Thursday, October 22, 2020

Family Faith Seeds: Democracy—All Folks are Created Equal Week of October 25th, 2020

I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Sarah's sermon and the scripture from the service.

Sacred Texts
  • A Portion of the Declaration of Independence
    • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [humans] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    • I’m also including the School House Rock Video we’ll watch during Virtual Sunday School.
  • Genesis 1: 27
    • So God created humankind[a] in [God’s] image, in the image of God [we are created];[b]
Questions and Family Wonderings Based on Above Readings

  • Are all humans treated like we are created equal?
    • If you answered yes, why do you think?
    • If you answered no, why do you think?
  • What is an example of where you have seen someone being treated unfairly?
  • Why are some people treated unfairly while others seems to get treated better?

Thoughts from the Director of Faith Formation

I really like Richard Rohr.  He says that we are all born with divine DNA.  And, I believe that!  And, it’s the reason why I get really disturbed by unfair treatment of folks who do not fit into dominant western culture.  Folks like, queer communities, POC, disabled communities, and immigrants, to name a few.

And, this is in part due to laws that exist.  If all folks are created equal, and we are all entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, why is that so impossible for some?  In order for this to really be the case, we have to let our voices be heard when we see injustices.  We have to teach our children to do the same.  And, we have to find effect ways of doing that.

Democracy — Raising our Voices of Faith

One way we can make sure our voices are heard is through writing letters to our elected officials.  It is their job to represent us.  We love writing letters to our elected officials at Mayflower!  Usually, the immigration team will have a letter neatly created for us, so all we have to do is sign it, and address to our representative.  

I wonder what kind of letter your family would write if you didn’t have one neatly prepared for you?  What issue would you want to address?  What would you want to see changed about that issue?  Why is this issue important to you?

Your family is invited to write a letter to your representatives, thinking about the questions above.  You can click here for an example of a draft letter.  And, I’d love to see your letter if you don’t mind sharing it with me.  I may even print them off and send them to my representatives.

Additional Resource

There are lots of things you can do as a family to live out your faith values through justice.  If the above activity doesn’t hit the spot for you, that’s OK!!  Check out this website that offers a ton of great resources.







Friday, October 9, 2020

Family Faith Seeds: Let Us Pray Week of October 11th, 2020

I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Reverend Christian Briones’ sermon and the scripture from the service.

Scripture

Romans 8: 26- 27
  • (NRSV) 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes[a] with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God,[b] who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit[c] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.[d]
  • (Message) 26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
  • (Spark) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Questions and Family Wonderings Based on Above Bible Story

  • Is there a “right” way to pray, do you think? 
  • What noises do you make when you can’t find your words? (We all do this!!  I know I do!)
  • When you think of the word Spirit, what comes to your mind?

Thoughts from the Director of Faith Formation

When we think of prayer, we think of eyes closed, hands met at the center of our chest, maybe our heads bowed slightly, and words.  Lots and lots of words.  Yes.  That is one way to pray.

Sometimes, we don’t have words though.  Or, we can’t think of the words.  Or, we’re like, “this thing that our world needs is beyond words.”  Prayer isn’t just words.  Prayer can be our thoughts and dreams made flesh, or putting our hearts into action, following God’s will as well as we can.

Prayer can be our protest, our songs, our food donations, our financial contributions, our tears of frustration, our laughter and joy.  We can live prayerfully in a state of communication with the Divine through how we live, and not just what we say when our eyes are closed, heads bowed, and hands met.  Though, there is a lot of solace in praying that way too!

Really, there is no right or wrong way to pray!  And, I can tell you from personal experience, I’ve prayed all the above ways and more.

Spiritual Food — A Family Activity: Let Us Pray

Supplies Needed:
  • An open heart
  • Piece of paper
  • Writing utensil
  • All willing family participants
Do you pray as a family? Like, the word kind of prayer. If not, would you like to?  How about creating a family prayer together?  Something that y’all say together at meal time, or the start of the day, or at the end of day just before story time or bed time.

Creating a prayer can be as simple as this, “Dearest God, thank you for the day.  Amen.”  And, it can be more personalized too. Maybe you would like to have a kind of gratitude prayer to end the day off together.  Or, maybe a hopeful prayer for the start of the day.

You can for sure find prayers in books.  And, I encourage you to write your own prayer as a family.  It could even be a new family tradition you start.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Family Faith Seeds: Spiritual Food Week of October 4th, 2020

I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Reverend Christian Briones’ sermon and the scripture from the service.

