to run from the light into darkness seems crazy, but some people do choose to turn from the light.  Sometimes it is because a person feels too much is being asked of them, sometimes it is because they do not want to give up a habit or a way of life, sometimes it is because they are afraid of what their life would be like or what would be asked of them and sometimes it is because it just seems easier to dwell in the darkness that they have known. 

Jesus came down to Earth to save us all.  He came to tell us of God’s love and to not be afraid.  No matter how scary it seems, God is there with us and has experienced it. 

Knowing that we are loved so much, that no sacrifice is too great to show us that love, is so humbling.  It is amazing.  It is wonderful to know that each of us is loved that much.

Our journey into Lent is continuing.  How are you responding to that love?  In Lent, we try to make right our relationships.  God loves us!  What can you do today to respond to that love?  How can we love God or show our love for God today?

Prayer:  Loving Father, who sent us Jesus to show us the way of love and give life to this world, help us to walk in the light and choose the light.  Help us to love and abide in love, with your Son, Jesus Christ 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):

  1. Discussion questions- What does your family love about you?  What do you love about each of your family members?  Do you know God loves you (all of you)?  How can you love God?
  1. Musical response- Walking in the light of the Lord (with actions)
  1. Craft response: Make a heart out of paper by folding a piece of paper and cutting a heart (half a heart so when unfolded, makes a big heart.)  Write God in the middle and then all the people who love you around the edges of the heart.  Hang it in your room to be reminded of who loves you. 
  1. Outreach/community service response: Make lots of hearts that say, “God loves you and so do we.” (or so does “St. Pauls”.)  Put them around your neighborhood (on cars or door steps.)
  1.  Activity response: Each night this week, choose one person in the family.  Before dinner, each person says what they think makes that person loving.  Make sure everyone has a turn to be the center of everyone’s praises.
  1.  In-reach response: Pick something you can do to show your parents how much their loving care is appreciated.  Make a sign or card or do a chore or make a gift for them.
  1.  Game response:  Play musical chairs, but instead of being out, the person standing has to name something good someone did for them (and they cannot repeat it the next time they are standing.)
  1. Watching the story:

What is Lent

Lent One: February 26, 2023

Welcome to Lent!  Lent lasts six weeks.  It is the time we prepare to enter the mystery of Easter; that a God would love us so much that he was willing to walk to the cross.  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. We walk with Jesus to the cross. To repent means to turn around.  We turn away from the things that interfere with our relationship with God.  We turn away from the things that keep us from loving.  We turn away from the things that we do that hurt our neighbor.  We turn towards God.  We do this by adding spiritual practices, reading scripture, adding community service, and coming together to worship.
The Liturgical color is purple.

This Sunday, we hear the story of Jesus going into the wilderness after he is baptized.  He spends forty days (the length of time of Lent) to prepare for his ministry. 

Bible Story: Luke 4:1-13

Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.

The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”

5-7 For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”

Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”

9-11 For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”

12 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’”

13 That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.


We hear the story of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days without food or drink.  Jesus has come to the desert to pray and prepare his mind and body for his ministry ahead.  What do you do to prepare for something challenging ahead?  Jesus has chosen prayer and fasting. Fasting when praying is something stated over and over in the Old Testament by those people trying to repent or come close to God.

Towards the end of his time, Jesus is tempted by the devil who offers him food, material great and wonderful things, and power.  Each time, Jesus refuses and uses scripture to remind the devil that all things come from God and our world and life is more than just the things we acquire. 

In Lent, we journey through the wilderness, but our wilderness is made up of things, of bad feelings, of forgetfulness of what is important, of business and all the other things that have come to stand in our way.  Our “devil” is not a person, but can be the media telling us what should matter to us or what should be important to us; it can be envy or falsehoods of what our lives should be like; it can be self-importance that stops us from looking outward to others in need; or it can be anything that we spend any amount of time thinking (or obsessing) on. 

What if we used Lent to clear away those things and focused on finding the important people, getting int touch with our community, building a relationship with God and focusing on getting ready for the mystery of the greatest love, called Easter?

Good luck on your Lenten journey and know that Deacon Lauren and any of the church’s staff is here to help you in any way we can.

