Aaron Jenkyn of Epiphany & St Andrew’s Episcopal in Newport, NH
Messy Adventure #2: Rainbow Connections
Four months have passed since March when Covid-19 first emerged and we all began the days of staying home. We are more mobile now, but for some of us, especially those that work in schools or churches, when we change our calendar in a few days, we will be tearing off the untouched pages from spring and early summer. Some days it feels as if time has stayed still, but for most of us this has been a turbulent time of isolation and uncertainty and not knowing when things would end.
During these days of uncertainty I have been thinking a lot about the story of Noah in the days after the flood when he was waiting for the waters to go down. Most of you will know this story. A very long time ago God saw all the violence and pain and hatred of the world and groaned in sorrow. So God made a plan and whispered it to Noah, and Noah and his family built an ark and they filled it with the animals of every kind and seeds of every kind and plants and trees. And then the rains started and didn’t stop until creation was undone. Noah and his wife and the animals were safe in the Ark, safe but afraid because the world they knew was gone. This whole time Noah and his family had to wait, even after the rain stopped falling they waited, sending out birds to fly over the earth looking for dry land, unsure of what would happen next.
I wonder how Noah and his family spent their time inside the ark? I wonder what they were thinking, what they were saying to God? I wonder if they thought about where God was and what God was doing. I wonder how many times they cried out “how long”?
We know the ending to this story, we know that a dove brought back an olive branch and that branch gave Noah and his family hope. We know that when Noah and his wife finally came off the ark that they built an altar and offered gifts of thanksgiving to God. And we know that God looked upon them and promised, never again to destroy life in this way. And as a sign of that special promise, of that covenant, God stretched a rainbow across the sky.
In our own lives this story encourages us to not despair, reminding us to look for the way through the situation, no mater how desperate, to a resurrection truth. We see God wherever we see light and hope during worrying times, and rainbows are a symbol of that hope. I wonder where you might be seeing rainbows these days, where do you see hope?
In the past few months people all around the world have decorated their houses and storefronts with rainbows to thank the doctors and nurses and front-line workers who are working tirelessly to help those in need and keep our communities running. Thousands of people have started sewing masks, delivered meals, and found ways to connect with their neighbors. The outpouring of love and support that we have seen locally and globally brings me hope. We haven’t quite found dry land yet, but the rainbows still stand, and if you open your eyes and your hearts you will see them everywhere.
Read the Story
Before you go Read the Story of Noah and the Flood:
Pay special attention to chapter 8, the time he spends waiting for the waters to recede.
This adventure can be done in your own backyard, at the park, in the woods, even in the city, I suspect you will be surprised at all the colors around you, when you take the time to stop and notice. You could even repeat this activity over and over and have an entirely different experience just by changing up your scenery.
Pick up a scavenger hunt kit at Epiphany or St. Andrew’s churches, kits are located in bin outside the front door, or you can make your own using a recycled egg carton. Collect found objects, from nature or man made to match each color in your carton. Once you have collected all the colors, sort them into a rainbow on a large piece of white paper.
Activity #2: Write a Rainbow Poem or Prayer
Once all the rainbows have been formed and you’ve had a chance to look at them, write a poem or a prayer about the colors, objects, or experience related to your rainbow. Feel free to write your own poem in whatever form or style you would like, or you can use the simile poetry template included with this activity.
Activity #3: Write a story
Write a story about a time that you saw a real rainbow and share it with your Messy Friends.
Bonus Activity: Fun with Food
Bake rainbow cookies, or create a rainbow themed fruit plate to snack on while you explore. Learn more Here.
Thank you Aaron and the Messy Folk of Epiphany and St Andrew’s for sharing this great On-Line Messy Church Experience. If you use these ideas, be sure to tag Epiphany and St Andrews Facebook Page.
Congratulations to Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, our August Messy Church of the Month!
We are excited to announce our first ever Messy Church of the Month! Drum roll please…. Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Jennifer May, a lay member of the church who also teaches in the local school, led a small team in starting their Messy Church in March of 2018. Jennifer describes their church as a small rural community in which her school age children are some of the only children in attendance on Sunday morning. Thanks Jennifer for answering our questions so that we can learn more about your Messy Church! We are so glad that Freysville Emmanuel UCC reaching out to their community to share God’s love!
Messy Folk answers to “What I like about Messy Church?”
“I like all the stations, and the dinners are pretty good too!”