Scripture


Questions and Family Wonderings Based on Above Bible Story

Why were thousands of people listening to Jesus?
What do you think God’s dream is?
How did all those people eat?

Thoughts from the Director of Faith Formation

“With God’s love, five loaves and two small fish fed more than five thousand people.”  We hear in this story today that because of a little boy who offered five loaves and two small fish, a super-duper giant crowd was able to eat.

I wonder about this.  I wonder about the giving and humble child in this story as being an example to others.  I wonder how many other people also came forward to offer what they had, in order to share with those of the crowd who had nothing to eat.  I wonder how we spread around what we have so that others may experience joy and abundance.

Do I think that this story is a kind of miracle?  For sure!  But not because Jesus turned five loaves and two fish into enough to feed thousands of people.  It is a miracle because one tiny child was so inspired by hearing about God’s dream that day, that this child was moved to share what they had so that others may have too.  And, that one child perhaps inspired many others to do so too.  Sharing is a miracle.  Inspiring others to give joyfully and abundantly is a miracle.

This story is more than just sharing food.  It’s about making sure we all know there is more than enough.

Spiritual Food — A Family Activity: Mosaic Art to Share Outdoors



Supplies Needed:
Painter’s tape
Sidewalk Chalk

Sharing food is one way to give abundantly.  Another way is through art.  Art can bring joy, and also inspire us to be our best.  Joy and inspiration is more like spiritual food!  I wonder how you can bring joy and inspire folks to be their best through creating chalk art outdoors.  See the picture below for one example.

The cool thing about mosaic art is that when one of these shapes is all by itself, it’s just one shape.  But, when one shape is with another shape with another shape, it creates something really beautiful and inspiring.

When planning your chalk art, think about these questions when deciding what to draw/write:
What message do we want to send in our art?
What symbol do we want to use to send that message?
Or, do we what to write in order to spread our message of joy and abundance, or whatever your message is?


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Family Faith Seeds-- Make a Plan. Stick to It: Week of September 27th, 2020

I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Eli’jah’s sermon and the scripture from the service.

Scripture

Acts 1: 1- 5
  • (NRSV): The Promise of the Holy Spirit— 1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying[a] with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
  • (Message): To the Ends of the World— 1 1-5 Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
  • Spark Bible: Click here!  
Questions and Family Wonderings Based on Above Scripture
  • I wonder who Theopholis is.
  • What do you think it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?
  • What do you know about your baptism, if you have been baptized?


Thoughts from the Director of Faith Formation

Really, the message for this Sunday isn’t just about these first five verses of Acts.  It’s really about the whole books of Acts.  Acts is full of challenges and adventures of what the followers of Jesus did to make “church” happen during the earliest days of Christianity.  They were doing a new thing during a time when some folks didn’t want a new thing.  A new thing means that it would challenge the old things, and put those old things in danger.  The old thing I’m thinking of here is Roman rule, or as we commonly refer to it, “the Empire.”  

This is not so different from what we are having to do right now with church.  We are having to do a new thing that we don’t always want to do.  But, we have to do it to keep each other safe and healthy and to keep going as a community of faith.  So, I wonder how we do that.

Healthy Giving/ Receiving — Make a Plan.  Stick to It.

  • Let’s start with a prayer (from Prayers for Faithful Families by Traci Smith)
    • God, we have a decision to make as a family.  Please help us as we think about our choices and try to choose the best one for our family.  Help us listen to each other and listen to your voice.  Amen.
  • Making a Family Faith Plan.  What things will you do together and also separately to grow your faith during these pandemic times?  Below is a list things to consider. 
    • Family Activities:  
      • Attend Livestream church together on Sunday mornings at 11 am.
      • Go for a walk in nature, thinking about and talking about the Sunday service theme(s) that you picked up on.
      • Pray together at meals.
      • Talk together each day about where you each saw God in your day.  This could be a meals or before bedtime, or another time.
      • Keep a family prayer journal, where you list folks, places, and institutions you are all keeping your prayers.
      • Make joyful art outside your home to remind your neighbors that joy is alive, even now.
    • Singular Activities:
      • Regularly attend an adult, children, or youth faith formation program, such as: Sunday school, continuing adult ed, centering prayer, one of Mayflower’s ministry teams, Youth Group, Confirmation, 8th or Grade Transitions.
      • Do random acts of kindness.  Shhhh.  Don’t tell anyone!  It’ll be between you and God!
      • Pray upon waking.  Invite God into your day.
      • Pick up a new hobby.  Hobbies can help us take time for ourselves.
    • Write down your plan and place it somewhere you can all see it.  Check-in with one another about how you are doing with your faith growth!
    • Let’s end with a prayer (from the same book as the first prayer):
      • Peace, peace, peace, peace in our hearts, peace. Peace when we wake, peace when we sleep, peace shining bright in our lives.  Amen.
 



