Lent in a Dish Holy Week: Jesus Died and Rose Again

I’m not going to lie; the seed sprouting thing did not work out for my family.  We didn’t have any potting soil in the garage, the soil in our garden is full of clay, and my very thorough helpers saturated the soil in our cups so much that I don’t think it will ever dry out, even in our dry climate.  This is what I get for publishing a post before trying it out for myself.  Luckily…

Did you know that my six-year-old is brilliant?  She came up with the following idea for Holy Week, and we can’t wait to do it (yes, I tried it first this time 😊).  May this week be a Holy Week for you!
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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 the day that Jesus died.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 27:27-66

Read about being the day that Jesus died in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+27%3A27-61&version=ERV

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:

http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/8122/Spark-Story-Bible-Sunday-School-Edition?c=285812

We will revisit the burial of Jesus in our activity today, so there is no need for an extended discussion unless your children have questions.

Song:  Were You There

This is the perfect song to go with these verses.

Activity:  Burying Jesus

For this activity, you will need an empty toilet paper roll, your rock, human figure, and candle.

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After Jesus was crucified and died, his friends buried him in a cave called a tomb.  Today, because we are also Jesus’ friends, we will remember this day by doing the same.

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Place your empty toilet paper roll in the center of your dish.  Use the candle to seal one end of the tube.  If you have enough sand, you could bury the tube with the empty end sticking out.  You could sing “Were you there when the sun refused to shine?” if you want to.

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Place the human figure in the “tomb.”  You could sing “Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?” if you want to.

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Seal the tomb with the stone covered in hearts.  This reminds us that Jesus died because he loved us.  You could sing “Were you there when they sealed the tomb up tight?” if you want to.

**Depending on the age of your children, you could stop here and wait until Easter for the rest of the story.  I plan to set up the next part of the activity on the night before Easter so that Jesus has risen when they wake up on Easter morning.  We will celebrate with “Empty Tomb Rolls,” which you can find here:  http://pleasegivepeasachance.blogspot.com/2010/04/empty-tombsresurrection-buns.html

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If you plan to continue right on to the next part of the activity, remind your children that Jesus stayed in the tomb for three whole days.  Count to three together.  Then, use a scissor to cut the toilet paper tube right up the center.  This reminds us that when Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn in two and God made his home with his people, wherever they might be in the world.  After you have done this, crack the tube in half and set it up, as shown.  Jesus is alive!  Alleluia!  If you want to celebrate, you could sing this song:

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 (and rose).  We thank you for loving us enough to die (and rise) for us.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Children’s Devotion Time April 2017: Palm Sunday

One of the churches in our parish has begun having inter-generational Sunday School once per month. We call it “Children’s Devotion Time” or “CDT.” Each child in the class has an older adult who serves as an individual mentor during devotion time. It includes an opening prayer, a large group Bible Story, an age-appropriate leaflet about the day that they work on in child/adult pairs, a closing prayer, and a simple craft. It is based on Family God Time, but done at church and for a larger group. Join us in this new faith formation experiment!
You can learn more about just how we have set this up here:  Children’s Devotion Time Instructions

Large Group Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we are thankful for this time to learn more about the story of Palm Sunday and Holy Week. Help us to learn and grow together. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Large Group Bible Story: Matthew 21:1-11
Read about Palm Sunday in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+21%3A1-11&version=NRSV

We used the Whirl Story Bible for our resource. It was the story called “Hosanna.” You can purchase your own copy here:
http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/19372/Whirl-Story-Bible-Lectionary-Edition?c=285812

Work in Pairs:
Each child/adult pair has a four-page leaflet to work on which is developmentally appropriate for the child. They work through the leaflet together, taking as much time as they need. I get these resources from sundaysandseasons.com, which is a paid subscription lectionary resource that my parish subscribes to. This month, I also included an explanation of Holy Week that I found here:
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Large Group Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for being our king who loves us so very much. Help us to follow you, now and always. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Activity: Palm Leaves
Supplies needed:
Palm Craft Template:
1 sheet green card stock per pair
1 paint stir stick per pair, painted green
Gel Glue
Glue stick
8 – 1”x6” strips patterned green scrapbook paper/card stock
1 – 1”x12” strip patterned green scrapbook paper/card stock
Scissor

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1. Trace around the template onto the plain green card stock. Cut the shape out of the green card stock.
2. Using the gel glue, glue the plain green palm to the back of the green paint stir stick (the side with the words, as it is hard to get the paint to completely cover over them).

