Lent in a Dish Week 2: Jesus Feeds 5,000

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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 how Jesus uses his power.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Mark 6:30-44
Read Jesus’ words about being ready in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+6%3A30-44&version=ERV

We used the Kids Bible App for our resource.  You can download it for free here:
https://www.bible.com/kids

Discuss as a family:
What do you think Jesus felt like when he was in the wilderness without eating for forty days?
What did the devil tempt him to do?
Did Jesus use his power in this way?
How did Jesus use his power in the story we just read?
How can we use our power to help hungry people?

Song:  I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
This is my favorite Lent song for kids.  It gets the somber mood, but has a way to get the wiggles out.  We held hands and walked in place while singing.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Heart Stones
Last week, 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 the stones and with stickers shaped like hearts or a paint marker or glitter pen to add hearts to the stones.

Jesus used his power to make more food for hungry people because he loves us.  We decided to add hearts to the stones that the devil tempted Jesus about turning into bread to remind us that Jesus uses his power to helps others, not himself.  My kids really got into this, as you can see from the picture:

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After you are done decorating, add the stone to your dish.  Place the dish in a place where you and your family can see it all week long, to remind you to use your God-given power to help others!

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 how Jesus uses his power.  Help us to use the power that you give us to show our love for others.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Palm Parade: Mark 11:1-11

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 Jesus’ kingly parade.  Help our time to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Mark 11:1-11
This is the story of Palm Sunday.  We read ours from Group Publishing’s My First Hands-On Bible.  You can purchase one here:  http://www.christianbook.com/my-first-hands-on-bible/9781414348308/pd/348308
You can also read it in your own family or story Bible, or check out an Easy to Read Version here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+11%3A1-11&version=ERV

Discuss as a family:  What are some special things that you do in church on Palm Sunday? (You might wave palm branches, shout “Hosanna!”, or have a parade, for example.) Why do you think Jesus deserved a parade?  What words would you shout to encourage Jesus?

Activity:  Palm Parade Party Hats

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My girls love crowns of any kind.  Here was my way to make crowns and incorporate the “leafy branches” on Palm Sunday!

Materials needed:
Extra-large sheets of green foam (or green construction paper)
A marker
Scissors
Tape/stapler

Instructions:
Cut the foam (paper) in strips about five inches high.  Depending on the size of your children’s heads, you might need more than one strip or one strip plus a few inches.
Write “Hosanna” along the bottom center of the front strip.
Cut 1 inch wide and 3 inch deep fringe along the top of the strips.
Tape or staple the strips together like a crown.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Palm Parade
After we made our party hats, we put them on, found noisemakers from around our house, and had a parade while singing the song, below.  Here is a short video from the experience:

Song:  Blessed is the One
This song is from my friend and folk singer, Nate Houge.  It is perfect for Palm Sunday.  We used it for our Palm Parade!

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Can be a repeat after me prayer if you have non-readers in your family)
Thank you, God, for this holy time together to feed our faith as a family.  Bless us as we remember that you are our king.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Jesus Loves Children: Mark 10:13-16

This story came up a few weeks ago in church.  In my mind, it is so important to make sure that Jesus loves them no matter what, that I decided to repeat it with my family.  Let the children come!

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,

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 Mark 10:13-16 in My First Hands-On Bible, your Bible, or you can check out this version: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10%3A13-16&version=ERV

If you have a My First Hands-On Bible, feel free to do the questions and activities described there.

Discuss:  What were the people doing with their children at the beginning of the story?  Did Jesus’ followers like this?  Why or why not?  What did Jesus have to say about this?  Do you feel welcome at church?  Why or why not?  How could you be someone who welcomes others?

 Song:  Jesus Loves the Little Children

This song is an oldie but a goodie, and I like the medley of tunes in this video:

Activity:  Jesus and the Children

I wanted to do something with a paper doll chain of children and a figure of Jesus.

First, learn how to make a paper doll chain here:  http://www.origami-resource-center.com/paper-dolls.html

Here’s what mine looked like (excuse the crumbs in the background!):

Paper Doll Children

Then, I added a free-form Jesus character:

Jesus and Children Paper Doll Chain

Finally, I asked the kids to color them:

Complete Jesus and Children Project

I thought the craft was done, but once again I was surprised by my kids.  They asked for tape, and made them into “Jesus Crowns”!  They wore them until nap time that day.

Jesus Crowns 1     Jesus Crowns 2

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Dear Jesus, we thank you that you welcome everyone, especially children.  Help us to welcome everyone in your name.  Amen.

A Cup of Cool Water: Mark 9:38-41

My youngest daughters are just starting to learn how to drink out of a cup on their own, so this text seemed especially timely for our family. It came up church this fall, and seemed like a fun way to reinforce what we had done. Enjoy feeding your family’s faith this week!

Cup of Water

Supplies: God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), a family Bible with this story, access to the internet, cups for everyone and two buckets, masking tape (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 Mark 9:38-41 in your Bible, or you can check out this version: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A38-41&version=ERV

Discuss: What did the disciples tell Jesus that they were doing? Did Jesus like what they had done? Why or why not? What does he tell them about others? What does he tell them about helping others? How can you help others in a simple way this week?

