**Plan to do this family devotion the weekend before Easter (Palm Sunday weekend). This will give the grass seed enough time to sprout, but not to look too scraggly.
This year during Family God Time, we will be using a resource from St. Cuthbert Episcopal Church in Houston, TX, but with a Family God Time twist. It is called “Lent in a Bag,” but we will be creating our own “Lent in a Dish” projects. I thought of the dish because of the beautiful Lenten garden that my daughter created in Sunday School last year, and thought that there could be a way to use both resources to create something meaningful over the course of several weeks.
You can read more about the original “Lent in a Bag” resource here: http://www.buildfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/in-a-bag-trifold-Cuthbert-4-1.pdf You can read more about the Lenten dish gardens here: http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2013/03/mini-resurrection-garden-easter-craft.html
Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about the day that Jesus died. Help our time to be a holy time. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Bible Story: Matthew 27:27-61
Read about being the day that Jesus died in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
We used the Spark Story Bible for our resource. It was the story called “The Day Jesus Died.” You can purchase your own copy here:
Discuss as a family:
This is a long reading because most of each of our Gospel books in the Bible take up most of their time telling this story. You may want to break up the story by singing some alternate verses of “Were You There.” Here’s the way I plan to do it with my own kids:
The Soldiers Mock Jesus: Were you there when he wore a crown of thorns? (place pretend crown on head)
Jesus Carries his Cross: Were you there when he carried his own cross? (hold pretend cross over shoulder)
Jesus is Crucified: Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? (pretend to hammer a nail)
Jesus and the Criminals: Were you there when he promised paradise? (arms toward heaven)
Darkness: Were you there when the sun refused to shine? (hands over eyes)
Jesus Dies: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (arms out in shape of a cross)
Jesus is Buried: Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? (gesture as if laying someone down)
Your family might have a lot of questions when you talk about this story. Try to encourage the questions, even if they are uncomfortable. Wonder together at the answers; you don’t have to necessarily know them. Seek out your pastor or minister if you need more help.
Song: Were You There
This is the perfect song to go with these verses.
Activity: Burying Seed
**My family and I have not yet done this activity because we want to do it Palm Sunday weekend, also. We will show you our results Easter weekend!
Previously, we gathered all of the supplies we needed for the whole Lenten season Lent in a Dish. You can find the supply list here: https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/preparing-for-lent-2017/
This week, we need potting soil, fast germinating seed, and a small empty dish (we are using Greek yogurt containers). If you don’t want to use the sand again, you can forget the dish and spread soil over the sand.
Let your family examine the seed. What does it look like? Alive? Dead? What kind of a plant do you think it will become? Put your potting soil into the small dish. Make sure it is reasonably damp, though not soaking wet. Using your finger or the eraser end of a pencil, make some little holes in which to bury the seed. Tell your family that the seed reminds us of Jesus on the day that he died. Sing “Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?” as you bury your seed in the holes and cover them up.
After you are done burying your seed, add the bowl to your dish. Place the dish in a place where you and your family can see it all week long, to remind you about the day that Jesus died! Keep the soil moist, and move your whole dish to a sunny spot when you begin to see the first green shoots. We will use the new plants to help to tell the story of Easter next week!
Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you.
Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to learn about the day that Jesus died. We thank you for loving us enough to die for us. In your name we pray, Amen.