But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Luke 18: 16

Trinity Kids provides spiritual guidance, education, & community for children from infancy through 5th grade. For Preschool through 5th grade, the “contemplative model”; of children’s ministry is used to provide the framework for learning about the stories of the Bible, with a focus back to the gospel & salvation of Jesus Christ. Lessons and discussions are hands-on, reflective, and open-ended. Please contact Julia Guy (julia@trinityanglicanmission.org) with any questions or to learn more about Godly Play and the contemplative model.

Monday, December 31, 2012

What is Epiphany Sunday?

     The Epiphany is observed on January 6th, and the celebration remembers the three miracles that manifest the divinity of Christ. The name "Epiphany" comes from the Greek word Epiphania, and means "to show, make known, or reveal." The celebration originated in the Eastern Church in AD 361, beginning as a commemoration of the birth of Christ. Later, additional meanings were added - the visit of the three Magi, Christ's baptism in the Jordan River, and his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. These three events are central to the definition of Epiphany, and its meaning is drawn from these occurrences. Traditionally, the Epiphany is celebrated through prayers said at doorways of homes, eating a special Epiphany cake inside which 3 coins are hidden, and perhaps a giving of special gifts. 

How Jesus Cared for Children

     In his ministry, Jesus showed striking interest in and love for children. To the surprise of his disciples, he often including them in his teaching: “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’” (Matt 19:13–14). When the disciples came to Jesus asking him which one of them was going to be the greatest in Christ’s kingdom, Jesus called a child to himself (Matt. 18:2) and said, “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:4). Jesus went on, telling his followers that part of their duty is to receive little children: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Matt. 18:5).
     In Mark 10, Jesus upholds childlike faith as admirable: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15; cf. Luke 18:17).
     Jesus wants his followers to honor, protect, and care for those among them who are small and vulnerable, especially children. Part of Jesus’ ministry on earth involved healing children. In Mark 5:39, Jesus came into the house of a ruler of the synagogue, whose daughter had just died. Jesus said that she was not dead, but only sleeping. After they laughed at him, Jesus said to the child, “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (Mark 5:41; cf. Luke 8:54). Mark recounts what happened next: “And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement” (Mark 5:42). Similarly, in Mark 9, Jesus encounters a young boy who had been having demonic attacks. Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of him (Mark 9:25) and the boy fell down as if he were dead. Jesus took him by the hand and he was healed (Mark 9:27). Jesus, who calls himself “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), brings life and healing to children.
Jesus wants his followers to honor, protect, and care for those among them who are small and vulnerable, especially children.
     The tenderness and care Jesus showed for children is an expression of God’s heart toward the small, the weak, and the vulnerable, as seen throughout the Old Testament.
(Source: www.theresurgence.com)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent Jesse Tree

In keeping with our tradition in Trinity Kids, we will be celebrating the season of Advent by discussing and following the story of the Advent Jesse Tree. Below, you will find an explanation of the theory and thinking behind the Jesse Tree. Below, you will find a list of the symbols/ scripture for each day as well. I encourage you to create a Jesse Tree for your own family to follow as well. We will be attending to one or two symbols each week during our learning time on Sundays, but your collaboration and partnership at home will support their learning throughout the season. You may choose to purchase a Jesse Tree kit online or create the pieces yourself (check out: http://www.etsy.com/shop/InspiredTraditions, and www.christianbook.com/advent, and many others). Either way, I pray that this will be a pattern of prayer and learning that you include as a tradition in your own family as well.           
The Story of the Jesse Tree
(adapted from an article on www.crivoice.org)
The Jesse Tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots."  It is a vehicle to tell the Story of God in the Old Testament, and to connect the Advent Season with the faithfulness of God across 4,000 years of history. The Branch is a biblical sign of newness out of discouragement, which became a way to talk about the expected messiah (for example, Jer 23:5). It is therefore an appropriate symbol of Jesus the Christ, who is the revelation of the grace and faithfulness of God.
The Israelites through the descendants of Abraham were chosen by God to be a light to the nations. When they were imprisoned by the Egyptians, they cried out to God for deliverance from their oppression. And God responded: "I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry . . . I have come to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them to a good land" (Exod 3:7-8). And so He entered history in a marvelous way to deliver them and bring them into a place where they could worship God and serve Him in peace and joy instead of serving Pharaoh in hard service. God promised to be with them and to be their God, and they would be His people.
But as they settled into the land that God had given them, "they forgot God, their Deliverer, who had done great things in Egypt" (Psa 106:21). As they grew secure in the land, they began to believe that "my power and the strength of my own hand have gotten me these things" (Deut 8:17). Even though God had raised up godly leaders like David, later kings and religious leaders served their own interests, and the people began to worship the false gods of the land. They even gave offerings to the idol ba’al, supposedly the god of rain and fertility of the land, thanking him for the prosperity they enjoyed.
But God grieved because "she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished upon her silver and gold that they used for ba’al" (Hos 2:8). God had "planted [them] as a choice vine from the purest stock" (Jer 2:21) and had expected them to grow and flourish and carry out His purposes in the world. But they had degenerated into a wild bush with worthless fruit.
Because they had forgotten God, they also forgot the call of God to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" (Mic 6:8). God sent prophets to warn them of the consequences of failing to be His people. Amos warned them to "seek me and live" (5:4). Through Jeremiah, God promised them that if they would turn from their wicked ways He would bless them and be with them in the land (7:5-7). But he also said: "Take heed, O Jerusalem, or I shall turn from you in disgust, and make you a desolation" (6:8).
Some of the people longed for new leaders, a new "anointed" (Heb: meshiach; Eng: messiah) shepherd king like David who would help them to become what God had called them to be. But most of the people would not listen. They continued to worship the idols of ba'al. They continued to cheat the poor, steal from each other, neglect the needy, and do all manner of evil.
So God let them go their own way and suffer the consequences of their choices. The Babylonian armies came and destroyed the temple, the city of Jerusalem, the land, and took the people into slavery. The choice planting of God that had such promise, that God had tended so carefully and encouraged to grow, was cut down and became a mere stump (Isa 5:1-10).
But God did not give up on this people! Even though they had disobeyed, even though they had forsaken God for other gods, even though they had miserably failed to be His people and to let Him be their God, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob still loved them. He had made a commitment to these people that He would not allow to be undone even by their rejection of Him.
He had already told them this through the prophets, but they had not understood then. Jeremiah had promised a day when God would again plant and build (31:28). And Isaiah had spoken of a time when God would cause a new shoot, a new king, to spring from the cut-off stump of the lineage of Jesse, David’s father (11:1). During the Exile, suffering under the consequences of sin, they had little reason to suppose that God would do anything new.  Still, the old promises echoed across the years, even if they could not believe them or even understand them.
In spite of their failures, in spite of their inability to envision a future beyond exile, there came a time when the prophets again announced a new thing, proclaiming "good tidings" to the people: "Here is your God!" (Isa 40:1-11). The Exile was ended! God would bring back to life a nation that was already dead (Eze 37). Long ago they had been slaves in Egypt, with nothing they could do to change their condition, and yet God had chosen to deliver.
So now, in the midst of their failure and hopelessness, God had again entered history as Deliverer. They would have another chance to be His people, not because they had earned it, no more than they had deserved it the first time; but simply because God in His grace had chosen to forgive.
They returned to the land. But across the years, they again struggled to obey and live up to their calling. They would never again slide into the worship of false gods. They had learned that lesson.  But the great kingdom that they dreamed of restoring remained only a dream. They had hoped for a new king like David to lead them into a glorious future in which they would rule the world. They hoped to throw off the control of the Greeks and later the Romans and become a great nation. But it didn’t happen. And they became disillusioned and discouraged.
So, they again hoped for God to raise up a new king, a new messiah, to deliver them from the oppression of the world. They longed for peace and deliverance from the tyranny of a sinful world. The prophets again brought the word of God to them, and promised a newness. Even though they struggled to understand and believe, they held onto the hope that the same God who brought slaves out of Egypt, and who brought exiles out of Babylon, could bring Messiah into the world!
We know the rest of that story. God was faithful to that promise, and a new King was born in Bethlehem. So we can exclaim with the old man Simeon: "My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before all people, a light of revelation to the nations, and for glory to your people Israel!" (Luke 2:30-32).
But we also know that the world is still with us. Even though we can have Peace and Joy through the presence of Jesus Christ, we still long for deliverance from the oppression of sin in the world. We long for the full reign of the King, and the Kingdom of Peace that He will bring. So, while we celebrate the birth of the Branch, the new shoot from the stump of Jesse, we still anticipate with hope the Second Advent, and await the completion of the promise.
The Jesse Tree helps us retell this story, and express this hope.             

The Light of Creation
Genesis 1:1
Prophecy of the Lion and Lamb Resting Together
Isaiah 11:10b
The First Sin
Isaiah 53:6
Prophecy of the Prince of Peace
John 14:27
Inside the Ark
Romans 6:23
Prophecy of the Gentle Shepherd
John 10:27
The Call to Abram
Genesis 12:3b
Prophecy of the Suffering Servant
John 10:15
Isaac and the Lamb
John 1:29b
Prophecy of the New Covenant
Jeremiah 31:33a
Jacob’s Ladder
Genesis 28:15a
Prophecy of Bethlehem
Philippians 4:13
Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors
Romans 8:28a
The Exile
Jeremiah 1:8
Moses and the Ten Commandments
Psalm 119:11
The Return to the Land
Revelation 22:20
Canaan, the Promised Land of Blessings
Psalm 103:2
The Star
Matthew 2:10
Ruth and Boaz
Ruth 1:16b
The Light of the World
John 8:12
King David
Psalm 23:1
Angels Proclaiming the Birth of Christ
Luke 2:14
Josiah Finds the Law
Psalm 119:105
The Birth of Jesus
John 3:16
Prophecy of the Shoot from the Stump of Jesse
John 1:14a