Grace and peace to you and your families.
I pray that each one of you is well this Lenten season. Every day, we are turning back to God, strengthening our relationship with God and neighbor, and getting ready for the mystery of Easter. From the time this newsletter is sent, we will have 33 more days to get ready. Have you and your family chosen a Lenten practice to try together? It is not too late! Need ideas? Check out these Lenten Devotionals and Resources.
Included in this newsletter are ways for you and your family to celebrate Easter together. May you be filled with joy and peace during this holy season.
Do not forget: Share your thoughts, prayers, and wonderings on our Family Faith Formation Facebook page and connect with us on Twitter via #famfaithform. Together, we can support one another on this journey. You will find additional resources on our new Family Faith Formation pages too!
Grace & Peace,
Symbol to Look for: Rocks
Rocks remind us of the stone that was rolled away on Easter morning, inviting us to see that Jesus is not dead. Indeed, he is alive and with us wherever we go. When you see a rock, stop and take time to talk to God: ”God, thank you for Jesus and for your love. Help me share your love with _______________.”
Virtue to Practice: Kindness
- How has someone else made you feel loved? Think about a time someone was kind to you and made you feel loved. Who was this person? What did he or she do? Kindness helps us feel and share God’s love with others. This is the work God calls us to do.
- How will you show kindness to others? Think about how you want to share God’s love with others. To whom do you need to show kindness? How can you show them God’s love?
- Journal: When you experience God’s love, it is important to write it down, take a picture, or draw your experience on paper. This helps us remember God’s love over and over again. When you are sad, you can go back to your journal and remember what it feels like to experience God’s love.
- Share: Tell your family and friends when you experience kindness and when you practice being kind. Share your story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #famfaithform.
- Scripture: Read John 20:1-18 together
- Recommended Book: From a Deep Blue Night to a Bright Morning Light (An Easter Story) by Daphna Flagel. Hardcover book with DVD or Softcover book
- I wonder, “What is your favorite part of this story?"
- How Did, "How Did you experience God in this story?"
- I wonder, “What did you learn from this story?"
- I wonder, “What do you wonder about?"
God, we give you thanks because you have done amazing things! Thank you for Jesus, for the gift of Easter, and for your love. Help me trust and follow you. Amen. (adapted from Psalm 118).
Do Holy Work Together
- Loving God: Continue the Lenten practice your family chose last month through Holy Week (ending with Holy Saturday on March 26). Plan to experience Holy Week as a family. Attend Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday services together. Talk about your favorite part of each worship service, share which service you like best and why, pay attention to how you experience God in these services.
- Loving Neighbor (outreach suggestion): Celebrate Easter by creating an Easter basket/gift bag for homeless persons in your community. Include baby wipes, lip balm, lotion, sunscreen, socks, applesauce, pudding cups, trail mix, and beef jerky. Place food and toiletries in separate bags. Place a label on the outside of the gift with a blessing: “God loves you! Happy Easter.” Then provide any information your church or community has on local homeless shelters or places that offer hot meals.
Bless Each Other
(Make the shape of a cross on your family member’s forehead or hand while saying these words)
(Make a vertical line.) God created you.
(Make a horizontal line.) Christ is with you.
(Look your family member in his/her eyes.) The Holy Spirit moves through you.
(Hug your family member.) As you share God's love with the world.
Seasons of Faith by Marcia Joslin Stoner
Knowing about and experiencing each season keeps ever before us God's will for our lives. Celebrating each season brings special joy and meaningful traditions to our lives — no matter what our age. Seasons of Faith contains information, crafts, and activities that will enhance every holiday of the Christian Year. Use Seasons of Faith for additional Sunday school activities with preteens or youth or to develop special seasonal studies for all ages.- Abingdon Press
For more information, visit cokesbury.com
POCKETS IN THE HOME
Here are some ideas for using the March issue of Pockets, on the theme of “Love Your Enemies,” with your family:
- Follow the Lent/Easter prayer calendar (pp. 22-23) throughout the month.
- Check out the strategies on page 7 and talk together about how these might help you when you find someone hard to love. What else helps you love your enemies (or even those you just don’t like)?
- Use the “How Do You Deal with Bullying?” quiz (pp. 42-43) as a jumping-off point for a family discussion about bullying. Be ready to listen carefully and compassionately as children talk about their own experiences with bullying.
- Make the Easter family worship center (p. 48) and plan to gather around it Easter Sunday and for the week after. Encourage children to use their creativity to make the worship center a joyous place.
For more information about using this issue, visit pockets.org.
FEEDBACK CORNER: WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
"Every morning on the way to school, [my] boys have always alternated prayers. On Monday I added something new just for [my youngest son]. After his brother got out of the car, I started repeating the Lord's Prayer. [My youngest son] said nothing. He just sat quietly looking about. The look on his face said it all: What is Mama doing now?
"I've done it every day this week.
"Well, this morning his behavior was [beyond] acceptable. After his brother got out of the car, I began to pray, but silently. Suddenly I heard him praying the Lord's Prayer out loud. It worked. He realized the importance of needing God at that moment and could pray for help. I was leaping for joy on the inside to know he's getting it: God is with you always and waits to hear from you."
-Mama Peaches, Arkansas Conference
Have an exciting faith story to tell? Do you have a family faith practice you want to share? Let us know! E-mail us and maybe your story will appear in the next issue of the newsletter.