1.) Peace School - We'll hear the story of how God's people were conquered and taken to Babylon. After a time in exile they were allowed to return by the Persians. Where is our home, and how do we know God is with us when bad things happen? The picture above is of "Job" - a story in the Bible about suffering that many scholars believe was used to wrestle with why Jerusalem was destroyed. Can our youngest children be taught that their are consequences in life, but bad things also happen beyond our control. Tragedies, big and small, are part of life. How do we handle them, and where is God (and God's love) when things go wrong?
2.) Practice - Parents, here's an activity to do at home together during the week from Building Faith, an Anabaptist resource. This week's is "Repenting and Forgiving." One of the questions of the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews, was what they might have done wrong to "deserve" this tragedy. Although Jewish understandings vary (even the Bible has a few different perspectives on why the people were destroyed by Babylon), it is still worth while to know that we are not perfect, and that we make mistakes. Sometimes we simply misunderstand each other and need ways to mend our relationships with each other and with God.
3.) Pray - During the week consider praying a portion of The LORD's Prayer from The New Zealand Prayer Book copied below (or choose to repeat another one of your favorite prayers). Big words, but amazing how quickly younger children can memorize and then take a lifetime to add meaning.
4.) Learning to Serve - During Advent we are collecting diapers for Rocky Mountain Diaper Depot. Consider one way we can give gifts to the children who do not have enough this winter, just as Jesus received gifts, and was also a gift to others.
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.