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3. Use the glue stick to get the front of the paint stick nice and sticky. Add the short strips of paper, as shown.

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4. Add more glue from the glue stick to the top of the over lapping paper. Use the long strip of paper to cover the stick and the strips, as shown.

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5. Use the scissors to trim the strips. Here is the completed project.

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6. Have a Palm Parade! Shout or sing Hosanna as you wave your palms. Maybe the adults could be the “crowd” as the children play Jesus’ disciples in the parade.

© 2017 by Pastor Breen Marie Sipes, Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish, Byron and Hardy, Nebraska. https://familygodtime.wordpress.com Please give credit where credit is due!

Lent in a Dish Week 5: The Day Jesus Died

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**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:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+27%3A27-61&version=ERV

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:
http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/8122/Spark-Story-Bible-Sunday-School-Edition?c=285812

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.

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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.

Transfiguration: Matthew 17:1-8

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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 a time when Jesus showed his disciples who he really was.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 17:1-8
Read the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+17%3A1-8&version=NRSV

Discuss as a family:
Why do you think Jesus brought his friends up the mountain?
What do you think Jesus talked about with Moses and Elijah?
Why do you think Jesus’ friends wanted to stay on the mountain?
What did the voice from heaven say about Jesus?  What do you think that means?

Song:  I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
This song is one of my favorites for the season of Epiphany, which concludes this Sunday.  It talks about how bright our world is because of Jesus.  If it is not a familiar song for you, you and your family can join in on the chorus.

Craft:  Paper Folded Stars
Because we have been star crazy through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, we thought that we would leave you with one final star.

A big thanks to this site for giving me a great idea:  https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/felicity-quilts-4157993/tutorial-folded-fabric-star-ornaments-3772915437

The original is made out of fabric, but I simplified them for children with scrapbook paper.  Here is what ours look like:

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Supplies needed:
3 different patterns of scrapbook paper
Scissors
Stapler
Craft Glue
Button (We used star shaped ones from a Fourth of July project) or star sticker
Thin Ribbon
Hole Punch

Instructions:
1. Cut the scrapbook paper into 6 inch squares.  You will need one square of each pattern for a single star.

2. Fold each square diagonally one time.

3. Fold each square diagonally a second time.

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4. Stack in the order shown and staple together with one staple in the center.

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5. Glue the button/sticker in the center of the star to hide the staple.

6. Punch a hole in the top arm of the star and add a ribbon to hang it.

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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 your light in this world, and for showing us who Jesus really is.  Be the guiding star of our lives.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Salt and Light: Matthew 5

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 we are salt and light.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 5:13-16
Read the story of the Sermon on the Mount in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+5%3A13-16&version=ERV

Discuss as a family:
What is your favorite salty thing?
What is your favorite source of light?
How do you think we are salt of the earth (hint:salt is used for seasoning, preservation, and healing)?
How do you think we are the light of the world?

Song:  This Little Light of Mine
This song is probably quite familiar to you.  Did you know the words came right from the mouth of Jesus?  Let your lights shine as you sing this song together!

Activity:  Salt Dough
I thought it would be fun to make something out of salt cough to remind us that we are the salt of the earth.  The basic salt sough recipe is 2 parts table salt and 2 parts flour to 1 part warm water.  I found that my dough was a bit sticky, so I added more flour until the dough was soft and easy to handle.

My idea was to take the “salt” dough and make a heart-shaped tea “light” holder, like this: http://lifeasmom.com/diy-on-a-dime-salt-dough-candle-holders/

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However, my kids had other, wonderful ideas.  They played with the dough for almost an hour, and then had me wrap it up tight in plastic wrap so they could use it again.  They have asked for it at least three other times this week, and it is a great distraction to play with at their little table in the kitchen while I have been making supper.  A devotion and a lifesaver, all in one!  No pictures this time, as they smashed their creations as fast as they made them.  I guess that’s the magic of the dough!

My kids and I have skin allergies, so I didn’t add color or scent to our dough.  You could most certainly do that, if you are so inclined.

