I had the pleasure of telling this story twice this week: once to the adults at our prayer time and once at our Familienbrunch (Family Brunch) with the children and their parents. Though it may seem like we are getting ahead of ourselves with Lent, we are discussing it early since most of the meetings in our church plant are bi-weekly and we won't meet again until after Ash Wednesday. And once again, Godly Play proved to be just as thought-provoking for the adults as for the children.
The beautiful story emphasizes the need to prepare for the joy of Easter by taking the time to ponder our own shortcomings and the price that Jesus paid to reconcile us to the Father. It acknowledges the difficult questions surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. It also speaks of the sustaining joy that can come from experiencing a period of mourning followed by a period of great happiness. This contrast is part of the ebb and flow of walking with God, and understanding this is crucial to our spiritual journey in this life. My favorite part of the story is when I turn the purple bag containing the puzzle pieces inside out to reveal a pure white lining. Jesus changes us from the inside out.
Below the children are putting the puzzle pieces together to reveal a purple cross. Interestingly enough, they put it together facing me instead of themselves, so I had to turn it around. Also, I had to laugh when one of the parents mentioned that the center piece looks like a bat, which, of course, it does!
For the creative phase this week, I chose to have the children do a directed project. We made the prayer pots from my previous post on Lent with a few minor adjustments. This art project is great way for families to pray together during Lent and help children with ideas of what to pray for. We used natural clay that is already prepared. (Regular clay is difficult in my setting, because of the time factor required to soften it, and little hands get very frustrated if it is too hard.) Taking a cue from the Naturkinder, I collected wood from trimmed hedges in a park to use as decorations for the pots. I also added wooden beads, but in retrospect, this was not a good idea. If I hadn't used the beads, the children would have been keen to use more of the wood.
|Wood, beads and clay.|
Below are the objects I used for our prayer pots:
- a red heart to remind us of God's love for us
- a bean to remind us that we grow in our relationship to Him
- an almond to remind us that God is patient with us and that we should be patient with others.
- a piece of bread to remind us to share with others
- a band-aid to remind us to help those who are sad or hurt
- a piece of purple felt to remind us that Jesus is our king
- a stone to remind us of the empty tomb and that Jesus is with us
I changed some of the objects from the original idea for both aesthetic and linguistic reasons. I prefer to use natural or organic objects whenever possible. Also, the idea of using a rubber band to remind us that God stretches his patience with us doesn't work in German, because patience can't be stretched.: )
At the end, the children packed their objects and the instructions in a small bag. If anyone is interested in my German translation of the instructions (what to place in the pot on each Sunday of Lent and what to pray), please e-mail me and I will be happy to share.
Making the pots:
Some of the finished projects:
Have a great week!