This week our theme is friendship. We have all been missing contact with friends over the past few months and are looking forward to catching up with them when we can.
If you have managed to keep in touch with your friends, that's great, but remember that has not been possible for everyone and that we will need to be patient with ourselves and each other when we get back together more regularly.
We will also need to help those who have not found it easy to keep in touch so that they feel accepted and cared for..
The Open the Book story this week is called ‘Down through the roof'. You can listen to Reverend Mary reading. If you would like to read the story for yourself in your Bible, you should look at Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12 or Luke 5: 17-26.
The Open the Book stories are usually told from one person's point of view.
This time it was a girl in the crowd inside the house. This makes us think about the other people that were there and what their view of the things that happened would be.
There were lots of other people there when Jesus healed this man. What might they have been thinking and feeling? What about the person who owned the house – how would they react to a gaping hole in the roof? What about the friends of the man – how did they make their decisions? What about the disciples – did they try to protect Jesus from the crowds? What about the man himself – was he willing to go along and did he believe he would be healed?
You could choose one of these people to think about; you could make a spider diagram with sections for each one of the people; or you could draw a cartoon of your ideas.
Carrying people is quite difficult. Those who work in the emergency services and those who volunteer in Mountain Rescue teams are trained to do it safely. The people in the team have to trust each other and work together to rescue injured people. The person being carried has to trust the team as well.
The man in the story must have trusted his friends to be carried by them and they had to work together to carry him. The friends trusted that all they had to do was bring the man to Jesus and he would be healed. What do we trust Jesus to do for us and for our friends? We know that, unlike people, Jesus will never let us down and that we can trust him completely.
We don't know what the mat was like that the friends lowered the man through the roof on but it was probably made of rope. Use string and macramé skills to make a small version. There are easy to follow instructions here. Where will you hang your hammock and what will you keep in it?
Friends don't only give you someone to have fun with, they also: make you feel part of a group; boost your happiness and reduce your stress; improve your self-confidence; help you through bad times.
The sheet shows you some different sorts of friends that we can all have. Think about your friends and try to fit them into the sections (they might go in the overlaps).
An idea for prayer this week:
I thank you for my wonderful friends. I ask that you would watch over them and bless them. I trust that you will protect and hold them when life is hard. Help me to be a good friend to them.
Look after yourselves and try to let one of your friends know how much you appreciate them.
Alison and Angie