This week, our focus is on children and young people: on how Jesus responded to them; on what your experiences of life have been in our parish in the last few months; on what is happening to and for children in the world. It is the end of the summer term and usually the school holidays would feel much different from term time. This year we might have to be organised and use our imagination to make that happen. Try to change your routine at least a little bit so that it feels different while you still follow the guidelines about staying safe.
The Open the Book story this week is called ‘Jesus and the children’. 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 19:13-15, Mark 10: 13-16 or Luke 18: 15-17
The Bible story is very short in each of the Gospels. The Open the Book story helps us to imagine what was happening. Jesus was busy healing sick people – those who couldn’t see, couldn’t move or couldn’t hear. The disciples were trying to organise the crowd around him and making judgements about who was the most important or the most in need. Jesus tells them off and again reminds them and us that everyone is important to him, no matter how old or young they are and no matter what they need. Jesus loves everyone equally and he encourages everyone to come to him.
In the Open the Book story, there is also a different way that people couldn’t see, couldn’t move or couldn’t hear – because of the crowd! How can we help ourselves and people around us to see what a difference being a Christian makes, move forward in faith and hear more about God and Jesus?
In the Service on Sunday, Reverend Mary and Reverend Yvonne had a conversation about what was good and what was bad in our lives over the past few months. They put some flags on a washing line when they decided. We can try to do the same with things that have been happening for you as young people. We have put some ideas to think about here but you can add your own ideas too. If you didn’t manage to connect with the service, have a look to see their conversation as well (the conversation starts at about 20 minutes 45 seconds into the service). Do you agree with what they decided?
There are Christians in every country in the world. In some countries they are free, like us, to worship and talk about their faith. In others, there are many risks to being a Christian but they still worship and work to bring knowledge about God and Jesus to others.
Make a chain of people to help you to remember children who have not yet been able to know about God. Either fold a piece of paper in a concertina and use the folds to connect the people, or cut out individual shapes and attach them afterwards. Choose some countries to think about, find out what the flags of the countries look like and draw one on each person to represent that country.
An idea for prayer this week:
I ask that you protect and encourage those who are finding out about you for the first time, that they can have good role models to follow and that they can be free to learn more. Amen.
We hope to still be here over the holidays if you would like to join us.
Alison and Angie