Song: Water to Drink
I came up with a song to go with Jesus’ words in this passage. You can find it here:

Enjoy!

Activity: Water Relay (Prepare to get wet 🙂 )
Let’s try to get some water to those who need it! All you need is enough cups for each person in the relay and two buckets, one filled with water and one that is empty. Give each person an empty cup and have them form a line. Put the filled bucket at the head of the line, and the empty bucket at the tail. Have the first person dip their cup in the bucket until it is full. Then, they pass the water by pouring it into the next person’s cup, and so on, until the water makes it into the second bucket. Keep doing this until you run out of water or your kids run out of interest.
If your kids are the analytical type, you could put a piece of masking tape at the top of the water line of the first bucket. When the race is over, put another piece of tape at the top of the water in the second bucket. How did the level of water in the first bucket compare to the second? If they are similar, great job! If not, try to decide together how you could make sure that more water makes it into the second bucket. Repeat the activity.

Prayer: (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Dear Jesus, we thank you for the gift of water, especially when we are thirsty. Help us to help all those who need help, just as you would. 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.

Break Chains: Crucifixion (Mark 15:21-41)

For the fourth 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.  For the next five weeks of Family God Time, we will explore the key Bible stories for each day of the Gathering (If you missed last week, go to https://familygodtime.wordpress.com).

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Supplies:  candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), My First Hands-On Bible (or other children’s or family Bible), access to the internet, found objects for the activity

Gather:  I was the only adult in the house for this God Time, so I decided to do it right after lunch before my two-year-olds had gotten down from their high chairs.  There was a request to do the activity first, so we did.  We made crosses, sang the song, and then read/discussed the story and prayed.  You can do it however it works for you!

Story:  Read the story of “Jesus Dies on a Cross” 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 15:21-41

Discuss:  How much love do you think it took Jesus to die on the cross for us?  Do you think he was sad?  Angry?  Afraid?  Where do you think Jesus is when we are sad, angry, or afraid?  Do you think that he knows how we feel?

Song:   My family and I like to make up new verses to the song “Were You There.”  Two verses from this lesson are:

Were you there when he loved us all the way?
Were you there when he loved us all the way?
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, sometimes, it cause me to
Tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when he loved us all the way?

Were you there when he broke the chains of death?
Were you there when he broke the chains of death?
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, sometimes, it cause me to
Tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when he broke the chains of death?

Activity:  Making Crosses

The prayer practice of Making Crosses was popular with my confirmation students last year.  It is a combination scavenger hunt, craft, and prayer.  First, you go around the house, or outside, or in a craft store and let everyone find things that they think will make good crosses.  It could be bits and pieces of almost anything, as long as you are willing to sacrifice it for this project (and a good reason to clean out your craft bins!).  Then, you gather together and glue the pieces into a cross shape.  Afterwards, you pray over them and put them in a prominent place in your house for all to see.  My family found a bag of old clothespins and decided to make them out of that.  Each cross was 1 1/2 clothes pins, with the whole clothespin as the upright and the half clothespin as the horizontal piece.  I thought we should decorate them in some way, and my daughter thought we should draw Jesus on them.  Here are some pics of our attempts to decorate them:

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Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) (Everyone lays their hands on your crosses)  Dear Jesus, we thank you that you have broken the chains of death through the cross.  Bless our crosses to be a reminder of your love for us, even as we remember those at the National Youth Gathering who are spreading your love in Detroit.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Build Bridges: Walking on Water (Mark 6:45-52)

For the third 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.  For the next five weeks of Family God Time, we will explore 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, blocks of wood and boards (or carpet squares or foam tiles or empty cereal boxes and rope)

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).  We were at camp for this God Time, so a circle on the ground in the shade was just the ticket.

Story:  Read the story of “Jesus Walks on Water” 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 6:45-52

Discuss:  What would it have been like to be in a boat in a strong wind?  What would you have done if you saw Jesus walking on water?  Why do you think he did this?  Do you think that Jesus has the power to comfort us when we are scared?  Why or why not?

Song:   Sometimes, we have times when we are scared, and we need to hear Jesus’ words of encouragement.  Here is a short song that you can use over and over again when you are afraid to help to remind you that Jesus is always with you:

Activity:  Building Bridges         

One theme that the National Youth Gathering participants are going to explore is “building bridges,” so we thought we would build some of our own!  We were at camp for this God Time, so we borrowed some boards already made for walking across, held hands, and carefully crossed the sea, just like Jesus!  If you are at home, you could set out wooden blocks in random patterns in your yard (scrap pieces from the end of boards work great) and practice linking one block to another with a board.  Then, cross together, shouting “Jesus helps us build bridges!”  You could do this several times, until your kids tired of the game (hint:  my kids did not tire of this game, their legs just got too tired to do it anymore!).  If it is raining, you could do this inside with pillows by lining them up from one side of a room to another and doing the same thing.  Here are our pics from this activity:

Building Bridges #1     Building Bridges #2     Building Bridges #3

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability.  Feel free to make up your own!) Dear Jesus, we thank you for helping us learn about you walking on water.  Help us build bridges, between our family members, our friends, and those in need, even as we remember those at the National Youth Gathering in Detroit who are working to do this, too.  We ask that, through us, all may know your love.  In your name we pray, Amen.