The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Welcome back to 3 Ways Into Sunday’s Stories! For those of you who are new to this weekly resource, we hope you and your children might find something here you can use on Sundays, if you can’t make it to Children’s Time, or during the week, if you and your family would like to try some activities at home or go deeper into one of the themes from Sunday’s lectionary readings. We know there are many learning styles and approaches to faith formation and here we offer three ways — sing and dance, play and pray, and create — to engage the weekly themes.
This week: Our focal text is Psalm 91, and the key word is refuge. Though not all children know what it means, they may have heard the word refugee. And they might even know that these are people, including children, who are fleeing one dangerous place in hopes of finding a safer place. Most of us can scarcely imagine how it feels to leave one’s home, country, or language of origin, to enter a place and culture that is foreign to us. It was probably hard enough for some of our kids to leave home and go back to school!
Home is our families’ refuge. We feel safe, accepted, cared-for at home. God is our refuge — our spiritual home. And God calls us to also be a refuge wherever we are, as our presence and actions with others can offer safety, acceptance, and care.
1. Sing and Dance
Sing and dance with this remixed version of the favorite Stand By Me. Notice in the lyric, the voice both asks and invites the other to stand by me — to be protected, to protect, or both?
2. Play and Pray
Play Trust Walk. Partner up! One of you wear a blindfold. Hold hands and go for a walk around your home, or outside if there is an area that it not too busy. Take turns in the different roles. Was it easy or hard to not peek? Was it easy or hard to be the guide for your partner and keep them safe and comfortable? Challenge: Let go of hands and direct only with your voice. Or place some obstacles in the path. Trusting another person can take courage. Being trustworthy also can take courage. Both are acts of love.
Pray: Dear God, you remind us today that you want to be our safe place of refuge. Help us feel your presence when we are afraid and help us be a refuge for others when they are afraid. Amen.
Lots of babies and young children have something like a security or comfort blanket or toy. And believe it or not, a lot of older children, teens, and adults too have something they keep with them that makes them feel safe or reminds them who loves them and who they love. Sometimes people wear crosses on a necklace to remind them of Jesus’s love, or saint medallions, or lockets with tiny photos of loved ones. Can you make something with a name or picture or symbol that you can keep with you to remind you that you are safe, accepted, and loved? Here are some ideas:
- Paint a small river stone.
- Write a name or initials on a metal washer with permanent marker.
- Make a small card to keep in your pocket or backpack, with names, or a drawing, or a prayer.
- Make a beaded bracelet and each bead can represent someone you love.