Prayer:  Almighty God, whose most beloved Son was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, come help us to be strong in the face of our temptations. Help us in our weakness to choose to do what is right, good, and loving; 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):

  1. Discussion questions- What are you going to give up for Lent (as a fast) or what are you going to take on (reading Bible or other faith activity)?  Why did you choose that thing?  What will be the hardest part about it?  How will it help you become closer to God or others?  Is there something your family can do together too?
  1. Musical response- Try Taize as a practice.  Here is “Jesus Remember Me” 
  1. Craft response: Find an old binder or spiral notebook.  Use cloth (old clothes work well) and glue on the cover.  Decorate with buttons, stickers, and jewels.  Put paper in (for binder).  Make this your “God” Journal.  Keep track of things you are grateful for.  Also, put times you wanted God to do things your way.  Say a prayer at end of each writing.
  1. Outreach/community service response: Pick someone who is alone and during Lent, send them a card or note of encouragement each week.
  1.  Activity response: What is your practice for Lent?  If you have not chosen something, then do so now.  Maybe read a little of the Bible or use a Prayer Space for daily prayer, or donate to a charity.  Try your Lent Take Home Kit or try the Praying While Coloring or try another prayer practice.
  1.  In-reach response: How can you make someone in your family feel better when they have a disappointment or are hurt?  How can you show someone you are on their team?
  1.  Game response:  Spend the day finding things that are purple.  Every time you spot something purple, say, “God’s Team!”  Who can find the most purple?
  1. Watching the story: What is Lent

February 19, 2023

Also, Happy Birthday to Julia Villemuer!

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. 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.”

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?
  • 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.

We enter the Season After Epiphany.  The liturgical color is green, like the Season After Pentecost.  This Season varies in length because it is the season between Christmas Season and Lent. 

This Sunday, January 8, the First Sunday of the Season After Epiphany is the Baptism of Our Lord.  It is white, because baptisms are celebrations!  Jesus was not a baby when he was baptized.  He was all grown up and about to start his ministry.  This is a good reason to start this season of the church, with the event that marked the start of Jesus’ ministry.

Bible Story: Mark 1: 4-11

4-6 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

7-8 As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

9-11 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love (my beloved), pride of my life.”

Meditation:   If you were baptized in the Episcopal Church, you were probably baptized with water over a font and you, most likely, were a baby.  When Jesus was baptized it was in a flowing river as an adult.  He then went out into the desert to pray and then started his ministry of sharing God’s love and setting the world right.  When we are baptized we start our life in Christ.  We promise to live a life of love and ministry. 

The Holy Spirit that comes down to share God’s love and pride, also, comes to us.  The Holy Spirit is called our guide, our advocate, and our helper. The Holy Spirit is the love of the Father to the Son and lives in us.

Just as the shepherds were the first to visit the baby king, it was ordinary people who witnessed Jesus’ baptism.  God chose an ordinary, if not somewhat weird, man to do the baptizing of his son.  God loves people for who they are inside, in their hearts, not what title they have or what riches they have or how important other people think they are.  God loves us for who we are, not what we have awe accomplished. 

Our baptism enters us in a family, but it, also, enters us in a way of life.  We make promises to love the way God does: we will continue to participate in worship, prayers, and Christian learning; we will say we are sorry when we do acts that separate us from God and each other; we will live as Christians and tell others about God; we will see Jesus in every person and love others as Jesus loved them; we will treat all people with dignity and try for peace and justice for all; and we will live our lives in trust of God’s love.

Prayer:  Almighty Father, help us to live our Baptismal Covenant and to love and serve as Jesus did.  Thank you for welcoming us into this large family and loving us for who we are inside.  Thank you for sending Jesus to earth to teach us and show us your love.  Amen.

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

  1. Discussion questions- Look at pictures of your Baptism.  What do you see?  Why do you think Jesus chose to be baptized?  What do you like most about Jesus’ baptism?  What do you like about baptisms now?  Do you listen for the Holy Spirit inside you?  What would you do differently if you tried to live out your Baptismal Covenant?  What can you do now?
  2. Musical response- Sing Jesus was Baptized to Mary Had a Little Lamb.  Words can be found at 
  3. Craft response: Make a dove to hang: 
  4. Outreach/community service response: Water is necessary for life.  Talk about the importance of water and think of ways to raise money to donate a well or fresh water.  Organizations such as Episcopal relief and Development have programs you can help.
  5. Activity response: Look at the Baptism pictures of those in your family.  What are the same?  What is different?  How did your family celebrate the baptisms?  Go back as far as you can for your family history.
  6. In-reach response: Tell each family member why you are glad they are in your family.
  7. Game response:  Play Duck-Duck-Goose, but change the words to “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.  Run on Holy spirit.
  8. Watching the story: The Story of Jesus Baptism: