Since we are still not able to be together in person, I wanted to send out a lesson for the week that you can do at home with your children. I am trying to figure out a way I can send some video lessons...so stay tuned in the coming weeks!
Just a reminder: Our Lenten lessons have come from the lessons on the Episcopal Church website.
Here's a bit of background that the website offers for this lesson series(If you are familiar with this section from last week, you can skip ahead to this week's lesson):
Lent is a reflective season - an opportunity to go deep within ourselves and focus on our relationship with God and with others. The forty days of Lent remind us of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert following his baptism, pondering who he was and what he was to do. They also remind us of the forty years that the people of God wandered in the desert following the Exodus from Egypt, learning how to be the community of the people of God. The Hebrew Scripture lessons for this year focus on the covenants or promises that God made with the people of God. Like Jesus, we choose to enter this time of "desert," in order to remember the promises of God, hear the stories of ways in which they were fulfilled (hint: They didn't always look the way the people expected!), and the ways in which we are called to participate in those promises in our own time - to discover who we are in God and what we are to do.
This week's lesson:
Some supplies you may want to have on hand:
-stones(any kind). If you are not able to find any real stones, you could draw some on paper and cut them out.
-glue(optional). Hot glue would work best. Elmers glue or glue stick would be fine for paper.
Here is an opening prayer you can say together:
Thank you, God, for the gift of Lent, the time we pay special attention to the ways we can come closer to you. Help us to hear your promises, and to remember that we are part of your great family. Amen.
Here is the Bible story for today's lesson:
Scripture: Joshua 5: 9-12
During the season of Lent, we are hearing stories about times that God made promises to the people of God, even some times that the promises that seem impossible. Today's story is about one of those promises. Last week we heard the story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses came across a bush that was on fire, but was not burned up! God spoke to Moses through the bush, and told him to go to the land of Egypt, where the people of God were slaves, and to tell the king of Egypt, the Pharaoh, to let God's people go. Pharaoh did eventually let God's people go, and Moses led the people to freedom! But they didn't know which way to go, and they wandered in the desert for 40 years. They were not ready to enter the land that God had promised to give them, as the great-great-great-grandchildren of Abraham. At the end of that time, Moses died, and a man named Joshua became the leader of the people of God. To enter the land God had promised to give them, the people needed to cross the Jordan River. The people did not know how they would get across the water! God told Joshua that God would part the water so that the people crossed the river on dry land, just as they had crossed the Red Sea when escaping Pharaoh. When they were all across the river, Joshua told the people to take 12 stones from the water and use them to mark the place that they had crossed the river. Whenever they saw these stones, they would remember that God had held back the river so they could enter the promised land. They named that place "Gilgal," which means "circle," likely referring to the circle of stones. After they had done this, they celebrated the Passover feast together. During the Passover feast, they remembered that they had been slaves in Egypt, and that God had set them free. And God came close to the people, and told them, "You were slaves in Egypt, and you were ashamed. Now you are free people, in the land that I have given you, and you should not be ashamed anymore."
Here are some reflection questions you can use to talk about the story(feel free to use only the ones that would interest your child):
I wonder how the people felt when they needed to go across the Jordan River?
I wonder how they felt when the waters were held back, and they were able to cross on dry land?
I wonder how the people feel about finally entering the land that God had given them?
I wonder how the stones helped them remember?
I wonder if you have ever seen a stone, or piles of stones that people use to mark something?
I wonder what kinds of things we mark with stones?
Here's an activity you can do while chatting. You will need your stones and glue(if you want). Set one stone aside for use after the activity
In the story, the people built a stone memorial out of stones. As you chat with your children about the story, encourage them to build their own cairn or sculpture. If you choose to use glue, you can permanently glue the stones together. If you have chosen to use paper, your child can arrange the stones on the paper and then glue them down.
Here's a closing prayer to end the lesson:
Thank you, God, for your many promises, and for time for us to remember them through our faith stories. Thank you for leading your people from the desert into the Promised Land. Amen.
I hope that everyone is still doing well as we continue in this new form of life. I pray that you are staying strong and keeping the faith. Even though we cannot be together in person, I hope that we can still find ways to connect as a church group. Please stay tuned for some video lessons and readings and please feel free to send me anything fun or special you have found during this time that we can share with everyone!
Stay safe and healthy!