Sunday Reflection: Mark 7:24-37, A Child Theology response

One of my favourite memories are of the dinner parties my parents had when I was very little. My brother and I would eat with the adults, the same meal at the same table at the same time, but smaller portions for our tinier tummies. We would start with Grace, and when we had permission to leave the table, we would slide down out of our seats and crawl underneath the table, between thick trunk like legs, I would love the pretty shoes of the women, enjoy the smells of their perfume or soap but best was the special treats smuggled down to us by emerging hands from above the table top as we crawled past, a strawberry or a chocolate, a bit of a biscuit or cake. We had quite a feast before we left the special world under the table. We did not find the family dog in our crawl through this wonderful leg trunk world. We had a dog, but he lived outside, where he was fed the family scraps, just like the pet in the story. (The Greek word used in this passage suggests a family pet).

Too big now to crawl under the table, just writing about it takes me there now.

Whenever I read or hear Mark 7:24-30, I am there again.

By looking at this story through the focus of the child, I also bring my childhood persona. What a picture of Intergenerational gathering, adults, children and the family pet all gathering together around the one table that this passage paints. It is not a picture of equality, of equal distribution, but rather one of everyone being present getting their fill. No-one is left out or forgotten. A beautiful reminder that at God’s table everyone is feed. In our ministry shouldn’t we do likewise, the Intergenerational Movement feel it is, this is a great passage to remind us that we don’t have to serve everyone the same amount but they do all get to be fed at God’s table.

But the Gospel reading for Sunday does not stop there it heads into a very adult story of healing? Or does it! Every parent can hear themselves in the verse 36, trying to settle an overexcited child, we will tell them, not very convincingly of course to settle down, don’t be so load, bottle up your excitement. This is how I see this request by Jesus to “not tell anyone”, because for me who could contain their excitement, a life changing miracle, the ability for someone to hear and to talk well. How after being inarticulate or being one to witness such a miracle could you stay quiet. Big brother disciplining a younger child for over the top excitement that might just upset a parent!

Unfortunately, the words used in Vs.36, can have a sinister aspect, and at the start of Child Safety Week, I feel remiss not to point it out, one of the forms of coercive control is to tell someone not to tell. Any child who has been subject to abuse with the extra threat of do not tell anyone, must surely quake at this reading and others like it when Jesus implores his followers not to tell. Maybe it is a normal request, we might ask ourselves? But why then does it feel wrong, might our emotions counter? The confusion heightens the abuse.

When we preach these passages, it is important to remember that these words may trigger an unwanted memory for someone in the congregation. How are you looking after your congregation? How are you imparting these passages? Are you encouraging the wrong use of these words or supplying a healthier reason for them? What pastoral tools do you have in place so that those that are vulnerable are held, and supported by safe people and safe structures in place?

When we look at a passage by putting the child at the centre, even those passages that appear to be absent of a children’s voice, the lens of exegesis can throw up issues that other forms of analysis do not.


Wendy L.


After Pentecost 15B: ideas to engage everyone(especially the youngest) in the set RCL readings for Sunday

Photo by Ann H on


For anyone looking for ideas to help share God’s word with everyone including the youngest.

Whether you are preparing traditional worship or an all age or Intergenerational service.

OR you are a parent wanting something for your children to use either in face to face or broadcast services, as you parent from the pews or couch

Or during family devotion times.

I use easily found ideas to help you share the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings with children. Instead of sifting through many websites, facebook , pinterest, instagram, and blog posts; this is a one stop shop where I have done the sifting for you to find theologically and developmentally appropriate material for your congregation or family.

Though you will find simple ways into the text here THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THOUGH THAT YOU CAN DO IS SHARE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAITH. I firmly believe that it is in the relationship, that the Faith formation of the next generation truely starts. You will notice that there are very few prompts or questions on this page. This is to allow your child to do the thinking and to work out what is important to them from the texts. Sometimes they may give you an insight or even ask a question? There are no wrong insights or crazy questions, and you are enough, enough to listen, enough to work it out together, ENOUGH to share your love of GOD with your child.

Here is a great presentation on children’s spirituality, but most importantly from the 40 minute mark on, it speaks about the imporantance of teaching through story and explains the process I recommend you use with children.