“Getting the parachute out inside the church at the beginning!”
“I like that it allows the gifts & talents of many people to shine.”
“It gives my child the opportunity to learn about Christ in a warm, loving community where being themselves is celebrated.”
Some Favorite Messy Activities
Example # 1: Jesus, We Thank You:
Instructions:Have every person who is at Messy Church find a spot around the parachute. The leader starts the prayer and invites anyone standing around the parachute to call out something they are thankful for. After someone calls out, then the whole group raises the parachute up and chants “Jesus We Thank You!” as it gently comes back down.
Example # 2 Snowball Prayer:
Instructions: As everyone arrives, have them write or draw a picture of a joy, prayer, concern in 3 or fewer words onto a piece of white paper, crumple it into a loose “snow” ball and place it into a laundry basket. Have every person who is at Messy Church find a spot around the parachute. The leader dumps all the snowball prayers into the middle of the parachute. Direct the group to gently shake the parachute enough to mix up all the snowballs. Then on the count of 3, the whole group pulls the parachute slowly down to the floor and then quickly yanks the parachute back up into the air above their heads to make it “snow”! The snowballs are flying all over the place! Everyone collects one snowball and then takes a seat on the floor around the parachute. One at a time, each person reads what is written on the snowball as a large group prayer.
More Favorite Messy Activities!
Messy Church ThanksGIVING:
Each November, our Messy Church service is a night of us giving instead of taking home crafts. We go home with empty hands but full hearts! Members from the church’s Sunday morning congregation sponsor and donate 12-15 “fleece blanket kits” purchased from a local fabric store. We come together with scissors and templates and spend the night cutting and looping the blankets to donate to our area chapter of Project Linus.
Project Linus is a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. The blankets are lovingly made by adults and children from all walks of life. Project Linus has specific directions on how to make blankets and what types they are allowed to accept on their website. https://www.projectlinus.org/
This is an evening where all hands, young and old, are needed!
Each year for the Lenten Season, we set up a station where families can work together to create their own Resurrection Garden. They take it home to water and watch it grow every day for 40 days.
Materials Needed:Materials needed:8 in clay saucers, 3 in clay pots, potting soil, grass seed, craft stones, craft moss, 3 inch rocks flat circular shape work best, 4 inch stick crosses tied with twine (See Pictures below)
What worked well for you in getting the support of your Sunday Church when you started Messy Church?
Educating the congregation on the mission of Messy Church as well as the history, where and why it began and how it is meeting the needs of families and individuals in communities all over the world who for whatever reason, cannot or do not attend traditional Sunday Morning church services.
Share a challenge you’ve had with your Messy Church and strategies you used to meet the challenge.
Getting volunteers can be a challenge. So, I approached individuals in our Sunday congregation and personally asked them if they could volunteer. After their first experience, those individuals looked forward to volunteering each month! Most often, a personal invitation is all people need.
How has your Messy Church adapted during the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Our last in person Messy Church was Friday, March 13th. We were excited to kick off our 3rd year as a Messy Church! Little did we know, our messy togetherness would be put on hold for a little while. For the month of April, we put out a “Messy Church At Home” edition. We posted the theme and station material lists prior to the event so that families could plan ahead of time how they would do this in their own homes. Then, the day of our Messy Church, we posted an interactive Google Slideshow for families to work through at their own pace. The slides included a prerecorded welcome message, the story/scripture lesson, closing prayer, and a slide of directions for each station/activity. We had a few of our Messy Church families try it out! We took the month of May off and now are planning a “Messy Church in Bag” for the end of Summer.
Thanks Jennifer for sharing your Messy Church story! To learn more about Emmanuel UCC you can contact Jennifer email@example.com
A Great Idea from Aaron Jenkyn, Epiphany Episcopal, Newport, NH
When churches closed in March our Messy Church family stayed in touch with each other via e-mail, snail mail and on Facebook but we never really found a way to connect as a group. As we began to discuss reopening, we began to think creatively about how Messy Church might be able to meet outdoors. Living in the beautiful state of New Hampshire where there are many treasured outdoor spaces to explore, it seemed only natural to share these places and experiences with our Messy Church families. People can choose to do these activities on their own, with their families, or in small groups, however they feel most comfortable. Some of these activities will be destinations, others will be activity based and can be done closer to home.
