Dear NYAPC Families, Teachers and Friends,
Here is what is coming up for worship play, gathering time, and children’s/ youth Sunday School for this upcoming Sunday, March 6, the 4th Sunday of Lent. If you have any questions, concerns or want to chat, please email Alice at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week Pastor Roger will be preaching on The Story of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15:11-32. We will be focusing on that story too. The take away message is even when we stray away from God and make really big mistakes, when we ask for God’s forgiveness, God will always love us and welcome us back.
We will read the story out of the Desmond Tutu Storybook Bible. After that, we will act out the story and then read some related books from from the library:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak From Storypath at Union Seminary in Richmond: (the take away point in both descriptions below are in bold)
“In Where the Wild Things Are, Max misbehaves and is sent to his room, where he decides to run away from his mother and escape to where the “wild things” are. But after awhile he misses his mother, and so, he sets sail, and returns to her, “who loves him best of all”. Jesus tells a similar story about a son who runs away from his father, to his own kinds of wild living. He, too, eventually, misses his father and returns, hoping for merely being allowed to enter, and instead is shown overwhelming love, and forgiveness. Like the story of Max, who misbehaved and ran away, Jesus didn’t tell stories about perfect people who never mess up. Instead, he told stories about people who made mistakes, but were always loved and welcomed back and forgiven. As his people, we, too, make mistakes, but like Max’s return to the one who loved him best of all, and the prodigal’s return to his loving father, we are always loved and forgiven.”
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes: From Storypath at Union Seminary in Richmond:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways”, says the Lord to Isaiah. But even as God is higher than the earth, God’s ways above human ways, God’s thoughts not our thoughts, God does not ignore the world. God cares for the people, and provides water for the thirsty, food for the hungry, and good things for everyone.
In The Little Gardener, a tiny man works to care for his garden, but he is too little to do all the work, and only one flower blossoms. He wishes for help, and as he sleeps, a giant girl comes along, admires his flower and helps tend his garden, which begins to flourish. The little gardener needed help from someone bigger than he, and because of someone who was bigger and could do the work he couldn’t, he had a wonderful garden in which to live. We, too, need help from someone bigger than we, and God, whose ways are higher than our ways, provides us with help, good things, and an everlasting covenant.”
And just for fun and sort of related (all about running away and coming back), we may also read Edmond Unravels by Andrew Kolb, Vera Runs Away by Vera Rosenberry and Harry and the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion (about a dog who runs away and gets dirty.)
We’re brought the WORMS to children’s time and to worship play, so this week, the worms will make their debut to Gathering Time.
Last week, for the 3rd week of Lent, our object for the Lenten Boxes/Jars was a rubber band. The question to discuss for the week is “How is God Stretching you?”
In sort of a strange way, I think God has been using the worm-compost bin to stretch me (and possibly our kiddos too) about our deep connections to all of creation. I reflect on the theology of worm composting here.
So, we will do a bit of a worm-demonstration, and learn about the worms and their life-process through the book Yucky Worms by Vivian Finch.
For this 4th week of Lent, our object for our Lenten Jars/ Boxes will be a marble. When playing with marbles, it is most fun to work together and to take turns. The marble is to remind us that Jesus tells us to share with others. How is God calling you to toward sharing?
Children’s and Youth Sunday School:
PreK: Jesus Calms the Waters
K-4: Palm Sunday from Luke 19: 28-40. If you want to watch the video ahead of time, you can find it here. This week, we will begin our 3 week series leading up to Easter. March 6 will focus on Palm Sunday; March 13 on Maundy Thursday and March 20 on Easter. We are skipping Good Friday because the video seemed a little scary, but we would love for your feedback about this sequence for future years.
Middle and High School: Meeting about potential summer trips for 2016 and a possible Cuba trip for very late 2016 or the summer of 2017. These options include for 2016 a trip to Broadstreet Ministry in Philadelphia, a stay at the Pilgrimage in Washington DC or a 3 day period of service based here at NYAPC. For very later 2016 or the summer of 2017, we will discuss a youth+family+adult trip to visit our partner church, the First Reformed Church of Havana Cuba.