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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Noah & the Flood (October 21st)

Season of the Church Year: Common Time/ “Great Green Growing” Season  (green)
Story in Scripture: Genesis 6:9- 9:29
Many children know the story of Noah and the Flood from their early childhood. Nursery rooms, day care centers, infant pajamas- all remind us of this incredible story and the way in which God drew close to Noah and challenged the moral norms of the day. The lesson today focused primarily in the way in which Noah was in communion with God. Noah and his family loved the Lord and listened to his direction in their lives. Even though he was undoubtably surprised by the direction that God sent him! Secondly, the discussion today also focused on the way in which Noah and his family were brought to a realization of hope and new life as the flood waters began to recede. Although it is easy to attend only to the variety of animals on board.... this story is more accurately a story of separation, inspiration, distruction, patience, redemption, and, at last, new life. The children will also be enjoying a beautifully illustrated book called Noah’s Ark, by Peter Spier, which aids in an engaged discussion of the reality of the story.

Guiding Questions for Discussion:
I wonder how it felt to be in the Ark with all the rain? 
I wonder what it was like to be surrounded by so much water?
I wonder how it felt to be washed clean and new and to start over again?
I wonder how God felt about the animals and the people in the Ark?
I wonder how it felt as they made a special place to talk to God, to say their thanks to God?
I wonder how they felt when they saw the rainbow and understood the promise?

“Father, thank you for the story of Noah. Help me to understand the ways that you direct my life. I want to do the things that please you and I know that you want the best for me. Come near to me the way you came near to Noah. Thank you for my family, my friends, my pets, and all the ways that I enjoy your blessings every day. Amen.”

Communion Focus, Week 3 (October 21st)

Season of the Church Year: Great Green Growing Season/ Common Time (green) 
Story in Scripture: Matthew 18: 20-35 

We [4th- 5th grade students] began our time this week with a “taste test” of sorts. We sampled a variety of breads- unleavened, leavened, baked, toasted, soft, hard…. and wondered, ‘Is it really about the bread and the juice?’ What makes Communion so sacred? How are wheat and grapes different in the context of Communion than they are in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Having this conversation at home may also encourage the students to consider incarnation, or the understanding that the full presence of God and his kingdom can be at work in simple elements like bread and juice. In order to prepare for Communion, we will continue to think about what we believe takes place when we partake in Communion (please see the previous week’s summary for more information about this). We also discussed Communion’s role in the community of believers. Last week, we made some strong connections between Jesus’ revelation to the disciples along the road and while breaking bread in Emmaus. What a mystery it is to behold the miracle and sanctity of Communion! We read about the importance of remembering the Last Supper and the sacrifice of Jesus. Finally, much of our conversation today centered on the early church and how gathering together to pray, worship, learn, and break bread was about more than tradition or habit. This is an important aspect of Communion that we must also remember. Receiving the body and blood of Christ is a big deal and we should always treat it with respect and reverence. As you will see below, our prayer time also focused on those modern-day Christians who face oppression and must worship secretly. Next week will be our final lesson in preparing for Communion. Please let me know if you would like me to revisit or clarify elements of our learning so far as we meet this last time before participating in the entire service on October 28th. Thanks!

Guiding Questions for Discussion:
*I wonder what it must have been like for Mary to share about Jesus to the disciples and other Christians?
*I wonder how it felt to have special church services in secret?
*I wonder why the bread and the juice are so important and special when we eat them during Communion?
*People today still must worship and take communion in secret, I wonder what that is like?
*I wonder why it is so important to explain about communion each time before we take it?