For each adventure we will offer activities, a reflection and a biblical story or theme to ground the experience. We are leaving room to let this program be shaped by the community. Our hope is that in time we will partner with Messy Church families to create these adventures, and that others will join in by posting their pictures on Facebook, creating a sort of hybrid Messy Church experience.
Stay tuned to see where the journey takes us, you can follow along on the Facebook page for Epiphany or St Andrews.
Messy Adventure# 1 is based on this verse from Isaiah 40: 31:“those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,they shall mount up with wings like eagles,they shall run and not be weary,they shall walk and not faint.”
Even though my youngest son is a young adult, one of our favorite summer activities is roasting hot-dogs over a campfire and enjoying S’more’s together. So I was excited when I came across a post from Christine V. Hides and the idea of a family prayer based S’more ingredients. Check it out here.
Have you prayed with a beach ball before? You may not be able to get together in person to play this but you could use these different examples via on-line or perhaps you can find some beach balls at a dollar store and print out the prayer to send in a take home bag to your Messy Folk. Here are a few Beach Ball Prayers:
Due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the Messy Church USA Board of Directors have decided to postpone the Celebrate the Mess National Conference for one year. We are so grateful that both Lucy Moore and Stephen Fischbacher are both available to be with us on our new dates of October 21-23, 2021. We will continue to use the same location for the 2021 conference at Northfield Community Church in the greater Chicago area.
Although we will need to wait one more year to all gather, we are in process of planning an ‘on-line’ celebration this fall. As a new expression of church, Messy Church is primed to continue to innovate to share the love of Christ with all-ages…certainly something to CELEBRATE! Stay Tuned for more information.
If you have already registered for the 2020 event, you will be contacted regarding your registration. If you made hotel reservations, please move forward with cancelling them. We will put up our registration for the 2021 conference after January 2021. Contact Roberta Egli with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As per the previous blog post, while sitting in our respective home offices, many people journeyed around the world on a Messy Adventure on May 21st. This fifteen-hour YouTube live event was the brainstorm of Messy Church founder, Lucy Moore. Messy Church USA collaborators provided two one-hour sessions for the world event.
Our second one-hour session explored a few of the many teachings from what is known as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ from Matthew 5-8. We began by taking a hike with Jim and his dog Milo to the mountains surrounding Palmdale, CA. Jim shared some background on this important teaching of Jesus before he showed us the lights that began to shine brighter after the sunset.
We explored sharing the light of Christ through pictures, a science experiment, hearing the scripture in another hike in Texas, a story around the campfire and learning the art of making cards to share with others. We also explored ways in which people are reaching out to others during the Pandemic to share Christ’s light. We ended our session with the prayer that Jesus taught his followers on the hillside shared from around the world.
Below is the outline for the Messy Session. The link for the video follows the outline. Be sure to also check out the bonus video from Community UMC that we did not get into our session due to a oops glitch.
Jesus journeys to a hillside to teach Messy Adventure
Theme: Share the Light of Christ
Scripture: Matthew 5: 1,14-16 (NRSV)
“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them…You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.”
Hike with Jim and Milo
Science Experiment with Light
Video Montage -Where have you seen Light of Christ during the Pandemic?
While sitting in our respective home offices, many people journeyed around the world on a Messy Adventure on May 21st. This fifteen-hour YouTube live event was the brainstorm of Messy Church founder, Lucy Moore. Messy Church USA collaborators provided two one-hour sessions for the world event. Our first session was filled with stories and activities focused on baptism.
In remembrance of Jesus baptism in the Jordan, Messy Church USA virtually traveled from coast to coast as we explored stories from various waterways. We began at the James River in Virginia with Cindy Banek taking us to the water’s edge and then sharing a number of shell craft messy activities. Next, we went to the Mighty Mississippi as Jillian Mayer from Illinois led us in a breath prayer as we gazed at the Mississippi flowing past the majestic St. Louis Arch. Roberta Egli then introduced the Willamette river that flows south to north in Oregon. WE then headed to the California coast line of the Pacific Ocean as Marty Drake and Leyla Wagner shared the scripture through sand art.
the outline for the Jesus Journeys to the Jordan Messy Church Session if below and a link to the video follows the outline.
