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

Devotion & Formation for Week of September 19, 2021

It is the Seventeenth Sunday in the green season of the Season After Pentecost.  Hopefully, your family has a routine and schedule that has become the normal for you.  This Season is like that, there is flow to it that reminds us of the day-to-day life of Jesus.

It is Liturgical Year B of a three year cycle.  This year, we are covering the Gospel of Mark.

Bible Story: Mark 9:30-37

30-32 Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn’t want anyone to know their whereabouts, for he wanted to teach his disciples. He told them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him. Three days after his murder, he will rise, alive.” They didn’t know what he was talking about, but were afraid to ask him about it.

So You Want First Place?

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?”

34 The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.

35 He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”

36-37 He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”

Meditation:

Being first seems like such an important thing in our world.  In sports, we want to place first.  In Spelling Bees, we want to be first.  In music, we want to be first chair.  When it comes time to choose something, we want first pick.  We even worry about someone else getting more; more cake, more dessert, more time with another, and even being loved more.

Here two disciples are arguing about who is more important in God’s plan; who is more important to Jesus.  They want to be first.

Why do you think being first is important?  Why is it important to you?  Why is it important to have as much or more than others (especially among siblings)?

 Sometimes, I think we do not even know why ourselves, we just know we want it.  Maybe, it is our need to feel important; that we matter.  We do matter, though!  We are important!  We are important and matter to God in a way that is stronger than any human bond.  We are each the most important.  We are each the most loved.  We are each a part of God’s plan of love on this earth.  We are not just another person to God, we are the beloved person God chose and made to be on this earth.

It is hard to imagine in our world how I can be the most important and you can be the most important and another can be the most important, because we think like a person and God thinks like our creator.

What if we tried to think of each person we meet or have in our family as one of the most important people to God, would you treat them differently?  Try it and see.

Prayer:  God, help us to see each other through your eyes.  Help us to know that grades, sports, competitions and other ways we compete are not a measure of our worth; 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- Each share something or sometime you felt it is important to be first at.  What did being first mean to you?  What about a time you did not come in first that was important to you?  How did you feel?  Talk about the way we measure those around us (grades, competitions, etc.)  Why do we think those things matter?  What does God think of those things?  Is it hard to imagine that each of us is the most important person to God?  How would you treat others?
  2. Musical response- Every Move I Make https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPvnZILn6EY
  3. Craft response: Make “You are first to me” cards and give them out to all the people who have helped you in your faith journey. 
  4. Outreach/community service response: Hand out the cards you made in the craft.
  5.  Activity response:  Who are some people who give of themselves and are always there for you in your life.  Find little ways to show your appreciation.  Maybe make a card and put a piece of candy or stickers in it.   
  6.  In-reach response: What is something each of your family members is frustrated that they cannot do well?  Give them encouragement, help them to do it, cheer them on and remind them, that they do not have to be the best at it (compared to others), they just have to do their  best.
  7.  Game response:  Act out ways you can be first by being last (show ways to love like Jesus did).  Play it like charades and guess what they are showing.
  8. Watching the story:  watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNb_4ffnKRs

Devotion & Formation for Week of September 12, 2021

As the “school year” enters into full swing, I am changing the formation and devotions for children and their families to focusing on the Lectionary.  The Lectionary is the readings we hear in church on Sunday.  Switching to using the Lectionary allows all family members to grow together, discuss the stories and the homily, and to share ideas and thoughts.

This Sunday is the sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost.  The liturgical color is green.  The Season After Pentecost is the longest liturgical season in the church calendar.

We are in year B of our three year cycle.  This allows us to read the Bible over the three year period.

Bible Story: Mark 8: 27-38

Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?”

28 “Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”

29 He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”

Peter gave the answer: “You are the Christ, the Messiah.”

30-32 Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.

32-33 But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”

34-37 Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

38 “If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

Meditation:  

Jesus asked his followers, “Who do people say I am?”  We know what people say, but who is Jesus to us and what does that mean to our lives? 

It is a good question when we are feeling like sitting at home instead of going to church.  It is a good question to ask when we must make a decision of whether we are going to do something to help others.  It is a good question to ask when we are feeling anger or bitterness towards someone. 

We say Jesus is God’s Son, God among us, and God on Earth.  Human, yet God, he went through unbearable pain to show us God’s love is limitless for us.  It shows us love involves sacrifice.  It shows us love does not need to go both ways.  Love is given no matter the circumstance. 

How can you and your family respond to this kind of love?  How can you and your family show what it means to believe in Jesus?

Prayer: Almighty God, direct and rule our hearts that we may show your love to others and serve you. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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

  1. Discussion questions- Who is Jesus?  Who is Jesus to you?  What does it mean to say who Jesus is to you?  What things do you need to differently?  What things do you need to do more of?
  2. Musical response- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owx3ao42kwI  Jesus loves me.
  3. Craft response: Make a Jesus Children Chain: It is a LOT of fun to make these children chains and it can illustrate a story of how loving, caring, and understanding Jesus is to ALL children, no matter what religion, race, or religion they are. Fold a piece of paper in half 3 times. Then draw a girl or boy shape on the paper along the hinge. To make many, many dolls, you can tape them together in a long chain. To get the pattern visit: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/jesuscraftstideaskidsprojects.html
  4. Outreach/community service response- Show God’s love by buying extra school supplies and giving them to your teacher for children who cannot afford the supplies.
  5.  Activity response- color these pages: https://ministry-to-children.com/back-to-school-coloring-pages/
  6.  In-reach response: Offer a blessing before your child goes to school each morning.  This can just be a simple prayer while touching their head or shoulders.
  7.  Game response:  Play Who am I?  One person leads and thinks up a person or an animal or even a thing.  They ask, “Who am I?”  and the other players take turns asking yes or no questions to help them figure out who the person is.  The one who guesses the correct answer then becomes the leader.
  8.  Watching the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsyo5D5DyMo for older children
  9. See the Gospel of Mark through the Holy Tales (long video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aehJq9HpJuQ