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Reflections | Activities
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A Way in the Wilderness
Weekly Activities for the Lenten Season
- ASH WEDNESDAY
- First Sunday of Lent
- Second Sunday of Lent
- Third Sunday of Lent
- Fourth Sunday of Lent
- Fifth Sunday of Lent
- Sixth Sunday of Lent/ Palm/Passion Sunday
- HOLY WEEK AND EASTER SUNDAY
- About the author
To Fast or Not to Fast
MATERIALS NEEDED: Bibles, pencils, paper
Read the passage together, or ask a good reader to read aloud while others follow in their Bibles. Work with the passage as if you were a committee asked to make a dramatic presentation of this scripture. List the principle characters and the groups that take part. Are any spoken lines for the play provided? Write down the words that are given for certain characters and for any groups.
Do you see any connection between the account of the feast at Levi's house and the questions about fasting that are raised in verses 33-35?
Temptations in the Wilderness
MATERIALS NEEDED: Bibles; index cards, pencils, crayons or markers, paper
Sometime before the session write the following "temptations" on separate index cards.
TEMPTATION 1: Imagine you are a newspaper reporter recording the first temptation: to turn stones into bread. On your reporter's pad, write down the exact words of Jesus.
Why do you think Jesus did not follow the Devil's suggestion to get free bread to eat when he was so hungry?
TEMPTATION 2: Imagine that you are part of a TV camera crew who follows Jesus to the overlook from which can be seen "all the kingdoms of the world." You are hoping to get a story about the popular itinerant preacher for the evening news. Unfortunately the cameras malfunction in that high altitude and you must make a quick sketch of the Devil showing Jesus the panorama of the kingdoms. Along with the sketch, you make notes on the conversation between the Devil and Jesus. Be careful to note exact quotes for the news story.
Why do you think Jesus did not follow the Devil's suggestions even though having such wealth and power would have enabled him to do a lot of good?
TEMPTATION 3: Imagine you are the president of a large advertising firm. You overhear Satan trying to convince Jesus to advertise God's kingdom by performing stunts. What would you advise Jesus? What would he say in response?
Why do you think Jesus refused to jump off the steeple of the temple even though this stunt was far more daring than hang gliding and would undoubtedly attract followers?
As you begin the session, ask a good reader to read Luke 4:1-3 aloud while the other members of the group follow in their Bibles.
Divide into three smaller groups. Give each group one of the index cards. If there are only three participants, assign one temptation to each. Encourage the group members to follow the directions on their cards and to discuss the questions provided. Gather to share your findings if time allows.
The Wings of the Savior
MATERIALS NEEDED: Bibles, newspapers, magazines, paper, markers
Encourage the members of the group to cut out articles or draw pictures of things that make them feel afraid. Ask each person to describe her/his picture or article.
Ask a good reader to read aloud the Bible passage for this week. Discuss: What makes you feel safe? locked doors? barred windows? military might? prayer? Jesus? How can you allow Jesus to gather you and all of Jerusalem, Toronto, Chicago and your town under his wings?
Getting One's Own House in Order
MATERIALS NEEDED: Bibles, paper, markers
Ask a good reader to read this passage aloud. What was the first tragedy described here? What did Jesus say about it? Do you see two sentences that are exactly alike? Let the group read the repeat sentence out loud together.
Set out paper and markers. Invite each member of the group to draw a picture of a "U-Turn" highway sign. Have each write on his/her sign "U-Turn Permitted." Talk about how "repentance" is like making a U-turn, changing from one direction to the opposite direction. Ask participants to consider U-turns they think other people should make. Then, invite them to write down some of the U-turns they have made or would like to make. After they have had an opportunity to write, they may or may not share what they have written. Talk about why it is hard to make these U-turns. Is it easier to see the U-turns others should make than those we should make ourselves?
Who God Is and Who We Are
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
MATERIALS NEEDED: Several photocopies of the scripture passages, pencils and/or highlighters
Plan a choral reading of this passage of scripture. In a choral reading, a group presents written words by using speaking voices rather than singing voices like a choir. Special effects are achieved by solo voices and group voices, moving from a soft part to a loud crescendo and even by whispering. Usually the choral readers stand together like a choir. Reading in this manner will give a new, clearer meaning to this familiar passage.
As you decide how to break down the passage into parts, assign those parts to the different participants. Perhaps you will want the whole group to read the narrator parts, with individuals assigned to read specific lines in the story. Use pencils or highlighters to mark on the photocopies the different reading parts. Speakers might include: Pharisees, younger son, father and older son. For verses 25 through 32, you might decide to divide the group with half reading the words of the father and half reading the words of the older son. Use your imagination! There is no right or wrong way to do this.
After you have planned the choral reading, stand and present it. Perhaps you can find another household or group to be the audience.
The Time for Perfume
MATERIALS NEEDED: Bibles, paper, pencils, markers, crayons
Read the passage together in whatever way you choose. Be sure to read slowly and carefully. Discuss the passage briefly. When did this incident occur? Where? Who was present? Talk about what Jesus meant by his response to Judas in verses 7 and 8.
Working individually, let each member choose paper and writing or drawing implements. Ask each one to draw this event which happened at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Participants might also choose to write a poem about the event. Some might like to try haiku poetry. One stanza of haiku includes three lines: the first line with five syllables, the second with seven, and the third with five. This kind of exercise forces the writer to express her/his thoughts in just a few words. For example,
What would I have thought
That night Ma-ry bought per-fume
To an-oint his feet?
Confronting the Powers
MATERIALS NEEDED: Bible, paper, pencil, large piece of felt (about 12" by 30"), smaller pieces of felt in contrasting colors (about 6" by 6"), glue or needle and thread, fringe, 32" dowel, cord
As the group gathers, ask each one to open to the Bible passage and think about what symbols would be good to represent Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Take a few minutes to discuss making a banner. As possible symbols are suggested, one member of the group should keep a list.
Using the list of suggestions, make symbols out of the small felt pieces. Attach the symbols to the felt banner with glue or needle and thread. When the banner is complete, ask one of the adults to stitch a pocket at the top for a dowel to which a cord can be affixed for hanging. If you wish, add fringe at the bottom.
Hang your banner in front of the group. Read Luke 19:28-40 together as you look at your banner.
The Third Day
MATERIALS NEEDED: Bibles, large piece of newsprint or poster board, markers
Ask a good reader to read aloud the Bible passage for this day. Ask one person to draw a picture of a road on the newsprint or poster board. As a group, look through the scripture readings and/or the reflections and find the stories you learned about Jesus this lenten season. For example, on Ash Wednesday we learned of the story of Jesus eating with the outcasts. One person should write the stories along the road picture on the poster board or newsprint.
Once finished with the "road timeline," think of ways you are each called to live as Jesus did. Write down some of your stories along the road timeline.
Heidi K. Roy has served on the staff of Alternatives.
Grace Walker Winn is a long-time supporter of Alternatives.
©Creative Commons (originally Alternatives).
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