Theme: Come to the Water
Scripture: Mark 1: 9-11
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you, I am well pleased’”
St James River and Shell Craft Activity
Prayer at the Mighty Mississippi
A song by the Willamette
Scripture at the Pacific Ocean
A Messy Science Water activity
Renewal of Baptism Celebration
Messy Church Adventure USA Collaborators: Cindy Banek(VA), Marty Drake(CA), Roberta Egli(OR), Crystal Goetz(WA), Jillian Mayer(IL), Johannah Myers(SC),Jenna Reinke(TX), Leyla Wagner(CA) and Jim White(CA).
Who’s in need of a “Mini Mess”? I know I am! Lately it seems that every blog I write, I go into hoping it will be the last one I write about the quarantine. As it stands, it looks as though staying home may be in the cards for all of us for a bit. Yes, they are slowly adding new phases to get us back to normal, but to protect those in our family and communities, the majority of us are hunkering down and staying put. With Pentecost fast approaching, I felt like it was the right time to send home another Messy Church plan to keep us in good spirits.
For those who don’t know the story, here’s a very short summary. Pentecost is the name of a Jewish harvest festival. Just as Easter (in Greek “pascha”) is a holiday derived of an adaptation of the Jewish Passover, so too Pentecost is a Christian holiday derived from the Jewish festival of Shavuot. The Apostles, and other followers of Jesus, were celebrating the Jewish festival in Jerusalem, when they heard the sound of a mighty wind and “tongues of fire” came down on them. Then, the Holy Spirit descended on them. Remarkably, the attendees of the festival found themselves immediately being able to speak in other languages without difficulty. People were no longer separated by language barriers and thus, the gospel was available to the world. No matter your gender, age, or color of skin, every person from every nation on God’s Earth could now know the Lord. Because we were now all one under the Gospel of our Lord, the Pentecost is also referred to the birth of the church. Pentecost, which means fifty, is always fifty days after Easter. This year, we celebrate on May 31. Please use the following “Mini Mess” as a guide to celebrate God’s gift to the world with your family!
There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus
Three Pentecost Crafts
Need: Construction paper, paint, straws.
To recreate the mighty wind the Apostles witnessed, drop small amounts of paint all over your piece of construction paper. Next, use the straw to blow the paint and watch as it creates magnificent patterns. Try blowing from all directions to see what cool new art emerges.
*NOTE– This activity is much more fun if you use many different colors of paint!
**Talk about: What is the strongest wind you’ve ever been in? How did it make you feel? Were you excited? Scared?
Need: Sticks from outside, 24” pieces of ribbon (reds, oranges, yellows, if possible), hot glue gun.
Once you’ve collected the sticks, cut the ribbons to the appropriate sizes. Place a dab of glue at one end of the stick and begin attaching the ribbons (there should be enough room for 6 or 7 pieces depending on the size of your stick). Once you’ve glued the pieces, cut a small portion of ribbon and wrap it around the glued pieces to ensure their security. Place a final dab of glue for the small security ribbon and you are ready! Go outside and run around with the sticks overhead and watch as the wind turns the ribbons into something resembling fire.
**Talk about: What do you think was going through the minds of the Apostles when they saw “tongues of fire” above their heads? Would you have run away or stayed?
Need: Foreign language book or access to internet.
Since the language barrier was broken when the Holy Spirit descended, take some time to learn a phrase in another language. Try and have each family member learn a different phrase in a different language that they can recite and teach each other when you sit down for dinner. We are so fortunate to have access to any language in the world. Let’s take advantage of that access and teach each other!
**Talk about: Of all the beautiful languages found all over the world, what is the one language you wish you were fluid in?
Celebration: You might say the events at the Pentecost was the Holy Spirit’s way of exploding into the entire world. He caused a reaction inside the hearts of people far and wide when He promised His unconditional love to all who follow. A particularly good way of visually showing a reaction is through the use of baking soda and vinegar. When the vinegar touches the baking soda, a mini explosion happens! The soda begins to bubble, grow, and spread. Cover a plate with baking soda and, using a dropper of vinegar, drop small amounts of vinegar around the plate. With each drop, use the opportunity to explain the reaction your heart has because God is a part of you. Pass the dropper around the table and let every family member take a turn. This is a great opportunity to learn all the ways God brings joy to not only our hearts, but those of our family members, on a daily basis. Try to make this more than a celebration. Just because you don’t have baking soda and vinegar out everyday, talking with others about the impact God has on our lives is a great way to get in the habit of a positive and thankful mindset. Try to make it a weekly or even daily discussion!
