Sunday 21 February
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been looking at Songs of Joy in the Psalms – specifically singing for joy and sharing the joy. This week, our focus is on living with joy.
I was reading this morning about the overview effect – the intense emotions and awareness that astronauts experience because of their unique perspective of the earth from space. It can be so overwhelming that some have built ‘awe-time’ into their schedule. Before they start work, they take some timeout to absorb their surroundings.
I think this is a great reminder to us that we should regularly take the time to stop and take in our surroundings, and to appreciate anew the wonder of creation.
This week, schedule some ‘awe time’ as a family.
- Look at your own yard with a fresh perspective, go for a walk together or climb a mountain!
- Find a leaf, flower, gumnut, or something else that displays natural beauty. Hold it quietly and allow wonder and gratitude to stir.
- Take a photo and share it with someone you love. (Feel free to also post here, so other families can be inspired.)
- Thank God for his creation.
Appreciating our surroundings and acknowledging God as the creator of all helps us live with his joy.
Lent is the six-week period leading up to Easter. It starts on Ash Wednesday (17 Feb this year). It is a time of reflection and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
From the perspective of anyone who does not know the whole story of Jesus, particularly children, it may seem like we have only just celebrated the birth of a newborn baby and next thing they know, that baby has grown into an adult and is being killed!
So, it’s important to help kids transition from Christmas to Easter during this period.
As a family, you may like:
- The Lent Family Selfie Scavenger Hunt we introduced last year. Each week there is a reading and task to help you engage with Christ while spending quality time together as a family. Find the weekly posts here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7.
- Family Devotions: The daily Lent Family Devotion Guide used in conjunction with the Jesus Storybook Bible is ideal for younger families, or the weekly Preparing for Easter: A Family Lenten Devotional from Kids Corner, is suitable for families with Primary aged kids.
- Fasting (give something up) during Lent. Explain to kids that giving something up for Lent can help us focus and depend more on God. It’s a way of saying ‘Jesus, you fulfil my needs better than this thing’. It can also give us an appreciation for all God has given us. Choose things to give up that make an impact but are age appropriate for your child – giving up junk food for six weeks may be manageable; no screen time for six weeks … probably not! Perhaps try giving up different things for different length periods – no dessert for a week, no electronics / complaining for a day. Remember, Lent does not include Sundays, so give yourself a break each week and give thanks.
- Instead of, or as well as fasting, you could ‘Take something up’. What practices would be helpful to you as a family? Depending on your current routine, you could commit to praying and reading the bible more regularly together, keep a prayer diary so that you can look back and see how God has answered prayer, intentionally observe the Sabbath as a family, or begin volunteering as a family.
- Giving is also a focus of Lent, so if giving regularly to the work of the church is not part of your current practice, it’s a great time to consider committing to that discipline as a family. If you’ve fasted from something that has a monetary cost, consider making a donation to a charity close to your family’s heart.
As you observe Lent, talk to your kids about why you are doing these things and discuss what it has been like: Has it been hard? Have you missed the thing you’ve given up? What is God teaching you through it? What have you learnt about God?
Before attending St John’s Kids this weekend, if you haven’t already completed a Registration Form this year, please do so here to ensure our records are up to date. We are encouraging the use of hand sanitiser, so note on the form if your child(ren) has experienced a reaction.
Updated COVID restrictions limit outdoor gatherings to 20. So, the Church Picnic that was going to be held this weekend is postponed. Stay tuned for a new date as soon as we are able to meet!
Have a great week!
Kylie – Children & Families’ Minister