Saturday, September 12, 2020

Family Faith Seeds: Learning about Land-- Week of September 13th, 2020

I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Reverend Christian Briones’ sermon and the scripture from the service.

 

Readings

 

Jeremiah 32: https://www.mayflowermpls.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Jeremiah-32-Spark.pdf

 

Here We Are By, Oliver Jeffers: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PVkCm8qOvlHg5GPjLrEPjh_64iASkQdB/view?usp=sharing

 

 

Questions and Family Wonderings Based on Above Readings

 

  • Jeremiah

o   Who is Jeremiah?

o   Where is he?

o   Why is he there?

o   Jeremiah bought something.  What did he buy?

o   Why is what he bought important to the story?

o   Where is God in this story?

 

·      Here We Are

o   Have you ever thought about how big the world is?

o   Have you ever thought about how big the universe is?!?

o   I wonder if you’ve ever thought about what the land that your home is on looked like 100 years ago.  Or, 500 years ago.  Or, 1000 years ago!

§  Do you think it looked the same?  Different?  If different, how so?

o   Have you ever been to another country?  Would you like to go to another country someday?  If so, which one?

§  Do you think that country will be like this country that we live in?

 

Thoughts from the Director of Faith Formation

 

Land is such an important thing!  It is in the Bible and it is in our lives today.  In the scripture, Jeremiah buys land and gives it away.  And that, along with his thoughts, causes a problem!  In the children’s book, we learn that there is so much land and to be careful because, there is a lot of it, it can’t be replaced! Land is special, sacred, limited, and deserves respect.  And, if you own land or occupy land, that comes with power and responsibility.

 

The land we inhabit today wasn’t always just like it is right now.  The choices we make effects the land we live on.  Knowing about the land we inhabit is also super important.  Our lands’ history can help us understand how we can better respect that land today.

 

Land Learning — A Family Activity

 

We have a really cool resource I’d like to share with you.  It’s a project called “Mapping Prejudice.”  It is a map and collections of stories that explains our land, Minneapolis, and surrounding land in relation to racial injustice and a chronology of who’s land this was and when.  You are invited to look at the website as a family, and then I’ve picked out a story for you to read together, but please feel free to pick your own stories to read too.

 

·      Mapping Prejudice Website: https://www.mappingprejudice.org/index.html

 

·      Story: https://www.mappingprejudice.org/stories/burkes-nfa/index.html

 

·      Things to wonder about and investigate this week:

o   I wonder what the history of the land that my home is on, is.

o   Do I live in a neighborhood that has a racial covenant?

o   What is a project me and my family can do this week to take care of our land?

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Family Faith Seeds: Healthy Giving-- Week of September 6th, 2020


 

I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Reverend Christian Briones’ sermon and the scripture from the service.

 

Scripture

 

Mark 12: 41- 44

·      (NRSV): The Widow’s Offering: 41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

·      (Message): 41-44 Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.”

·      (CEB): A poor widow’s contribution: 41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny.[a] 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”

·      (ICB): 41 Jesus sat near the Temple money box where people put their gifts. He watched the people put in their money. Many rich people gave large sums of money. 42 Then a poor widow came and gave two very small copper coins. These coins were not worth even a penny. 43 Jesus called his followers to him. He said, “I tell you the truth. This poor widow gave only two small coins. But she really gave more than all those rich people. 44 The rich have plenty; they gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor. But she gave all she had. And she needed that money to help her live.”

 

Questions and Family Wonderings Based on Above Scripture

 

  • Who are the different people in this story?
  • Where are they?
  • What are they doing?
  • Why are they doing what they are doing?
  • Do you think that an offering given is any better or worse than the other offerings?
  • I wonder why it is important to be a giver.
  • I wonder if there is an appropriate time not to give, give less, or give in other ways besides money.

 

Thoughts from the Director of Faith Formation

 

As Christians at Mayflower, we focus a lot on giving.  Giving money.  Giving time.  Giving other resources.  We give all these things in order to help bring about God’s dream of justice on earth.  We give because climate change is real.  We give because black lives matter.  We give because we believe in immigration justice.  We give because trans lives are sacred lives too.  And, there are so many other reasons why we give.