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we come to you today with exploding hearts of love! We are so thankful for the comfort you provide us with and ask that those who are suffering without you are brought to your light and feel relief. We thank you for you descent so that people all over the world may know your perfect love. We ask for your continued guidance as we navigate the world in such an uncertain time. May you open our eyes and hearts and bring peace upon us. We love you and thank you. In your name we pray, Amen.
Meal Idea: Birthday Cake
Need: Boxed cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, and candles.
Let’s make a birthday cake and celebrate the birth of the Christian church! Make the cake per the instructions on the box, bake, and let cool. Then, decorate using the frosting and sprinkles. Have fun with this! You can even put candles in and sing “happy birthday” to the church if you’d like. Then, cut the cake, serve, and enjoy!
I was hoping that this blog would find you in a position much different than my last one. Unfortunately, the situation with COVID-19 is spreading and most of us are quarantined to our homes. I know it’s a trying time to say the least but I’m hoping that the ability to participate in Messy Church from home is bringing some joy in these uncertain times. With Holy Week fast approaching, I thought it would be a perfect subject for an at home “mini mess”. Holy Week covers the time period between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Below I’ve outlined the seven days that represent Holy Week, what happened, and fitting activities and food ideas to go with them. Please discuss the parts of the story on the coinciding days and then do the craft/activity that follows. I know this is a little different than the way we normally do Messy Church (all in one day) but I’m hoping that stretching it out and having a little bit of mess for seven days straight will really bring families together to understand what happened every day during the Holy Week. I’m praying for the health and safety of our Messy families and keeping my fingers crossed that we can meet, in person, again soon!
Jesus and His disciples make their entrance into Jerusalem. Two of His disciples went ahead of the rest and brought a donkey for Jesus to ride. Jesus is greeted by crowds waving palm branches and exclaiming, “Hosanna to the son of David!”
Scripture: Luke 19: 37-38 “As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. They said, ‘Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.’”
Activity: Palms and Races
Need: Green construction paper, pencil, scissors, glue, Popsicle sticks.
Have each person in your family trace their hand four or five times on the green paper. Using the scissors, cut out the hands. Apply glue to the sticks and arrange the hands (thumbs together) on either side of the stick so they resemble a palm leaf. Once the leaves are finished, set up a start and finish line and divide into teams. Since the palms were laid so Jesus’s feet would not touch the ground, lay the palms, from your team, end to end and try to be the first one across without actually touching the ground. Once you step on a palm, lay another in front. Then, once you step on that one, reach back for the other and, again, place it in front. Keep this going all the way across the finish line!
Prayer:Faithful God, we give you praise this day! The people gathered to surround Jesus with shouts of praise, yet here we are at home to keep our neighbors safe by social distancing. We join our “Hosanna!” with people all over the world you are praising you this day. Be with us as we walk with Jesus during this coming week. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.
Food Idea:Since Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, take the opportunity to try some different foods from that region. Ideas include baklava, hummus, or Israeli salad.
Holy Monday, April 6, 2020
Jesus and His disciples go to Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus is frustrated with how people are treating this worship space. He turns over tables and declares, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.”
Scripture: Luke 19: 45-46 “When Jesus entered the temple, he threw out those who were selling things there. Jesus said to them, “It’s written, my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a hideout for thieves”
Activity: Your House of Prayer
Need: Paper, pencils, tape.
Create your own “house of prayer” by writing down reminders to pray. It can be specific prayers or just to pray in general, but write your thoughts on the paper and tape them up around the house. Mirrors, the refrigerator, the television, and doors are all good reminder places we will see frequently.
Prayer: God of all times, as we walk with Jesus as he walks toward to cross of Good Friday, be present with us in all of the twists and turns of this Holy Week story. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.
Food Idea: Donuts! There is a cute saying that goes, “Donut forget to pray!” Yes, it’s a cute saying but it also has a great message (plus your kids will love the sweet treat!)
Holy Tuesday, April 7, 2020
On this day, we look at the story when Jesus and His disciples come across a fig tree as they walked through the streets of Jerusalem. Jesus used the fig tree to give a lesson about staying persistent when it seems that everything is falling apart. The leaves on the fig tree are beginning to sprout and Jesus tells his followers that it is a sign that the seasons are changing. Jesus then instructs them that when things are changing, they are to stay alert and pray for strength. Our world has changed through the Covid-19 pandemic but we can hear the voice of Jesus telling us to stay alert and to pray for strength.
