Monday, February 25, 2013

Faces of Easter III: Remembering Christ's Baptism and Blessing

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to Faces of Easter III: Remembering Christ's Baptism and Blessing, our lesson for March 3.

As we get ready for Easter this week, we remember and celebrate Christ's baptism and blessing from God. How good it is to remember that Jesus chose to be baptized before he started his work, to mark the beginning of his adult journey toward the cross by getting in line with us, teaching us what to do. It reminds us how meaningful it is to begin our own discipleship by leaning into the darkness of the water, letting God cleanse us, allowing our old selves to die and be buried, and then get up, dry off, and start life marked and blessed officially as God's own.

There are so many ways we can go with this lesson. We must focus on the story itself, of course, but we can also give thought to examining the concept of the trinity, recognizing that this moment in Jesus' life is a beautiful interaction of the father, son, and the holy spirit.

At the end of the storytelling time you could  ask the children to gather items to put by the baptism tile, or you could use wondering questions to help them process the story. Here are the ones I'll have in your rooms:

1. I wonder what your favorite part of this story is.

2. I wonder what you already know about John the Baptist.

3. I wonder how John the Baptist might have felt when Jesus asked him to baptize him.

4. I wonder why Jesus wanted to be baptized, even though he was God's son?

5. I wonder what people thought when they saw the holy spirit come down toward Jesus. I wonder what they thought when they heard God's voice say, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased."

6. I wonder how it might feel to be baptized.

7. God and the holy spirit gave Jesus a blessing. I wonder what a blessing is. I wonder if you've ever been given a blessing and how that felt. I wonder if you've ever given anyone else a blessing.

Here are some ideas that might serve as springboards for the children's own creations:

Retelling the story:
1.  Have a small Jesus figure, a small John figure, and a pool (a large bowl of water) and let the children take turns at one table retelling the story and acting it out with the figures. We have a huge amount of clothespins that make great people figures.

2.  Let the children make their own Jesus and John figures (clothespins again?) and their own pool (plastic bowls or recycled containers like Cool Whip size-there may be some in the resource room. If not, you could even use a Solo cup, cut shorter.)

3. I remember a teacher from my own childhood having us clean dirty pennies with water and vinegar, talking about how our sins are washed away in baptism. I'm not sure how I feel about this.  If I did that today I would want to add that even after our baptism is done, we still have to ask God daily to forgive us of the mistakes we make.

4. Make a snack to celebrate this special event in Jesus' life.
You could make edible bugs to dip in honey as done here, or make trinity muffins as described here.

An edible locust! (See the antennae?)
5. Make more ornaments for your Jesus tree.
A. You could always make doves, as shown here or here (I know it's an owl, but you could make it into a dove,)  or here (I love that one.) Or pick up some feathers at the craft store and let the kids think themselves how to make it from the feathers and other materials you have on hand.

B. Another ornament idea is to make a Chrismon-type ornament that celebrates his baptism in particular as shown here (scroll down and see the scallop one.) Or why not use real scallop shells from a craft store and make your own like the one in the link. The kids could hot glue a ribbon to it and figure out how to represent the three drops of water shown in the chrismon--or not! They could put a dove with the shell, or make it however they like!

C. There's a pretty one out of felt here. Kids could copy it or even better, design their own!

Examining the Concept of the Trinity.
1. Since we're almost at St. Patrick's Day, it might be a good time to look at the 3 leaved shamrock as a symbol of the trinity. Here's an ornament the kids could make out of fun foam here. And there are plenty of other ideas here. Be sure to scroll down to see all the examples.

And don't forget to take photos! My camera is in the drawer of the table by the door to the Activity Room. :)

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