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 making us salt and light in this world.  Help us to remember that you are the one who makes us truly shine.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Jesus is Baptized: Matthew 3

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 was baptized.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 3:13-17
Read the story of Jesus’ baptism in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+3%3A13-17&version=ERV

For this story, my family and I used the Spark Story Bible.  You can purchase one here:
http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/8122/Spark-Story-Bible-Sunday-School-Edition?c=285812

Discuss as a family:

What do you remember about the day that you were baptized?

What do you parents remember?

Have you ever seen a baptism before?  What was it like?

What do you think about God calling us his beloved daughters and sons?  What is it like to know that God is well pleased with you?

Song:  Wade in the Water
This song is and African American Spiritual, and is great for a devotion time about baptism.  Have fun pretending to wade in the water together!

 

Activity:  Making Soap
I don’t know if it’s all kids, but mine hate washing their hands.  I thought making their own soap might be a good way to remind them of their baptism, while also making something useful that they can’t wait to use!

To make your own soap at home for the first time, I recommend purchasing a kit at a craft store.  If you do this, follow the directions included in the kit.

I regularly make soap, so I had the supplies on hand.  You will need blocks of plain glycerin soap, a few drops of a fragrance of your choice (we used lavender), and soap molds (we used shell molds).

Melt the glycerin in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time.  I let my kids stir the soap in between each 30 second time period.  When it is all melted, add a couple of drops of fragrance (don’t be too generous, or it will burn your nose!) and stir to combine.  Holding the measuring cup with the help of one of your kids, carefully pour the melted soap into your molds.  Allow to set up completely and have them help you to release the soap from the molds (it’s like getting ice out of an ice cube tray, but with a slightly more gentle touch).  Store soap in a cool, dry location until you are ready to use it.  Here is a picture of our finished product:

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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 making us your sons and daughters in baptism.  Help us to remember that you love us and are happy with us.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Wise Men Give Gifts: Matthew 2

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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 wise men who brought gifts to Jesus.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 2
Read the story of the wise men in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+6%3A11-22&version=ERV

For this story, my family and I used the Spark Story Bible.  You can purchase one here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+2%3A1-12&version=NRSV

Discuss as a family:
Here is a discussion guide and coloring sheets that go along with this story:  Epiphany of Our Lord Discussion Guide

Our kids enjoyed using this resource to dive deeper into the story; we hope that you will, too!

Song:  Bright and Glorious is the Sky
This song is close to my heart because our family is of Scandinavian descent, and I grew up singing this song in Norwegian.  Only recently did I discover that this song is all about the wise men!  Our kids enjoyed helping to sing on the repeats at the end of each verse.

Activity:  Treasure Boxes
For this activity, I spent some time at the Dollar store.  I wanted to figure out a way to let our kids see, touch, and smell the gifts of the wise men in a kid-friendly way.  Here is what you need for this craft:

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Soap holder box
Star stickers (or stick-on jewels)
Print out of meanings: Gifts of the Wise Men
Tape
Three gold flat-sided marbles
1 block of “strange” smelling wax melts (I chose “Fireside,” which was on sale)
1 small container of lotion or lip balm

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Decorate the box on the outside with star stickers.  Cut out the meanings and cut them to fit the inside of the lid of the box.  Tape in place.  Remind your kids what each gift was about as you place the pieces in the box.

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I have to admit that this has been one of my girls’ favorite crafts ever!  They love opening the box to smell the “frankincense” and putting the “myrrh” lotion on their hands.  They are keeping their boxes with our Please Touch” nativity set right in front of the baby Jesus.  It is amazing to see them using their imaginations to tell and retell the story!

If you would like another coloring activity for Epiphany which I compiled, you can find it here: Epiphany of Our Lord Sunday

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 guiding the wise men to meet Jesus.  Lead us in your ways, all the days of our lives.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Resources used for this post:
Discussion Guide:  Thanks to http://www.coloring-page.net/pages/bible-10.html for the star nativity, to http://jesus-photos-pictures.blogspot.com/2011/09/christmas-star-clip-art-pictrures-and.html for the star, to http://theteacherscorner.net for generating the maze, and www.coloring-pages-for-kids.com for the wise men.

Coloring Activity:  Thanks to http://lifeasmama.com/8-christmas-coloring-pages-for-adults/ for the star, and http://www.churchhousecollection.com/three-wise-men-sunday-school-lesson.php for the pictures of the gifts.