Scripture: Luke 21: 29-31, 36 “Jesus told them a parable, “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that God’s kingdom is near…Stay alert at all times, praying that you are strong enough to endure everything that is about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man”
Activity: Pay Attention and Pray Need: Pencils, paper.
Take a moment to reflect on what may be causing you anxiety today. Draw a picture or write it down on your paper. As a family, take turns sharing what it is you are feeling. Then as a family pray for strength during this time of uncertainty. Reach out to your Messy Church friends via social media or a phone call and let them know that you are also praying for them.
Prayer: Merciful God, during this time of uncertainty, we remember how Jesus told his disciples to stay alert and to pray for strength. Give us strength and courage this day. Thank you that you are with us in our anxiety and will never leave us alone. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.
Food Idea: Spaghetti! Heat up some spaghetti sauce on the stove and boil the water for noodles. As you wait for the noodles to boil, talk about how we never know the precise moment that the noodles will begin to boil but we know that through the heat, they eventually will boil. Just as we are patient for the noodles to boil, when we pray, we must also practice patience. We can rely on the faithfulness of Jesus to be with us always as we wait for things to fall into place in our lives. Then, mix your spaghetti sauce and noodles together and enjoy your spaghetti!
Holy Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Today we look at the story of one of Jesus’s disciples, Judas, who goes to the religious leaders of the time who are disturbed by the teachings of Jesus and want to silence him by arresting him. Judas asks the religious leaders what they would give him if he helps them follow through with their plan to arrest Jesus. The men count out thirty silver coins and hand them to Judas. From that point on, Judas is looking for a time when he can help the leaders arrest Jesus.
Scripture: Luke 22: 3-6 “Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve. He went out and discussed with the chief priests (religious leaders) and officers of the temple guard how he could hand Jesus over to them. They were delighted and arranged payment for him. Judas agreed and began looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them—a time when the crowds would be absent.”
Activity: Collecting Silver
Need: Thirty pieces of silver.
Collect thirty pieces of silver and decide which organization you’d like to donate to. The silver can include nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, or any other coins of the same color.
Prayer: Forgiving God, there are times in our lives when we turn away from you and do not love others as Jesus teaches us to love. We ask for your forgiveness. Give us the courage to follow the teaching of Jesus to love one another. We thank you for your mercy. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.
Food Idea: Silver dollar pancakes. Mix together your favorite pancake batter and drop small amounts of batter onto the skillet. Cook thoroughly and enjoy!
Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020
On this Holy Thursday, Jesus and his disciples sat down together to celebrate the Passover. This was a special meal meant to remind everyone of how God saved the Israelites and brought them out of Egypt. Before they ate the meal, Jesus knelt down and washed his disciples’ feet. This was something that a servant would normally do and the disciples where shocked! But Jesus told them that they were to love one another like this, by serving one another. We call this day “Maundy” Thursday because “Maundy” means “mandate” – Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another the way Jesus loved them. At the end of the meal, frequently called “The Last Supper”, Jesus took bread and wine, which was tradition at the end of a Jewish meal, and he blessed them and told his followers to remember him whenever they gathered together. Later that Thursday night, Jesus is betrayed by Judas and taken to the house of one of the high priests where they begin to make a case against Him to use in a trial.
Scripture: Luke 22: 14, 19-20 “When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the disciples joined him…After taking bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, he took the cup after the mail and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant which is poured out for you.”
Activity: Cup Decorating
Need: Paper cup, stickers, markers, glitter, etc.
Decorate your paper cup any way you’d like so you can use it with your “last supper” meal.
Prayer: God of mercy, as we prepare this meal, we remember how Jesus told us to remember him whenever we break bread and share a cup with one another. We thank you for Jesus and for his love for us and we remember his teaching us to love one another. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN
Food Idea: Mimic a last supper meal with your own family. So, choose a family favorite meal and use this time to talk about what feelings Jesus might have been experiencing at His own supper. Then, use the unleavened bread (or crackers) and wine (you can also use grape juice) to recreate communion. There are lots of easy unleavened bread recipes online so encourage your kids to help bake as well!
Good Friday, April 10, 2020
Good Friday is, by far, the most somber and arduous day of the Holy Week. On this day, our savior Jesus Christ was wrongfully accused in illegal trials and sentenced to death via crucifixion. He was nailed to a wooden cross and suffered for many hours before His death. Friday evening, Jesus is taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb.
