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.

Lent in a Dish Week 4: We Are the Light of the World

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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 we are the light of the world.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 5:14-16
Read about being the light of the world in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5:14-16&version=NRSV

We used the Spark Story Bible for our resource.  It was the story called “Salt and Light.”  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:
How can we be the light of the world?
These verses are often used when they light the candle at a baptism.  Why do you think we say these words at that time?

Song:  This Little Light of Mine
This is the perfect song to go with these verses.  You can even make up your own verses to go along with the ideas you came up with during your Bible story discussion.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Light in the Dark
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 a small candle or LED candle, depending on the age of your kids.

This week, we will do experiments with light and dark.  Give each child a candle and light it.  Ask them to find the darkest place in the house in and hide there with their candle.  After you count to ten, call out “We are!” and they respond “The Light of the World” until you have found everyone who was hiding.  You can repeat this as many times as you wish, with a different “seeker” each time.

After you are done shining light in dark places, add it 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!  You might want to light your candles during mealtimes this week to keep reminding each other to be light.

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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 this time to learn about how we are the light of the world.  Help us to use the light that you give us to shine in the dark places in the world.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Lent in a Dish Week 3: Jesus Washes His Friends’ Feet

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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 would do anything for his friends.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  John 13:1-15
Read Jesus washing his disciples’ feet in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13%3A1-15&version=ERV

We used the Spark Story Bible for our resource.  It was the first two pages of the story “The Last Supper.”  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:
Why do you think that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet?
What job would you really not like to do?  Who would you love enough to do it for?
How do you show others that you love them?

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:  Pipe Cleaner Person
Perviously, 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 a pipe cleaner.

Jesus was really a human person, and he really cared for his friends.  He showed just how human he really was when he got down on his knees in front of his friends and washed their feet.  To remind us of this, we are going to make a pipe cleaner person to add to our dishes.  See the instructions, below.

Fold your pipe cleaner in half.

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Wrap the middle around an adult’s thumb to make the head.  Twist a couple of times.

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Make two long twists to form the body.

Bend about an inch out of each end to become the legs, as shown.  Wrap the ends up the body again.

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Form the two ends into the arms.  You have made a pipe cleaner person!

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After you are done making your person, add it 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!

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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 this time to learn about how Jesus served his friends.  Help us to use the power that you give us to serve others.  In your name we pray, Amen.

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.

Lent in a Dish Week 1: Jesus in the Wilderness

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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 Jesus in the wilderness.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 4:1-13
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=Luke+4%3A1-13&version=ERV

We used the Whirl Story Bible for our resource.  You can purchase one here:  http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/19372/Whirl-Story-Bible-Lectionary-Edition?c=285812

Discuss as a family:
Have you ever been tempted to do something you shouldn’t?  Tell the story.
Have you ever been able to resist temptation?
How hungry do you think Jesus was?

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:  Sand Pictures
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 dish and sand (and a pencil or stick).

My husband decided that glass pie plates would work better for our dishes, because they can be used for other things once Lent has concluded.  Pour sand into each dish and allow your kids to make pictures in the sand with the eraser end of a pencil.  Some suggestions include hearts, crosses, spirals, or hand prints.  You could also ask your kids to tell the story of Jesus in the wilderness using the sand.  We did this in the kitchen, because sand did kind of go everywhere.  After they have had some time to play, remind them that this dish is going to have something added to it each week to tell the story of Lent.  Place the dishes in a place where your family can see them over the course of the 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 Jesus in the wilderness.  Lead and guide us in the times when we are tempted to always follow you.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Preparing for Lent 2017

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is March 1 this year.  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.

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Because this project requires a bunch of resources, I thought it might be good to spend our devotion time before the first Sunday in Lent gathering these supplies as a family so that we will be ready to go when it is time.  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 prepare for Lent.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 12:35-40
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=Luke+12%3A35-40&version=ERV

You can also find a chant with an easy way to memorize our focus verse for this week here:

Discuss as a family:
What are some special times of the year that you and your family get ready for?
How do you get ready?
Today, we are going to begin getting ready for Lent.  What preparations do you think we might want to make?

Song:  Prepare the Royal Highway
This song is usually sung during Advent, but we also use it in our church on Palm Sunday, so I think it works for Lenten preparation.  This version was produced by a children’s ministry in Hopkins, MN, and I think it is a wonderful way to show what we are singing about as we sing.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Preparing for Lent
Gather the following supplies together as a family.  As you do, you can wonder together about what we might use each of these things for.  I recommend gathering enough supplies for one project for each child in your household, but do what works best for your family.

  1. A wide dish with a low lip.  We are using terra cotta pot saucers.
  2. Decorative sand. I got mine at the dollar store.
  3. A palm-sized rock. You can also find these at the dollar store.
  4. Peach, white, or brown pipe cleaners. We will use these to make stick figures in week 3.
  5. A small candle or LED candle. We will use one size larger than a tea light.
  6. Quick maturing grass seed or sprout seed. You want something that will start to show in 7 days or less.
  7. A small amount of potting soil for the grass seed.

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Gather these supplies together into a box or bag so that you can easily access each part when it is time (we are leaving the potting soil in the garage until we need it).  That’s it!  You and your family are prepared for Lent!  We will begin our journey together 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 prepare for Lent.  Lead and guide us as we travel through this season.  In your name we pray, Amen.