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.
Stories of How Messy Churches are reaching their communities now
Curated by Roberta Egli
Messy Church USA…Forming Community while Physically Distant
One of the great joys in my role at Messy Church USA is to discover how people are innovating and adapting Messy Church to their own specific context. During these past three months, as we have physically distanced due to Covid-19, you have used a variety of ways to engage with your Messy Church communities. Well done!
To equip you to sustain your Messy Church (MC) during this weird pandemic time, I am the stories of two different churches. They have adapted their MC to meet the needs of their communities. First the story from Barb Tegtmeier from Christ United Methodist in Albuquerque, NM followed by a story from Dori Fotsch, Marie Reyes, and Jill Elsemore of Thousand Oaks United Methodist in Thousand Oaks, CA.
30- Minute Weekly Zoom from Albuquerque, NM
Our weekly 30-minute Zoom Messy Church came about accidentally…or maybe not. I recorded and posted a MC message for the first “real MC” in April. Our MC congregation liked it, but missed not seeing each other. So, the thought came to me to try getting together every Saturday at our normal start time of 4:00 for just 30 minutes based on several webinars which suggested to keep online sermons, etc. shorter than normal because it is too easy to lose people’s attention. The most amazing things started happening once I announced the new weekly plan.
One family who attends regularly doesn’t usually have a chance to take any leadership role…(however a) Mom asked to come up with an activity involving food to combine those two elements of MC that people were missing. The story was Adam and Eve and she planned (a food activity…with proper protection (we)put together bags with the ingredients then joined in a parade of two to deliver the activity packets to our MC family’s doorsteps Saturday morning. The kids got to do something they loved and also were able to see people who are normally at MC from their car seats. (She) led the activity online before we did a Celebration message.
Another benefit of MC online is that attendees can invite family and friends around the country to join us for just 30 minutes. We (met a cousin from) Nebraska this Saturday who invited all of us on a road trip to go visit them.
On-site physically distanced activity, at home activities and a 30-minute Zoom to FB live Celebration in Thousand Oaks, CA
The team from Thousand Oaks (TO) United Methodist, were ambitious as they adapted their Messy Church for the Covid- 19 pandemic. The theme was Soul on Fire!, based on the story of Pentecost from Acts 2. Prior to the Saturday 30-minute Zoom to Facebook Live celebration, they both delivered bags of craft activities and created an outline for a dove banner at the church. People dropped by the church to add their thumb prints to a beautiful dove banner while maintaining physical distance.
The bilingual TO MC used both live and previously recorded videos to share music, scripture readings, a skit and prayer during their gathered together live zoom to Facebook celebration. As they gathered on their Zoom to Facebook live event on Saturday afternoon, they focused on the scripture of Pentecost when people were confused as they began to speak in multiple languages.
Jesus O., a high school senior who attends TO MC, created a video of a variety of people praying the Lord’s prayer in their language that was used during their celebration time. Seeing and hearing the Lord’s Prayer in English, Spanish, Farci, Korean and Sign Language brought the message to life for today’s context. Messy Church USA is grateful that TO MC graciously gave us permission to use their video in our contribution to the Messy Global Adventure on May 21st.
Following their May MC, families have been sharing pictures of their at home activities on the TO MC Facebook page. What a wonderfully creative way to keep Messy Church families engaged with one another even though they are unable to gather in person!
Messy Church NOW Opportunity
On Tuesday June 30th, you will have an opportunity to discover three more models of how Messy churches have adapted their gatherings to be safe for all. Messy Church USA NOW is a 90-minute webinar that will engage you and your team in ways you can reach out to your Messy Church community.
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.