For Vacation Bible School this summer, our parish used Group Publishing’s curriculum “Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power.” This is the second week of family devotions based on the five Bible stories that we learned at VBS. (If you missed last week’s, find it here: https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/ravens-feed-elijah-i-kings-171-7/). Enjoy learning from your kids; you might be surprised what they have to teach you!
Supplies: God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), a family Bible with this story or access to the internet, containers with lids (or empty toilet paper roll), dried beans (peas, corn, pebbles), fancy duct tape
Gather: We like to sit in a circle on the floor for God Time. Finding some pillows or cushions to sit on makes it even more comfortable. My kids like to use pillow pets for this purpose! Once you are in a circle, light a candle (or turn on a battery-operated one; we use an LED tea light in a pretty metal container).
Activity: Noise Makers
Today, we will make the activity first, because we need it to tell the story. Take an empty container with a lid or a toilet paper tube or paper towel tube cut in half. Fill it with dried beans, peas, corn, or small pebbles. Close the lid and cover with fancy duct tape. Voila! Noise makers! See the pictures for this activity below:
Story Scavenger Hunt: To tell this story, you and your family will now need to go on a scavenger hunt. I urge you to make this a part of your God Time; help them to find all of these things, don’t make it work by doing it yourself. As a family, look for these things and bring them to your God Time area:
Fan (or something that makes wind)
Blanket (large enough for your whole family to sit around)
Balls (small balls that won’t hurt anything if they get tossed around inside. You could also use rolled up socks)
Matches/candle/grill/bonfire pit (or something that makes fire)
Once you have gathered all of these items in your God Time area, you are ready to begin the story. You can tell it like this:
One time, God told Elijah to go to a cave and wait there until God arrived. So Elijah went. While he was waiting, there was a giant wind (turn on the fan and encourage your family to make wind noises). But God wasn’t in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake (shake the blanket with the balls in the middle). But God wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire (light the fire). But God wasn’t in the fire (put the fire out). All of those things had been really loud (shake the noise makers)! After all of this, there was the sound of sheer silence. Elijah went out of the cave, and God spoke to Elijah in a tiny whisper. “I love you,” God whispered, “and I will take care of you, no matter what.”
My family did this story about three times in a row, with my girls catching on a little more each time.
Discuss: When God was hiding in the cave, what came first? What came second? What came third? When did God finally show up? What did God have to say to Elijah? Why do you think God encouraged Elijah? How do you think God encourages you? How can we be encouraging of others?
Song: Vacation Bible School Dance Party: If you want to, you and your family can take this opportunity to have your very own VBS Dance Party. Play the music, do the actions, or just get up and dance!
If you want to learn a new song, you could learn my Holy Spirit Song with actions. Here is the Youtube video:
Prayer: (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Dear God, we thank you that you spoke to Elijah in a whisper. Help us to always listen for your voice, and to encourage one another. In your name we pray, Amen.