Scripture: Luke 23: 44-46 “It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, ‘Father, into your hands I entrust my life.’ After he said this, he breathed for the last time.”
Place the painter’s tape, in the shape of the cross, at the center of the piece of paper. Then, pick out your favorite colors to paint with. Paint the entire piece of paper (including over the top of the tape) and wait for it to dry. When it has dried, carefully pull the painter’s tape off to reveal a beautiful white cross among your artwork.
Prayer: Be with us this day, O God, as we remember that Jesus died upon a cross many years ago. We are sad yet we know that you are with us no matter how we feel. Thank you that your love for us is stronger than death. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN.
Food Idea: Make a rectangle pan of Rice Krispy Treats and empty it onto a cutting board. Cut the rectangle into a large cross and have fun decorating it with sprinkles and frosting before enjoying the delicious treat!
Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020
This day in the Holy Week is the day Jesus lay in the tomb. While many of his disciples had fled the scene, some of the women who followed Jesus stayed behind. They buried Jesus in a borrowed tomb on Friday before the Sabbath began. The tomb was then sealed tightly and guarded by Roman soldiers. On Saturday we remember how Jesus’ disciples must have felt, thinking that everything was over, knowing that Jesus was dead.
Scripture: Luke 23: 55-56 “The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph of Arimathea. They saw the tomb and how Jesus’ body was laid in it. Then they went away and prepared fragrant spices and perfumed oils. They rested on the Sabbath in keeping with the commandment.
Activity: Moment of Silence
Need: Just yourself.
Take a moment out of your day as an individual or as a family and just be silent. Use this time to reflect on what happened to Jesus and the miracle that is to come. You can also use this time to pray if you’d like.
Prayer: We rest in your love, O God as we keep silence this day. We wait for the coming of the dawn of Easter light. In the name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN
Food Idea: We’re quietest when we sleep so let’s make food that makes us sleepy. Turkey has a naturally occurring amino acid that blocks proteins. Normally after consuming it, we become very sleepy. Make your families own favorite turkey dish and get some rest!
Easter Sunday, April 12,2020
The Bible says that early on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb to finish preparing Jesus’ body for burial. When the women got to the tomb, they discovered that the tomb was empty! The large boulder that covered the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away and Jesus was gone. An angel appeared to the women and told them they need not be afraid. Jesus had risen! The women went back to the other disciples to tell them all they had seen.
Scripture: Luke 24: 1-6 “Very early in the morning on the first day of week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t hear, but has been raised. He is ALIVE!’ “
Activity: Secret Message
Need: Paper, white crayons, watercolor.
Use the white crayon to draw and write secret pictures and messages that have to do with Easter Sunday. Hand the paper to another member of your family and have them paint the paper with watercolor to reveal the secrets underneath! Ideas include the words “He is risen,” a hill with three crosses, an empty tomb, etc.
Prayer: God of life, we have experienced many different emotions this past week and today we are jumping up and down in joyful exuberance. Jesus is alive! What a surprise to remember that in the midst of dark times, you surprise us with new life. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! In the name of the risen Jesus we pray. AMEN.
Food Idea: Enjoy the evening with whatever traditional meal your family makes for Easter dinner. If you don’t have a tradition, put the eggs you just colored to good use and make some egg salad!
I’d love to say that our Saturday started like any other, but it didn’t. We woke with the heavy feeling that the afternoon before had brought our community. All schools were to be closed for the next two weeks due to the recent Coronavirus pandemic. Although we weren’t the only community to experience the announcement of the closures, I think it forced us to face the reality that this was getting serious. Yes, we’d been watching closely on the news the effects the virus was having on other countries, but it hadn’t hit our city yet so we seemed somewhat removed from the crisis. The announcement seemed to corroborate that it was, indeed, lurking in our own backyards. Until last Friday, the dangers seemed far away but it was time to hunker down and stay somewhat quarantined. Although that seemed depressing, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Messy Church was set to start at 5:00 PM that evening. It would be a time for us to get together with other families to laugh, have fun, and really connect with them through God’s word. We were all looking forward to the lighthearted evening. But, then, just after lunch, we received a text saying that our leaders had been monitoring the COVID-19 situation and that they felt it was best to cancel that evening’s Messy Church. The somber feeling seemed to instantly return and we tried to calm our children who were heartbroken to miss a night with their “Messy” family and friends. It left me anxious wondering how many more of these texts we would receive before the virus was contained? How would I break the news to my kids over and over that one of their favorite nights would not be happening? Then, I realized, maybe we don’t have to. What if we just brought the mess home? I decided to write a “Mini Mess” that not only our family could do at home, but that other families missing their own Messy Churches could do as well. I feel the verse is absolutely relevant to the state of our world right now so I hope you and yours find comfort after allowing His word to surround us in these distressing times.