 

Have you ever felt though, that we give so much that our spiritual cup gets too empty?  Or, our financial cup, especially during these pandemic times?  When is it OK to take a step back for a moment and focus on our spiritual relationships to these things?

 

There is a great saying that I try to always remember, “in case of a emergency, put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.”  We can’t give the best of ourselves if we are not able to spiritually or physically.

 

It’s great to give of our time, talent, and treasures for sure.  It’s also great to have a balance in life.  If we give so much that there is nothing left, and we are feeling stressed out, tired, and not sure why we are doing what we are doing anymore, that is something to pay attention to! 

 

Taking time to pray, sleep, eat well, laugh, dance like no one is looking, and just play is also so so good.  And, it’s OK to do these things in balance with giving of yourself to others and to the earth.  When we can find a balance, our ability to share might just increase.

 

Healthy Giving/ Receiving — A Family Activity

 

Many of us have items in our pantries that have been there for a while!  I know that I do!  I always say, “I’ll use this for ___________, so I’ll just keep it for a little while longer.”  And then, I never make that new recipe!

 

And, some of us may need items in our pantry, but may not know how to go about doing that.  I mean, you probably know where the food pantries are, but it can be really hard sometimes to bring yourself to accepting help.  This activity is for both those who have extra, and those that need something.

 

Giving and receiving both have faith implications involved.  How do we give and/or receive faithfully?  How do we give and/or receive as a family? 

 

·      Have a conversation about it.  What is a way we could be helpful without giving too much?  Or, why is it totally OK and normal to need help, especially during this pandemic time?

·      Choose a place to give or receive.  Mayflower is faith partners with VEAP and would love if you gave to this organization.  And, it’s ok to encourage your family to research other ones too.  Feel free to visit VEAP’s website for more information.

·      Before you go, say a prayer!  Saying a prayer is a great way to tie your actions to faith.  A prayer can also be a verbal recognition of the prayers we do with our bodies, like being healthy givers and/or receivers.  Here is a simple prayer that may work for you.  But, always feel free to make up your own prayer as a family if you would like to, too!!

o   For the food we eat and the love we share, we thank you, God. (Smith, Traci. Prayers for Faithful Families. Beaming Books, MN. Pg. 16)

Friday, August 21, 2020

Family Faith Seeds: We Are Children of God Through Faith, Week of August 23rd, 2020

 I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Rev. Dr. Anita Bradshaw’s sermon and the scripture from the service. 

 

Scripture

 

Galatians 3: 26 and 28

 

·      (NRSV): 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.  28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

 

·      (Message): 25-27 But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.

 

·      (CEB): 26 You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Family Wonderings Based on Above Scripture

 

  • Who are children of God?
  • What makes someone a child of God?
  • Do you think that us all being one means that we are all the same?
    • Or maybe it means we all have one goal?
    • Or maybe we all have a similar outlook?
    • Or maybe we share a similar path?
    • Or maybe something else?
  • We talk about faith a lot.  I wonder what that is.

 

Thoughts from the Director of Faith Formation

 

Our scripture today offers a lot of different things to think about!  Let’s focus on a couple of things for now.  First faith.  It’s a small word with lots of ways we can think about it.   One way to think about having faith in God is that we trust God with anything.  And, having faith in God doesn’t necessarily mean that when we trust God with all of our challenges, hopes, and dreams that God will make things turn out exactly like we want them to.  Sometimes having faith in God means that when bad things happen, we trust in God to help give us the strength to pull through that bad thing.  And, we know that God doesn’t cause bad things to happen right?  But, God can help us pull through the bad stuff, whether the outcome we were hoping for happens or not.

 

Another thing we can focus on in this scripture is the part about no longer being one thing or another, like male or female.  Let’s remember being different is good!  It’s beautiful!  And, it’s super-human!  This scripture doesn’t mean that once we have faith in God that all of our differences disappear.  It means that we have a big thing in common and a way to work together through our differences.  When we have faith in God, we can come together, despite our differences and work together to spread God’s love.

 

What Makes Us Different?  A Social Activity for Kids

This activity is from thatafterschoollife.com. It’s a great activity for children of all ages and provides a space for dialogue about what makes us different.

·      https://thatafterschoollife.com/what-makes-different.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=935302136_41224344_483284

 

Family Faith Seeds: Democracy—All Folks are Created Equal Week of October 25th, 2020

I hope you find this to be a great faith activity for the whole family of all ages. This week’s theme is based on Sarah's sermon and the...