Jesus Gives Thomas Peace: John 20:24-29

Do you ever need a little peace in your life?  Our household needs peace so badly at times, that we named our new puppy “Freddie,” from “Fred,” the Norwegian word for peace.  Here is a little activity to practice peace together as a family.  Enjoy feeding your family’s faith this week!

Peace Sign taped

Supplies:  God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), My First Hands-On Bible or a family Bible with this story, access to the internet, cardstock, crayons or markers, scissors.

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).

Story:  Read the story “Thomas Doubts Jesus” from John 20 in My First Hands On Bible, your Bible, or you can check out this version: John 20:24-29

Discuss: Who said that they had seen Jesus?  Did Thomas believe this?  Why or why not?  What did he want to do so that he could believe?  What is the first thing that Jesus says to Thomas?  What does Thomas say about Jesus’ appearance?  How does Jesus respond?  Do you share the peace in your church?  Did you know that this practice comes from this story in the Bible?

Song:   Peace Be with You: You can find the tune and lyrics here: https://youtu.be/K3mm0VTfDdI

I wrote this song for the parish I serve.  The first part is call and response, with one group singing “Peace be with you” and the second group responding “And also with you.”  The second part is sung in unison.  It is easy to catch on to, and we have used it as the “peace” during church.

Activity:  For our activity this week, we made a family peace sign to show how we all contribute to the peace of the household.  There are five people in my family, so I cut out the pieces like this:

Peace sign pieces

Each person colored one piece, and then we taped it together, like this:

Peace Sign taped

My daughter was so excited about it, she had me hang it from the ceiling fan in her room:

Peace Sign finished product

If you have too many or too few people in your family to easily divide it, cut out a peace sign and work on coloring it all together, or pass it around so each person can color a little bit of it.  Not very confident with free-hand drawing?  Here is a website where you can find a peace sign coloring page:  http://www.hmcoloringpages.com/free-printable-coloring-pages/peace-sign/

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Dear Jesus, we thank you for being the source of our peace.  Help us to be peaceful with one another, that we may spread your peace to all of the world.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Advertisements

If a Seed Dies: John 12:20-26

Our parish is located in a rural area, which means that our families are steeped in the growing seasons.  The children play in tractors as the crops are planted, and take afternoon naps on combines during harvest time.  Because of this, I suspect that studying this story from Jesus’ life will have immediate “real life” application.  Enjoy feeding your family’s faith together!

Nasturtium plant close-up

Supplies:  God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), a family Bible with this story or access to the internet, a pot, soil, nasturtium (or other easy-to-grow flower) seeds.

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).

Story:  Read the story “If a Seed Dies” from John 12:20-26 your Bible, or you can check out this version: John 12:20-26

Discuss:  What did Jesus say about the grain of wheat?  Is what he said true?  What do you know about how seeds grow?  This story is also about Jesus and what is going to happen to him; he will die, be put into the earth, and be raised from the dead.  Do you think that the disciples understood what Jesus was talking about?  Why or why not?  The story is also about us; one day we will die, be put into the earth, and rise from the dead to be with Jesus forever.  What do you think about this?  Is it scary?  Confusing?  Comforting?  What do you think it will be like when we get to live with Jesus forever?

Song:   We Plow the Fields and ScatterFind the music and lyrics here: https://youtu.be/du-5yPKfSRc

This is a traditional hymn that we sing at our church at planting and harvest times.  During God Time, my husband and I sang the verses, and had the kids join in on the refrain, which begins “All good gifts around us…”  I am excited for them to get to know it, because they will recognize it when we sing it in church the next time, and they will feel like they can participate.

Activity:  For our activity this week, we planted nasturtium flower seeds.  We talked about how a seed looks dead at first.  However, once you put it into soil, along with warmth and water, it begins to grow.  They all helped with the planting, and we have been keeping it on the table next to the dining room table so that we can watch its progress day by day.  When it is ready, we will put it outside to enjoy.  Here is a picture of this project in process:

When a Seed Dies

Because it is the end of summer when I am posting this God Time, perhaps you would like to get some fall flowers to plant from the store.  You could also sprout watermelon seeds, avocado seeds or potatoes for a fun “watch it grow” project.   Check out this website for a bunch of different activity ideas:  http://www.brighthubeducation.com/elementary-school-activities/126624-getting-children-to-grow-seeds-in-the-classroom/

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Dear Jesus, we thank you for seeds and soil, warmth and water.  Help our plants to grow, and remind us both that you died and were raised from the dead, and that someday we will be, too.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: John 13:1-15

How do you feel about feet?  One of the last things we do on summer nights is to wash our feet before we get into bed.  It is surprising how dirty they can get in just one day of playing outside!  This Family God Time devotion connects this simple task to Jesus’ life.  Enjoy growing in faith together as a family!