We are still in the longest liturgical season, the season after Pentecost. This season takes up half or the year, and it’s liturgical colour is green. There are no major celebrations during this season, and some refer to it as Ordinary Time. For me it is a time to celebrate everyday joys, to see God in the ordinary, in the everyday, and to hear the everyday stories of Jesus.


If worshipping at home. You may want to set up a space/alter/focal spot, to bring out when you worship or to keep out everyday.

You can do this by setting up a candle, and add the things that remind YOU of God, a cross, a word, a special object, even something from one of the readings.

If able to worship in the Church buildings pack a special backpack, as well as filling it with your Covid Safe equipment, add the books or materials required to help your young ones relate to today’s readings.

For adults and older students you might like to take a journal with which to record anything that grabs your attention during the service. Write a precis of the message (traditional or sensory word), draw or write a response in and keep a record of emotions. You could use a template like this free download





You might like to start with the Lord’s Prayer if at home, or say the Lord’s Prayer within a set place if following along in a service. Here are 4 options


A more contemplative version

Or for a more Intergenerational approach try Number 1 on the Table Settings album by Liturgical Folks



Wise God,

Teach me, (use your pointer finger to point around the room)

open my ears, (point to your ears)

help me tell all, (point to your tongue)

about You,

make me alive in You (one star jump)

Amen (one clap)

(you can then pray this prayer for others by saying that persons name instead of saying Me)

FIRST READING: PROVERBS 22:1-2,8-9,22-23

READ How to heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham


a suggestion by STORYPATH follow the link to find out why.

DRAW or write what you see around you, don’t leave even the smallest item out.

PLAY: Find items to place on a tray,(the number really depends on the ages that will be playing,eg a 2 year old might have just 2 items, the build up – the idea is not to shame or embarrass someone but for them to realise how little we take in and to draw from this the idea that they need to be mindful of all of God’s people, rich and poor,happy and sad, etc) show them to those participating, then cover them up draw or recite how many items you can remeber. Items can be anything you have at home or at church, eg, toys, food, things with texture and shape, here are a few egs.

Photo by Alesia Kozik on


READ: Psalms for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval

How does this Psalm make you feel, draw or write about it? Or point out which Emoji it makes you feel like.

I wonder what image appeals to you in the Psalm?

SECOND READING: James 2:1-10, (11-12),14-17.


WATCH This is a loong video 10 minutes, way too long for the very young amongst you, let them come and go as it is played, or stop every 2 minutes and ask a question? Such as

  1. Why doesn’t Uncle Willie ask the can man where he lives (about 2 min mark)
  2. What does Mr Anthony give them? (about the 4 min mark)
  3. What job’s did they find for him to do? (about the 6 min mark)
  4. How does Uncle Willie make people feel welcome and help him feel safe? (about the 8 min mark)
  5. How many people did they feed?
  6. I wonder which part of the story you liked best?
  7. I wonder which part you can leave out and still tell the story?
  8. I wonder where you are in the story?

RESPOND to this story by drawing, writing, or creating in any way?

MAKE: Today is Father’s Day in Australia and New Zealand, make your Dad a card (fold an A4 card in half and draw a picture on the front to make a simple card. Don’t forget to write something nice and say who made the card, then add a good deed you will do for Dad, such as, let him watch a show he wants to on TV, mow the lawn or tend the plants, walk the dog, or anything else you can think of. What an amazing gift card, i’m sure he will love it.

For a more challenging card see this video. Don’t forget the good deed.

GOSPEL READING: Mark 7:24-37

WATCH This is Mark 7:24-30

for the full reading

READ: Meet Jesus in Mark, by Matthew Sleeman, Mark 7:24-8:26 read the first 2 paragraphs


PLAY: close your eyes, what can you hear?(you might like to play a cymbol, or maracca, tap two pens together, run your finger nails over some corregated cardboard, or use the tones on your phone, have them say or make the sound they hear)

QUESTIONS: I wonder what it would be like to hear for the first time?

I wonder if you could stay quiet?

I wonder who you would be in the two gospel stories?

SENDING HYMN Tell the World by Hillsong Kids Learn the actions here


Wendy L.

