This past weekend our storyteller Donna shared the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane and his arrest and betrayal by his disciple Judas (Luke 22:39-44 and John 18:2-11). The bottom line was that to put others first, you need to put God first. The thing that always strikes me most about Jesus in this story is how completely human he was, that he could be, in a sense, "conflicted". Our human nature is to shy away from pain and to lean towards self-preservation. But here we see Jesus, in light of his human nature making the wise choice. The most wise and loving choice he could make, in order to redeem his creation and restore the potential for relationship with us.
Aria and I have been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible before bed each night. I have been SO impacted by the way this book is written for children, but some of the language and phrasing causes me to stop and reflect on the God I know, and challenges me to stretch my understanding of God's love for me. Here's an excerpt from Psalm 23:
God is my Shepherd
And I am his little lamb.
He feeds me
He guides me
He looks after me.
I have everything I need.
Inside, my heart is very quiet.
As quiet as lying down in soft green grass
In a meadow
By a little stream.
Even when I walk through
the dark, scary, lonely places
I won't be afraid
Because my Shepherd knows where I am.
He is here with me
He keeps me safe
He rescues me
He makes me strong
He is getting wonderful things ready for me
Especially for me
Everything I ever dreamed of!
He fills my heart so full of happiness
I can't hold it all inside.
Wherever I go I know
God's Never Stopping
Never Giving Up
Always and Forever
Will go, too!
The family activity for this week will help to build anticipation as we continue to head towards Easter. This idea is adapted from Mustard Seeds Blog. Check it out for step by step pictures and more info.
Hill of Calvary
Note: It's best to start your Hill of Calvary at least 2 weeks before Easter.
You Will Need:
- Potting Soil or Jiffy Mix
- A few small rocks
- 10 inch terra cotta dish
- 4 inch terra cotta pot
- 4 inch terra cotta dish
- Grass seed or wheatberries (make sure they are organic and untreated) for the grass.
- A good spray bottle
- Sticks (for crosses)
- Hot glue gun
- Raffia and purple ribbon (optional)
Step 1: Lay the 4 inch pot on its side in the 10 inch dish. Use smallish rocks to hold the pot in place.
Step 2: Pour in a small layer of gravel for drainage.
Step 3: Make mud! The best way to apply the soil/dirt is by first making mud in a separate container.
Step 4: Take handfuls of the mud and pack it all around the pot and in the dish. You will want to create a nice rounded hill.
Step 5: Spread a thick layer of seed over the ENTIRE soil area. You may have to kind of push it into the soil a bit on the steep sides. This is very important: Don't be stingy with the seed. If you want nice, dense grass, the seed needs to completely cover the surface of the soil. (Don't just sprinkle it.)
Step 6: Cover seed with a very thin layer of your mud mixture.
Step 7: Bring your dish garden inside and put it in warm sunlight. The terra cotta is porous so it's going to leak some moisture. Put a tray, plate, etc. underneath it.
Step 8: WATER! For the first 3-4 days you will need to spray and water your hill three times per day. Before the seeds take root, the soil will run off pretty easily...(think erosion) so at first you will mainly need to rely on using a spray bottle to irrigate...
Once the grass takes root and matures, you'll be able to slowly drizzle water on it, without losing your hill.
Step 9: Watch it grow! Within 2 days you will probably see small white roots shooting out.
Step 10: Make three crosses out of collected sticks. Use hot glue to connect the sticks and then wrap raffia around to secure it and hide glue. Note that the grass will grow faster and higher than you think. Make your crosses a little bit "jumbo" sized because they will need to be nestled down in the grass and yet, you still want to be able to see them.
Step 11: The grass will be fully mature by day 7...and from then on out, you will be amazed at how fast it shoots up. Get out our scissors and give it a mow.
- As you work on creating the project, watering, etc. talk about the Easter story with your child.
- On Good Friday, wrap up a clothespin in white cloth and lay it in the tomb (Jesus).
- On the Eve of Easter, remove the clothespin, leave the cloth and leave the tomb open for your child to discover first thing on Sunday morning.
- The path to the cross was paved by my sins. Put these rocks in the tomb...to once again die...with Christ. "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." Romans 4:25