Have you ever just wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of your hectic schedule? Well, Jesus and his disciples were tired and needed a little rest one day near Passover time. They found their “get-a-way” place on a grassy hillside, but before they knew it, they saw that they had been followed by a large crowd. Yes, the fame of Jesus was spreading like wildfire!
The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand is one of the most inspiring stories in the Bible. Apparently, the writers of the Gospels felt like this miracle of Jesus was extremely important because this story was told in the Gospels four times. It is found in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-14. Any story repeated so many times must be important! But what makes it so? This is the kind of question that biblical commentators love. Their answers are many, but the story does anticipate the breaking of bread at the last supper. It is also about sharing, say others. Most importantly, it is proof that Jesus is of God.
In addition, along with the message of Jesus’ compassion for our spiritual needs, our emotional needs and our physical needs, and sharing what you have, there is also the message that God uses us to grow the kingdom.
Our lives are busy and at times chaotic. So, you may choose just a few meaningful practices, activities and prayers “on the go” or choose more for devotions this week. However, these brief intentional and connectional family moments with God will create a spiritual footprint that will shape your children’s and grandchildren’s lives. It’s not enough to hear and experience the scriptures on Sundays. We all need to see how these God stories are lived out throughout the week.
Family Faith Together
The Sacred Space: Make the area comfortable on the floor with cushions and blankets, for this story time. Or, find any place in your home where everyone can gather. Engage all the senses and have a scented candle located in a safe place in the room. Or you may want to have your Bible Story time right before bedtime.
In addition, have a battery operated candle of light on the table or other space. Flashlights also work to symbolize the beginning of this imaginative listening time. Grab a Bible (or phone app) or Storybook Bible. Show where the story is located in the Bible as you shine the light on the words and wonder together. Have your “Creation Bible-Station Maker Box” (a simple shoe box with paper, colored pencils, crayons, markers, clay or play dough and Legos) available also. If you have some pipe cleaners, that would be a nice addition to your box.
READ: Read the story from Mark 14:13-21, from one of the other Gospels or a Children’s Bible. The family could also draw a picture or create a scene and Lego people for the characters. The older children may want to create figures and a basket from clay or pipe cleaners. Then, wonder together as a family.
- As you listen to the story, tell me what “movie” you are creating in your mind as I read the words?
- I wonder what the grassy hillside looked like and felt like? I wonder what you would smell there?
- I wonder what surprised you the most in the story?
- What does the story tell you about Jesus?
- What is something you don’t want to forget about the story?
- The crowd followed Jesus. I wonder who we look up to and follow?
FAITH ON THE GO THIS WEEK:
Let’s Talk: When sitting down at dinner include bread (rice, pasta, cereal, pita bread, etc.) and/or fish a few times this week. Hold hands or interlock elbows when you pray the blessing. I wonder if the families in the Bible story said thank you to the disciples handing out the food?. I wonder what the people said in their prayers that day?
Let’s Discuss One Question Each Day During the Week:
- I wonder how this story is challenging us to live in life?”
- I wonder what they did with the “leftovers”?
- I wonder why the “leftovers” were important to mention?
- What does this verse remind you of in the story and mean to you right now? “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)?
- I wonder how the Disciple’s thinking might change in the future following their stormy boat trip?
- I wonder where you have experienced the feelings of the Disciples? Describe your feelings.
Let’s Notice & Experience:
- It’s Spring! Go outside on a grassy area or on your front porch and have a picnic or have a picnic inside with a blanket! Make sure to have bread and maybe some fish. Someone may even want a tunafish sandwich.
- Read John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again”. Children can watch this story on your/their device while riding to school or soccer/piano practice. Bread of Life Kids Video I wonder why Jesus spoke of his body being the bread? I wonder if these words in the video reminds you of what we do during communion?
- Did you have leftovers for dinner one night? Why are having leftovers important to us today? I wonder why leftovers were important to mention in the Bible story?
- Pray The LORD’s Prayer each night this week for prayer time before bed. I wonder what words reminds us of Jesus feeding the 5000?
- A Morning Blessing for Each Child: Place your hand on their head or arm and awaken them with this gentle blessing: “May the God of hope, Fill you today with joy and peace”.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever Amen.
Let’s Listen and/or Sing:
Listen to the song while in the car, as a bedtime routine, or as a beautiful song to hear as the family is waking up in the morning.
Listen to the song. Jump up when you hear the word “bread”. I wonder what other words in the song reminds you of the story this week?
30 Second Blessing/Prayer for Lent:
Additionally, before sleep, each night during the week you may want to use this blessing for each family member and our prayer for Ukraine and our world. Place hands on each other’s shoulders or hold hands, have children repeat the lines and pray together.
Adapted from Psalm 25:
“I pray you always trust in God for his unfailing love and have peace in your heart
That you watch and listen… and remember God will show you the right path to follow
Prayer for Ukraine:
Let’s pray this prayer.
“Dear God, We pray for Ukraine, the entire world and each and every family in our world. We pray for freedom for the people…free from harms way…free from pain…free from suffering…free from this paralyzing war. We earnestly pray for peace and the women, the children, the babies and the men who are being driven from the center of their lives…their homes and their places around their tables with bread. We pray that You will hold them and all of us in your everlasting arms. Amen”
Above all, during this week, remember to thank Jesus for our blessings!