Please check local guidlines before using items that are not mine especially if you are using this page for congregational use. Please acknowedge this page if you find it useful.Thank you.

I am writing this on Wurundjeri land and wish to pay respect to all Elders, past, present and emerging.

After Pentecost 16B: Ideas to help the 3’s and under understand the RCL readings’ this week

These are suggestions only to help parents/caregivers engage their children in services that use the Revised Common Lectionary. They can be used by parents/caregivers or those who help out in small congregations that can not afford to pay Child and Families Ministry. Some congregations use all 4 readings in their services others only two. Prepare a special church bag in advance each week so that you are ready for the rush on Sunday Morning.

Read during the Bible readings,

Pray during the prayers,

Colour, Draw or Craft during the sermon.

Remember that little ones will need their own space to move and wiggle,

Sit towards the front so they can see what is going on. Craft or drawing or play are for spiritual responses not for a perfectionist piece that can be shown off.

Remember you have bought your child to worship. Enjoy engaging them in it.

You might need to prepare these in advance, and place them in a special Church Bag ready to go for Sunday Morning. THIS IS A NEW SEASON, AMERICAN FALL OUR Spring . For $10 American dollars (about $Aus 16) you have 12 weeks of colouring sheets. Or you can combine with other parents or ask the Church to make the purchase for yourself and the families.

A4 drawing paper


Community playing toys such as doll house, trains or cars


FIRST READING: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23


What is better than Gold and Silver?

To be respected.

God made us all.

If you are mean

It will backfire on you.

Always share

You will be the blessing.

Do not make the poor poorer

Because God loves us all.

DRAW/MAKE: Illustrate the words of the Proverb. Make a Wise Words book, by folding 2 A4 sheets together in the middle. Write the words for your toddler from my rewriting of the Proverb, Rows 1 and 2 on page 2, Row 3 on p.3, rows 4 and 5 on p.4, row 6  on p.5, row 7 on p.6, and row 8 on p.7, and row 9 on p.8.  Than draw a wonderful front page for your collection of Wise Words.

You can reread your new book over the week, then put it away for a couple of weeks then bring it out again.




Psalm 125: Good Balance

(for children & all-age worship)

When we trust in God we will not be shaken,     (shake all over)
we will not be thrown off balance.                    (stand on one leg)
The mountains stand tall and strong around us, (stand tall as you can)
and around the holy hill in Jerusalem –   (walk in a circle)
so God is all around us.                                 (hold out your hands at shoulder level)
He protects us from falling.                       (wrap your arms around yourself -give yourself a hug)
Evil will not knock us down,                                ( wobble but don’t fall)
we won’t get twisted and do what is wrong.  (twist your body from side to side)
Dear Lord, be good to people who are good;       (hold your hands in prayer)
bless people who have upright hearts,            (hold your hand out in front of you)
who stand tall and strong for what is true.        (stand as tall as you can)
We trust you, ever-lasting God.                         (make a T with your hands)
Grow our hearts up right in you.                         (make a heart shape with your hands and grow it bigger and bigger until your fingers can’t touch)
Dear Lord, give us peace.                                   (bow your head)

Words by Rev Silvia Purdie, actions by me.

DO: practice walking on a low fence, or in church there might be a low ledge, or find a line they can walk on. Stand tall.

DRAW: Some of the beautiful  images in the Psalm


SECOND READING: James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17

READ/WATCH: start this at the 30 second mark. Shelter by Celine Clark as recommended by


PLAY: communal toys, such as house, or trains or cars, anything that allows your child to practice being a part of the community.


GOSPEL READING: Mark 7:24-37

READ/WATCH: Horton Hears a Who by DR Seuss

It’s a pity that i could not find a children’s version of the Mark reading, especially as it has a child as the recipient of its parents faith. But these unlikely people came to Jesus with great faith in the same way that the Whovians’ trusted in Horton. So once again I suggest this well loved book. a few years ago so did



I start with a space in the centre and draw out from that, no drawing skills necessary.

One of my leaders who was very artistic always drew a tree.

Dear God Thank you that you don’t say NO to anyone who needs you God. Amen


Wendy L