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!
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.