Suds

Supplies:  God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), My First Hands-On Bible or a family Bible with this story, access to the internet, access to foot washing supplies, nail polish (optional).

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).

Story:  Read the story “Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet” from John 13:1-15 in My First Hands On Bible (you can do the activities there, if you like), your Bible, or you can check out this version: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13%3A1-15&version=ERV

Discuss: What did Jesus do for his disciples in this story?  Why do you think he did that?  Why do you think he told them to be a servant to others?  What are some ways that we as a family could work on serving others together?

Song:  Jesus Loves Me:  Foot Washing Version
Jesus loves me, this we know,
For the Bible tells us so,
Little feet to him belong,
When he’s weak, that’s when he’s strong.
Yes, Jesus loves us!  We love each other!
Yes, Jesus loves us!  The Bible tells us so!

Activity: For our activity this week, we washed one another’s feet.  I found that it worked best with a bucket of warm water in the bath tub.  My daughter also insisted on using a scrub brush to get in between my toes!  It may seem silly, but after reviewing the story and singing the song, it was a holy experience.  Here is a picture of my clean tootsies from that memorable day:

clean tootsies

Prayer: (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Lord Jesus, you washed the disciples’ feet to show that you were willing to do anything to love them.  Help us to help and love each other, as you first loved us.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bring Hope: Feeding the 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44)

Pantry Food Drive

For the last of five weeks, our parish has been supporting our youth in prayer as they journey to the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Detroit, Michigan.  This is a life-changing experience of worship, service, and reflection for over 30,000 high school youth and adults.  In this week of Family God Time, we will finish exploring the key Bible stories for each day of the Gathering (If you missed last week, go to https://familygodtime.wordpress.com).

Supplies:  God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), My First Hands-On Bible (or other children’s or family Bible), access to the internet, access to your pantry

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).

Story:  Read the story of “Jesus Feeds More Than 5,000” in My First Hands-On Bible or another children’s or family Bible.  If you are using the My First Hands-On Bible, feel free to do the activities and questions described there.  If you don’t have a children’s Bible, check out this version:  Mark 6:30-44

Discuss:  Tell about a time when you were hungry.  What did it feel like?  What did it feel like when you were able to eat after this?  What kind of prayers do you pray at meal time? (If you don’t, this might be a great time to start!  Find some good ones here:  https://www.pinterest.com/dalefloyd/table-blessings-and-mealtime-prayers/)

Song:   Our family likes to sing table prayers sometimes.  If you don’t have one that you automatically know (hint:  the ones you used to sing at camp count, too!), you can check out these four sisters singing the “Doxology” on youtube: 

Activity:  Pantry Food Drive

One of the most miraculous parts of this Bible story is how a feast was made from very little.  Take this opportunity to clean out your cupboards and pantry with your very own pantry food drive.  You can work with your family to select shelf-stable items to share with your local food pantry.  In our parish, you can bring your items to church to be delivered.  If you have very clean cupboards already, you could take the family to the grocery store with a dollar amount you want to spend and let each family select items to give away to those who are hungry within your budget.  At our grocery store, you can put the items right into a food pantry bin, or you could also bring them to church.  Thanks in advance for your willingness to feed those who are truly hungry!

Pantry Food Drive

My daughter and I are planning to go school supply shopping this weekend.  I think that I will also make sure that we designate some of our shopping budget for school supplies for others or lunch supplies for the local backpack meal program.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) (Everyone lays their hands on the food you will donate)  Dear Jesus, we thank you that you give us enough to eat.  Bless this food to be a blessing, and be with those who are bringing hope to Detroit at the National Youth Gathering.  In your name we pray, Amen.