Hetty’s Devotions

Telling Bible stories to young children

Once again my wife reflects upon one of our passions – how to present gospel stories to children.

 

The story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. (John 13:1-17)

 

Traditionally, we concentrate on Jesus, the teacher, humbling himself to wash the feet of his disciples. However, to a young child, this would not seem unusual at all. Their experience is normally one of adults caring for them; teachers and childcare providers, parents, and grandparents. It would be strange to them if the disciples had washed Jesus’ feet!

 

So how could we tell this story?

 

Often Bible storytellers try to interpret the stories. We want to be sure the child understands the meaning and the lesson. In short, we tell the child what they should think.

I’m wary of this approach.

I believe that when we impart God’s Word to young people the Holy Spirit is present and active in their hearts and their heads.children 1

We need to trust that He will guide them as they hear our stories.

Our aim should be to facilitate worship in children.

 

The lives of children are full of friends, family gatherings, travelling, food, and identity. This story has it all. Jesus plans a meal together with his friends. They all travel to an upstairs room in a house. They probably walked along dusty roads to get there. When they arrived there were probably hugs and kisses all around. The table had an array of food and drink, lovingly prepared by others in their circle of friends.

Most importantly, Jesus was with his friends: they identified themselves (and the community recognised them) as His followers.

 

So, as you tell this wonderful story, touch on these points of contact.

 

Children will also visualise the story as you tell it. They will “see” it using their own experiences. Therefore a table full of food will be their family’s dining table.

Enrich the story for them by telling them the colours, the smells, the icky ness of the dirty feet, the warmth of the water in the basin, the gentleness of Jesus hands, and the softness of the towel.

 

When we tell stories in this fashion we help a child take it into their heart. The story will resonate with them.

 

And finally, give the child a way to respond to what they have heard. Wonder with them, sit quietly and ponder, provide art materials, sing. Follow their lead as they follow the Holy Spirit.

 

Categories: Child Theology, Children, christian, Faith, Family, Hetty's Devotions | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Easter Sunday in Santiago -Hetty’s Perspective

Hetty’s thoughts about Easter Sunday

We had an appointment to meet Kiki at the cathedral at 11am, so we found a car park and walked into the city centre. It wasn’t difficult to find each other. As we approached the cathedral the Risen Jesus was being wheeled in. We followed Jesus.
Just inside the doors he did a tricky 25point reverse and back outside.
Crowds of tourists/spectators were shooed out of his way. Meanwhile people in costumes arrived from all directions: little angels, Biblical characters, and traditional Spanish women in high veils. And lots of green-caped churchmen and women. Then we realized another float was coming into the square.
To drums and trumpets and a Spanish version of the bagpipes , Mary was being borne aloft by two dozen men. No wheels under this lady! Her carriers had her rocking from side to side as she and Jesus inched towards each other. We then got an Easter Pageant and a kind of sermon. It was good that we knew the story and that the word Halleluyah is universal. The two Marys went to meet Jesus, ran back to tell John and Peter who in turn ran towards Jesus. Then some angel children released some doves. After that the procession went through the town to more music.
We turned back to the cathedral for the 12 o’clock Pilgrims Service. there was a lot of pomp, ceremony, smells and bells, but we understood little of it. the priest did welcome us in English but I didn’t realize it immediately and didn’t precisely notice when he went back to Spanish.
At the commencement of the Communion we left, found our way back to the car, and started on our journey south.

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The Invisible Man

Another of Hetty’s reflections: Matt 12:1-14

Mostly I am ignored at the temple. I go every week to pay my tithe, say my prayers, listen to the priest’s words, and no-one seems to notice me – I’m invisible.

Imagine my surprise when Jesus, surrounded by his followers AND a gaggle of Pharisees marched right up to me. Me! An invisible man with a shrivelled hand, who no-one ever wants to see, let alone help.

They were arguing about something. Arguing politely, but I could tell that those lawyers were trying to trap Jesus with his own words.

They stopped before me.

“Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” they asked him.

Ah, so I was their visual aid. Here was a “rubber meets the road” moment for Jesus. (Or should that be “donkey’s foot pad meets the road?”)

