Remembering… every day

a person walks among flag-decorated gravemarkers

On Memorial Day we remember the men and women who died while serving our country. We also reminisce about lost family members and friends.We gather together, decorate graves, salute flags, and attend parades—a worthwhile day of tribute, a day of telling stories about service and honor and good deeds.

Where it falls on the calendar in the northern hemisphere, Memorial Day also signifies the start of summer. Sunny skies, picnics and vacations; more great memories in the making!

All this brings to mind other observances we need to recognize.

Remembering stories of God with us.

Brooklyn Museum - The Pilgrims of Emmaus on the Road (Les pèlerins d'Emmaüs en chemin) - James Tissot

Our children need to hear our stories of God walking beside us.

Our children need to be reminded of times when God walked with them.

In a recent Rotation from Luke 24:13-35, we heard Cleopas and his traveling companion reflect on their trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus, when they realized that Jesus had been with them!
Open quote markBack and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”
Luke 24:32

We need to offer opportunities for our kids to join the “fellowship of the burning heart.”

Let this Memorial Day be the start of an every-day-sort-of-thing: tell remember-when stories about times when Jesus was with you.

  • The time the car broke down the night before the big trip (rather than on the road).
  • An out of the blue, call from a friend when you needed to hear from someone just at that moment.
  • A sunny day after so many grey, dreary ones.
  • Hearing a Bible verse that was just what was needed.
  • The list goes on and on!

What are your God-with-you stories?


A Journey of (Strangely Warmed) Hearts

This weekend treat your kids to a peek at their potential future self.

the youth perform a skit during Youth Worship 2013
A scene from last year’s Youth Worship service

We won’t be holding Workshops this weekend for grades 1-6, so that our children can learn from an able group of mentors in grades 7-12. Invite them to attend the Youth-led worship service on Saturday at Green Wood and/or downtown on Sunday.

Tell them to listen for some journey stories.

How about a little preparatory discussion prior to worship? Note: Print out just the discussion questions from this Google Doc.

  • the cover of the book We're Going on a Bear Hunt

    Introduce the concept of a journey by starting off with a dinner table game! Use the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to pretend to go on a hunting journey – wading through tall grass, splashing through a river and squelching through mud, in search of a bear. (This is one of those stories where you can add your own adventure to your trip. See this version.)

  • Ask: What is a journey? What are some long trips that you can recall making?
  • Life can be described as a journey — we each travel a path that sometimes is straight and smooth, and sometimes windy and twisty. What are some stopping points that you’ve experienced in your life journey? (Adults: Describe some of these too-young-to-remember points for your kids such as their first birthday, or their first step or their first day of school.)
  • What faith steps have you encountered in your life path? (Adults: now is the time for you to share moments of doubt in God and times of questioning, as well as mountain-top experiences.)
  • The Bible seems to have many stories of journeys. What are some that you can think of?

This is where you can refer to our just-finished Rotation on the Walk to Emmaus! Ask your child(ren) to re-tell the story from Luke 24:13-35.

  • Why do you suppose Jesus didn’t reveal himself earlier in their journey?
  • What were they doing when they finally recognized Jesus? (hint: verse 30)
  • On our “bear hunt” would it have been as fun if we’d just gone straight to the bear’s cave and skipped the tall grass and the mud and the river? (No, probably not!) All of the parts of the journey were important. They all contributed to our experience.
  • It probably took some leading-up-to-it-time for the two disciples eyes to be “opened.” At what point in our Bible story do the disciples realize what this was?

They said to each other, “He talked with us on the road. He opened the Scriptures to us. Weren’t our hearts burning inside us during that time?” Luke 24:32

At youth worship do you suppose you’ll hear or see any burning heart stories?
And when you come back to discuss your take on Youth Worship, ask…

What burning heart stories did you hear?

a blue line

Photo credits:
Photo by Richard Rupp. Used with permission.

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Where will Jesus show up today?

They didn’t expect to see Jesus. So they didn’t notice?
Just like I almost missed seeing the Dutchman’s Breeches.

A wild flower known as Dutchman's Breeches

There they were! At the edge of the walkway. How long had they been out?

How had I missed seeing them?

Dutchman’s Breeches are a tiny, early spring flower, getting their apt name from their appearance: petite, white, hanging-upside-down, pantaloons strung on an invisible clothesline. I hadn’t expected to see them yet. (Spring is rather slow in coming to these parts.)

Where will Jesus show up for you today?

The same sort of abrupt awareness came to the two disciples who were traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They hardly noticed that an individual had joined their journey. They were so caught up in their grief-filled discussion over the death of Jesus, their expected rescuer. They didn’t realize that Jesus was walking besides them!

These Dutchman’s Breeches stir up deep connections for me. Do you treasure your grandmother’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies? Do stories gush forth when the making of those cookies happens? The emergence of wild flowers does it for me. Memories flow.

My Aunt Doris brought me a Dutchman’s Breeches plant from her garden many years ago. I recall her bending to the soil to poke them into earth. Doris has since gone on to her heavenly home. Seeing the delicate white flowers brings to mind Doris and her love of Jesus. The way she so readily and passionately shared her faith!

A wild flower known as Dutchman's Breeches

What reminders of Jesus’ love are you almost missing today?

Keep watch! Jesus is closer than you think!

Photo credits… Photos are copyright and are from my archives.

A Walk to Emmaus – workshops we used

What happens after Easter? Have you put away your Easter finery and settled in to wait (some more) for spring? Here is something to think about while you wait, something that relates to our current Rotation

a tiny window in a wall looks out over a field, while asking the question: Did we catch a glimpse

Those will be questions we’ll be asking over the course of our Rotation on The Walk To Emmaus. Read about our story in Luke 24:13-35.

Here is what each workshop covered for our Rotation on this story:

    A scene from the Jesus in Space CD - building the Walk to Emmaus story on Ice Moon Alpha
  • In the Computer/Video Workshop students will see a unique rendition of our story performed by snow people! Using the computer game Jesus in Space, they’ll encounter Captain Paul Hammer, Lt. Stu Dent, and Shelbot, the Overly Brainy Robot, on a space mission to Ice Moon Alpha. How will they teach the story to these aliens?
  • In the Cooking Workshop students will create “Resurrection Rolls” – a classic treat with a disappearing center that reminds us even though we know something is there, we may not always be able to “see” it.
  • In the Newsroom Workshop students will experience the story by producing, watching, and discussing a news broadcast in which Cleopas and his friend describe their encounter with Jesus on their walk to Emmaus.
  • In the Science Workshop, through demos and hands-on activities, kids explore the concept of how they view the world around them. Discuss how we “see” or recognizing Jesus.
  • In the Storytelling Workshop we’ll hear from three storytellers: one of the women who saw the risen Christ at the tomb, and two excited travelers.

Our Cool Disciples experience Rotation Model Christian education, as they learn about Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops. If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI.