Monday, April 4, 2011

Faithful Families Resources April 4th 2011

Weekly Inspiration

The question for the child is not "Do I want to be good?" but "Whom do I want to be like?"

-  Bruno Bettelheim


With your family read John 11.1-7, 17- 45: Jesus and Lazarus

(The lectionary readings for Lent are very long, especially for very young children -  the whole reading is John 11.1-45 – if you want to read the whole passage with your family  it can easily be broken into three episodes  - 11.1-16, 11.17-37, 38-45)

Questions for Discussion: 
  • How long had Lazarus been in the tomb for when Jesus arrived?
  • Why didn’t the people want to roll away Lazarus’s tomb stone?
  • What did Jesus do before he called out Lazarus?
  • How did Mary and Martha react differently when Jesus arrived? 

Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “I wonders” that emerge from the story. (I wonder how Lazarus felt coming back from the dead? I wonder why Jesus raised Lazarus?)

A few years ago in America, a letter appeared in a national newspaper that was sent to a dead person by the Department of Social Services. It read: "Your food stamps will be stopped in March because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."

Prayer and Celebration

Ball Prayers
Use a small ball to throw around to different family members. The person who throws the ball begins the prayer. “Thank you God for…” and throws it to someone who then finishes the prayer with one or two words…” eg. Family, rain, happiness. Keep throwing it around for as long as you can.

Thanking God often, and naming all the things we have to be thankful for is, I believe, one of the most important Christian prayer habits we can develop, especially in a consumerist society that encourages us to focus on what we don’t have as opposed to the abundance we have been given by God.


Start a mini project with your family to discover the local charities or service organisations in your neighbourhood or local area. Find out what they do, who they help and how people can contribute to them in terms of service or goods.

Encourage your family to go without a particular treat for a week or a month. Save the money you would have spent and donate it to a charity that you have discovered.

With your family donate some things you no longer need to a local charity such as LifeLine or Salvation Army. Encourage your children to think about what toys or clothes they no longer use that they might give away. Talk to them about how some children have no toys.

Family Closeness
One way to develop family closeness is to have an intentional family night. A pattern may be used such as this:

Story with Discussion/Questions

Using the resources provided above and below would enable you to have a family night once a week.


Trust Walk:Blind fold members of your family and lead them around the house or the garden. Ask questions such as: What does this feel like? What kind of music comes to mind now? What does this remind you of? Do you feel safe?
Smell – collect some interesting smelling things from around the kitchen, see if your family can guess what they are.Taste – same again using different flavours.Touch – gather a variety of common objects from around the home and see if your family members can guess what they are by feeling them. Sound – do the same with a variety of sounds. If you have a tape recorder, record sounds from around the home.

Face Pass: Sit in a position so all can see each other. Make a strange or funny face and turn to the person on your right. The person you turned to carefully copies your face, then slowly changes his or her expression to make a new face which s/he passes on to the person on his or her right. And so on around the circle 

These questions are to stimulate a sense of openness, sharing and discovery about your family. The key is to listen!! 
  • What is one thing you don’t think you could live without? Why?
  • If you could only take three things to a desert island what would they be?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
  • What does it mean to adore something?
  • Do you remember a time when someone praised you for something you did? what did it feel like? did you like it? What are some of the words that might express praise? 

Bonus Family Activity

This week work on building a meal time pattern with your family. More than anything else this is about making meal times a special time. This might include turning the TV off and turning on the music, setting the table with some special things, lighting a candle, sharing a prayer, telling a story. Your family sharing time could be based around the dinner table and include the meal as one of the activities.

I pray you are using some of these resources in your home. Please let us know in the comments section which bits you use and how you use them.
Grace and peace to your family this week.

 Stephen Harrison 

 (This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison & Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) 

 Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

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