Well he answered the question with a question. And then using the convenience of a man in need of a miracle close at hand, Jesus drove his point home. “Stretch out your hand,” he told me. I did. I gazed down at my hands. They were both as perfect as each other!

Heavenly father, it is not the rules that keep us right with you. It is not what we give up or do without. You only want us to live “mercifully”; to value our fellow humans as you do; to do good, every day of every week. Help me go through this life journey following Jesus in all that I do. Amen.
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Jesus Clears the Temple

One of Hetty’s reflections: John 2:13-16

I’m right behind Jesus. Since he did that miracle with the wine at the wedding, I want to see everything he does. This seemed like a routine visit to the temple … until …

I’m on my way home. I have to give some serious thought to what I’ve just seen. Jesus was a man out of control, or was he? What did he mean when he said, “My father’s house”? That would make him … the son of God! Can that be true? What about the line about destroying the temple? If, if, someone destroyed such a structure it would take more than three days to build it again. It would take another miracle.

I’m sticking with this guy. Whatever he does next, I’m going to be there to see it.

Lord help me to keep my eyes on you. Not because I have to witness the miraculous, wonderful as that would be, but because you are the one who made me. You love me more than anyone else would. Stepping with you will be the best way I could travel through life. You know what will cause me to stumble, and if I’m close to you, you’ll gently take my arm and tell me, “Watch that stone there Hetty. Don’t trip over.” Thank you Jesus for being the best travelling partner. Amen
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The Wedding at Cana

A reflection by Hetty on the Wedding at Cana. John 2:1-11

A bystander at the Wedding at Cana: I surely must have had as much to drink as those around me, but the celebrationns are set to continue for a while yet. On observing Jesus talking his mother to task and giving strange orders to the servants, my interest was piqued. How amazing the resulting miracle! Who is this man? Who is he related to? Where can I find out more about him?

To follow Jesus at this point would be to follow a magician, a sideshow.What about when he begins to say things people don’t want to hear? What about when he starts to make demands of me?

Lord, may I grow in my understanding of Jesus day by day. Please give me the faith and courage, not just to know him, but also to follow him, willingly, in obedience.
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I’ve heard about Jesus …

A reflection on Matt 8:5-13 by Hetty:

I’ve heard about Jesus: Water, evil spirits, diseases, they all obey his word. So when he said he would come and heal my servant, I told him plainly, “That’s not necessary. Just say the word and I know he will be cured.” I knew he would have made the journey for me and the young man, but he is the “Chief Officer” and what he says goes. But I wasn’t expecting his amazement at my reply. And those comments about my faith – surely I’m not as good as all those pious Jews?!

Jesus comes for each of us. He makes no distinction between masters and servants, Jews or Gentiles. He only requires our faith in him.
“Remind me that you are
the Way,
the Truth
and the Life
and apart from you there is no life.”
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Encountering Jesus

The following reflection on Matt 8:28-34 comes from my wife, the “Sarah”, in reality, Hetty, in “Travels from Ur”:

It’s a peaceful spot, not too far from town, the ideal place to let the swine wander and graze. Well, most of the time it is. You see, in the tombs up there in Gadarenes there are a couple of wild men. People say they are demon possessed. On this day we saw some other strangers who we now know were Jesus the Nazarite and his disciples. I’d heard of him and I should have recognized him when those two wild men started shouting at him and he ordered their demons to leave them. He’s known for that kind of thing.

Well, I have nothing against that man for giving those two their lives back and it’s not everyday that you witness such a miracle right before your eyes. But it is the other thing that he did that really angered us. The demons asked him to send them into OUR pigs. Can you believe it?! And then once our herd was filled with demons it ran straight down the bank and into the lake. Every one of the pigs drowned! Utterly gobsmacked, us herders took off in the other direction – into town, and there we told anyone who’d listen what Jesus had done. A whole posse of townsfolk  went back to the “scene of the crime.” Jesus and his followers were still in the field. Once the townies had established what had happened via a whole barrage of questions, they had an impromptu town council meeting. then they asked Jesus to leave. And I say, “Fair enough! He ruined our livelihood. he ruined our lives.”

Lord. let me not only see what I may have lost because of my encounter with you. May I continually count the blessings you have bestowed on me. May my following you be about giving back to you, in gratitude, for all I have received.
Amen
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