Verse: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
3 MESSY ACTIVITIES
# 1- Cast Away Worries
Need: Paper, pencil, scissors.
Take a moment to really think about something that has been bothering you. Whether it be at work, at school, or anywhere else, write it down on the paper. Have each member of the family then cut their paper into tiny pieces. When you’re done, say a prayer, as a family, to have God release the uneasiness that comes with those situations. Throw the pieces away and mentally “let go” of those worries.
# 2- Yoga Church:
Need: Yoga mats (optional)
This is a simple way in which the whole family can relax, ease tensions, or just reset. Focus on the words from Philippians 4:6 while simultaneously doing yoga poses to bring peace. If you are an advanced yogi, choose whichever poses you find fitting. If you are looking for kid friendly poses, focus on things like “cat/cow,” “cobbler pose,” or “child’s pose.” Instructions for how to do these and other poses can be found online.
# 3-Letters of Care
Need: Stationary, envelopes, pens, stamps.
Sit, as a family, and write letters to the community who may be affected by the recent Coronavirus pandemic. Ideas include convalescent homes, first responders, or family members who may not be able to have visitors. Receiving mail from someone and letting them know how much you care is one of the most uplifting feelings there are. Take this time to put thought and effort into letting someone know how much you appreciate and care for them.
*If writing isn’t an option for you or your family, FaceTime and Zoom are other great options to brighten someone’s day without spreading germs.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by a man named Robert Schuller. It goes, “what would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” The answer is pretty simple…nothing. There’s absolutely nothing we wouldn’t try because there would be categorically zero chance of a letdown. Wouldn’t that be so great? Just releasing the anxiety of the “what if’s” and knowing in complete and utter confidence that it will all work out. Well, guess what? We just described what our lives should be with God. God calls on us to rid ourselves of anxiety and depend on Him wholly and completely. This is hard for many of us because we want to be the ones in control. However, if we could know in our hearts, without a doubt, that God is in charge and His plan is what’s best for us, we’d never entertain an anxious thought again. So, you see, the quote could easily be changed from “what would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” to “what kind of life could we have if we trusted God’s plan was perfect?” Because, it is. His plan is perfect and we have to have trust in Him. Use this now, in a time where the world seems frightening, and know. Release your worries and have faith.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we ask you, today, for the strength to depend on you. We ask for the release of anxieties of situations that are out of our control. We ask for the healing of your people around the world and the continued health of our friends and families. Please, Lord, in this time of anguish let us find peace in the comfort of your loving embrace. We thank you, God, for all your love. In your name we pray, Amen.
Idea: Happy Pizza
Need: Pizza crust, pizza sauce, cheese, meat of
choice, veggies of choice.
oven to 400 degrees. While waiting for
the oven to heat, grate cheese and cut up veggies of choice. Spread sauce on the pizza crust and sprinkle
the cheese over the top. Using whatever
vegetables and meat you’ve chosen, make a happy face on the pizza (i.e. olives
and pepperonis for eyes, sausage for nose, and thinly sliced bell pepper to
form a smile). Put the pizza into the
oven and let cook for 20 minutes. Let
cool, slice, and enjoy.
What does duct tape teach us our mission in Messy Church? What about a wrench? Crystal Goetz shared a fun and inspiring Facebook Live on exploring her Messy Toolbox. If you missed it live, you can still catch it on the Messy Church BRF Facebook Page.
Are you more than ready to be done with all of the complexities of planning during a pandemic? Join us on Thursday, August 20th, at 10 am (PDT) to renew your spirit and learn some new spiritual practices.
Learn more about this webinar and register here:
Messy Church USA is a newly formed nonprofit 501c3 corporation. Messy Church USA has been formed to provide an organizational structure to support the health, growth and sustainability of local Messy Churches in the USA. In addition, Messy Church USA will assist individual Messy Churches to become an integrated part of the larger national and global network of Messy Churches. Read more.