“Dear God, thank you for helping Christians all over the world to meet together for prayer, worship, and communion. Please protect those who must meet in secret. We pray that the Holy Spirit would protect and guard them. Just like the early Christians meeting in the Catacombs, we pray that a place would be made for Christians to gather together. We know that you are with us when we gather with other believers. Thank you for you presence, Lord! Amen.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Communion Focus, Week 2 (October 7th)

Season of the Church Year: Great Green Growing Season/ Common Time (green) 
Story in Scripture: Luke 22: 7-23 
This week, we [4th- 5th grade students] began by reviewing the topics we discussed last week. Then we went on to learn about Communion’s roots in the Last Passover Supper of Jesus. Although the season of Lent is still several weeks away, we explored the days and hours prior to Jesus’ crucifixion to provide a context for the importance of the last meal that Jesus shared with his friends. An important element of this discussion will be the mystery that surrounds the sacraments of “body” and “blood.” This is a difficult concept to understand for 4th & 5th grade students, much less adults. In a simplified way, we unpacked the idea that yes, before Communion, the bread and juice are made of the same grapes, water, wheat, etc. that all juice and bread are made of. In the mysterious and sacred act of Communion, however, Jesus’ body and blood are infused within the bread and juice. I will be quite earnest with the students in sharing my own difficulty in truly understanding this, yet I will talk and pray with them about the importance of living in mystery and trusting the miraculous work of God. I appreciate this explanation from our Pastor, Kris McDaniel:

“And, it's important to note that we don't believe in transubstantiation or consubstantiation (that the elements literally, physically become the body and blood of Christ). We do believe that the elements are, however, no less significantly transformed. That they would spiritually become the body and blood of Christ is just as significant in terms of impact. Only recently has [the church body] made a distinction between physical and spiritual, making the physical somehow more real... moving back from consubstantiation reminds us a spiritual transformation is not less significant than a physical transformation!”

Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can help clarify this or talk through this further with you or your child. We will also be talking about another great mystery- Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and his breaking of bread with them. This story can be found in Luke 24: 13- 32.

Guiding Questions for Discussion:
*I wonder if Jesus’ friends, the disciples, knew how important this Passover meal really was?
*I wonder what Jesus means by “my body” and “my blood”?
*I wonder why Jesus’ friends repeated this special meal and the words that Jesus said?
*I wonder what you think of when you see symbols in the church like the cross, or the communion table?
*I wonder what is must have been like for the disciples to realize that the traveler on the road to Emmaus was Jesus?
*I wonder about other times when we are with friends and all along Jesus is there?

“Dear God, thank you for the mystery of Communion. We know that there are many things that are difficult to understand and we are so grateful that you will walk along side us as we learn and grow in wisdom. Help us to turn to your and your words in the Bible for truth. Just like the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, we pray that you would reveal yourself to us so that we may better know, love, and serve you everyday. Amen.” 

Communion Focus, Week 1 (September 30th)

Season of the Church Year: Great Green Growing Season/ Common Time (green) 
Story in Scripture: John 6: 1-15
This week, we [4th- 5th grade students] began discussing Communion and it’s place in history, our faith, and our daily expression of love for Christ. We began by considering the different names for this special meal- “Eucharist,” “The Lord’s Supper,” and for our purposes, “Communion.” We also read about the symbolism of the bread and the wine/ juice, the way in which God provides the opportunity for us to sacrifice in our lives, and the sacrifice of the little boy who gave up his five loaves and two fish when Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 people. These various areas of focus allowed us to begin to understand the whole picture surrounding the sacrament of Communion. Our reading and discussion was summarized through an activity in which we described the “Five W’s” of Communion- Who? What? When? Where? Why? These questions and those written below may be helpful in continuing the conversation at home. 

Guiding Questions for Discussion:
*I wonder how God provided what we needed for Communion since the beginning?
*I wonder why bread is such an important food?
*I wonder why the Old Testament talks so much about sacrifices?
*When we sacrifice, or give up something important, for God, I wonder how it makes him feel? I wonder how it makes us feel? (Teacher might share example here…)
*I wonder how it felt when Jonah sacrificed, or gave up, his bread and fish for the disciples?
*I wonder how it made him feel to see what God could do with his sacrifice?
*I wonder what sacrifice has to do with Communion?

“Dear God, thank you for Communion. Thank you for providing a way for us to come together as a family of believers to remember you and connect with the promise of your salvation. As I think about the mystery of Communion, please help me to better understand the sacrifice that you made for us in your death on the cross. Amen.”