All week something has been stirring in me. And no, it’s not the usual Easter Reflection.
When I wrote last week’s blog I had been thinking that it was important to get families to engage with Holy Week even if they had not managed to do a complete Lenten effort, and had suggested they do that by sharing the Bible stories. But that is only the start, it is the lifetime engagement with these stories that grows our faith.
So, it is the deeper engagement that we really are striving for not just the sharing of the stories. Nor is to too late now that we have officially entered the season of Easter to consider ways of engaging the family in the faith stories?
It is what we do with the stories of our faith that becomes important from here on in. Like the disciples found after the resurrection, now was the time to start making sense of all that had happened, time to start revisiting Jesus’s stories and life experience to consider what they meant in the shadow of the cross.
Easter is the time of encounter of the risen Lord, it seems the perfect time to go beyond just story telling and start to fashion a framework in which your family can process the stories and carry their faith with them for life.
So how do you do that?
Some of the worship programs with children in mind might give us some hints.
Godly play is thought of as a great way of story telling, and many churches just use the stories in worship, but that is not the Godly Play practice, it has been set up to involve participation through the Wondering Questions, and response in the craft, and worship in the sacrament or meal. These are easy to do at home.
- After reading a Bible story ask some simple wondering questions such as a) I wonder what part of this story you like the best?
- b) I wonder where you are in this story, or what part of the story is about you?
- c) I wonder what you could leave out of the story?
- Let them respond in a non-verbal manner, by letting your child make, draw, create a response that stems from them.
- Then finally by Sharing a drink and something to eat together, you not just parody communion but give some close non-structured time for any further responses.
OR maybe your child is ore active or requires direction then perhaps the Messy church method, which allows play and structured activities to lead into or reinforce ideas and themes may suit your child.
An older child might respond by reading a section of the Bible, learning a Bible verse, drawing a response, writing the passage in your own words, if a structured response suits your child. This can be done weekly or each element done on a different day.
OR follow one of the many programs written especially for families, here are some suggestions by Liz Perraud. https://www.genonministries.org/blogs/blog/talking-about-faith-at-home?fbclid=IwAR3LxdiC42IBuOwITsUt3zox01h3aK9zrV-H9sN7lz6CNvbh2b4FYon7yU0
StarandZ has this great list https://www.strandz.org.nz/families.html
Hopefully you will find something that suits your family.