Faith at Home- Narrative Lectionary

Just as Hope4ce offers Revised Common Lectionary related at-home activities, we want to provide a similar resource for congregations that follow the Narrative Lectionary. From the Working Preacher site, “The Narrative Lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. On the Sundays from September through May each year the texts follow the sweep of the biblical story, from Creation through the early Christian church.

The texts show the breadth and variety of voices within Scripture. They invite people to hear the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the prophets, Jesus, and Paul. Listening to the many different voices within Scripture enriches preaching and the life of faith.”

Here is a resource for PENTECOST Sunday, when we celebrate the birth of the Church. Subsequent Narrative Lectionary helps will be uploaded to the Hope4CE Facebook Group every two weeks or you can receive them via email by filling out the contact page on this site.

ACTS 2:1-21: Pentecost

This dramatic narrative offers so many opportunities to step into the story:

The power of the wind that swept the Holy Spirit into the room.

  • If you have a portable fan, bring it into your midst and turn it on to “high.” If you have red ribbon, tissue paper or crepe streamers, you can enact the flames of fire as someone reads the Bible story.

The miracle of multiple languages being spoken, as each person hears others in his language.

  • Search on the internet for some common phrases in 1 or 2 foreign languages and practice speaking them. Keep this up through the week and see how much people recall by the end of the week. Can you say “hello” to each other In different languages?

The sudden holy boldness of Peter. Starting at verse 14, we encounter Peter addressing a crowd of thousands.

  • Take turns surrounding each family member and see how many different affirmations/encouragement you all can offer. in other words, play the part of the Holy Spirit!

1 CORINTHIANS 12:1-13  Spiritual gifts

“There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit…”

  • Talk about how a gift is different from a talent. Name people you know whose gifts enrich your own/your family’s life

“…A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good…”

  • Discuss how our spiritual gifts help us to know God

“…All these things are produced by the one and same Spirit who gives what he wants to each person…”

  • Name what you think might be each other’s spiritual gifts. What named gifts surprise you?

 JOHN 20:19-23  Jesus appears to the disciples

“…Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit…”

  • Look up these Bible verses to see how they set the stage for the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Early Church:
  • The Baptizer introduced Jesus in (John 1:33)
  • Jesus talks about his ability to give the Holy Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34).
  • Jesus promises “rivers of living water (John 7:38-39).
  • Jesus talks about the coming “Advocate”(John 14:16-17).
  • The Holy Spirit is sent by The Father, (John14:26; 16:13).
  • It is the Spirit, whom Jesus sends “from the Father,” (John 15:26-27).
  • This Spirit glorifies Jesus (John 16:14).
  • The Spirit can “prove the world wrong” (John 16:8-11).
  • Consider drawing simple pictures to illustrate these passages. If you have a larger piece of paper, divide it into sections and illustrate all the passages together. Perhaps each person contributes 1 or 2 pictures. OR perhaps you discuss the picture idea first.

Roberta L’Esperance Schlechter CCE, Retired Christian Educator and Member of the Hope4CE Steering Committee, Portland OR

Image in the banner of this post is by the German artist Geralt (Gerd Altmann) whose works are available for download on Pixabay

Family Trivia Night

Zoom fatigue anyone? Yeah, me too. I realized it finally when I had a youth meeting and only my kids showed up because I made them. We are forgetting time and what used to be a normal schedule and routine. In many ways I am ok with this, except it is 11 am here on a “school day” in North Carolina and I have yet to see a child emerge from their bedroom.

My children and youth families I am sure are feeling the same. We have been picking back up with attendance to meetings now that school has gotten organized, but one thing that has never dropped off is our family trivia night. Every Friday at 7, I lock myself in a room in my house so my husband and kids can participate while I facilitate. Our church families log on to a Zoom meeting and talk a little trash while I play a little Yacht Rock to get them pumped up for competition.

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What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You

“What you don’t know won’t hurt you” is an old idiom that many of us have heard over the years. It essentially means that if you do not know about a problem or a misdeed, you do not have to worry about it, feel responsible for it, or get upset about it. In essence, if we can’t see it, can’t feel it, can’t hear it, or can’t touch it, then it won’t hurt us. The unknown becomes our safe haven as we choose not to engage that which is powerfully present.

And yet, at the dawning of this new decade, who would have thought that we would be faced with this unknown force called COVID-19? This invisible force is something that we cannot make tangible with our senses but it is changing the way we do life. It is changing people. Continue reading

Is VBS to be part of your RE-ENTRY?

In 2020, being an “experienced” Vacation Bible School (VBS) staff or volunteer won’t automatically get you very far, at least not on the programmatic side. Nationally, Christian Educators are seeking out ‘bridge options’ to serve children and families during this between-time. They are choosing a creative mix of the virtual and the mundane. Some can be integrated into a unique, perhaps one-time (perhaps not) VBS venue. Examples include: creating short video clips via LOOM, a “daily bread dinner” story and cooking project, Godly Play sessions via Zoom, adapting an Easter “Ring-and-Run,” “Flat Jesus” narratives, or a Zoom game or art night.

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Youth Ministry in a Pandemic

No one knows how to do ministry in a pandemic. This is all so difficult. My Presbyterian Youth Workers Association (PYWA) colleagues and I worked with the Office of Faith Formation to help provide some support to youth workers through some Quicksheets. The Quicksheet, “Stay Home, Stay Connected” gives youth workers some ideas about how to use our gifts of support and connection virtually as we do ministry in the midst of a pandemic. We are all doing our best and trying new things.

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Let’s seize upon social distancing to build a virtual bridge (via Zoom) between our children/families and church staff, along with congregants known to have a special skill or hobby, or just a love for children. Beyond your church resources, many curriculum partners now offer FREE online “pandemic” materials (see attached). The Zoom platform is user-friendly and we all know techie folks. Our work is to coordinate these virtual partners.

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