This year we find ourselves isolated and still living in a world with a pandemic. Many people are feeling anxious, stressed, lost, and sad. It is a normal reaction to what is happening around us. Reaching and connecting with families is more important than ever. We need hope, connection, and faith.
As those who work with children, we may be feeling a little overwhelmed ourselves. For those people, I have found a program that is easy to do and requires little work on the Children’s Minister. A paid program that comes highly recommended by others working with children in my diocese is the Lent Program from Illustrated Ministries. The program is Reflections from the Heart. Each week includes scripture, reflection, questions, activity, prayer and a coloring page. The cost is based on the size of the church ($39.99-$69.99). Their website is Illustratedministry.com.
For those looking for a more hands on approach, I have written a format for Living in Community.
We all need others. God gave us community. As a child, we needed other to care for us. As we grow older, we need others to teach us, to help us learn who we are, and to give us friendship. We need God all the time. The relationship with God gives meaning to all the other relationships in our lives.
Decorate bags with pictures of community. Put these six objects in the bag: Rock (with a cross or heart painted on or get Rockimpact with Engraved Cross), Heart, battery operated candle, bandage, small sheep, chalice charm (Pepperloney brand). Put each small object in its own plastic bag.
Include these short questions with each object. (See bottom for link to objects used).
A small booklet with all the Bible verses is recommended. Instructions to pick one time a week that family is gathered. One person pulls an object out of the bag. The Bible verse is read. The object is passed around with each person holding the object answers the questions. End the session in prayer.
Rock: Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus knew that connection with God is important even when he seemed to be alone. Do you pray when you are alone? What do you do to connect with God? Have you felt God’s presence? How did God give Jesus strength to resist temptation? How can you get strength form God?
Heart: Jesus chooses his Apostles (pick one or two). How do you think Jesus choose his friends? What do you think made a person a good Apostle? Who are your good friends? Jesus’ friends were good listeners. Are you a good listener? What qualities do you want in a friend? How can you be a good friend?
Candle: Jesus Transfiguration (Matthew 17: 1-13). Jesus took his friends with him and they saw him with Moses and Elijah, prophets that lived long ago. We are all connected to those who came before us. Ask your parents about your family tree. If your grandparents are alive, call them and ask them to share a story from their childhood about their family and their friends. What do you have around your house that was handed down from your family? What things would you want to hand down to your future children and grandchildren?
Bandage: Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Being a good neighbor is important. How was the Samaritan a good neighbor? What does being a good neighbor mean? What is something you can do to be a good neighbor to someone who lives on your street? What can you do to be a good neighbor to someone at your school? Is there a project your church is doing that your family can get involved in and be a good neighbor to those in need?
Sheep: The Lost Sheep & The Good Shepherd (Luke 15:1-7 & John 10:1-18). How did the shepherd take care of the sheep? What do these parables say about our relationship with God? Do you like thinking of God as your shepherd? Jesus looks for the lost sheep. Who are people who are lost? What are ways someone can be lost? How can you help them?
Chalice charm: The Last Supper (John 13) Jesus gave us a rule (new commandment), that we love and care for each other as he would. How does Jesus want us to care for others? What ways can we be nice, even when it is hard? How can we be nice when we are angry at someone? How can we find ways to care for people we do not know well?
Link to objects:
Bandages (any plain ones will do)