Jesus healed the blind man with something ordinary, and something found easily in his nitty-gritty and every day living environment. Yes, miracles happened with the mud, spit and the water from the pool of Siloam. Then, the man was sent out as a child of light after living in darkness.
We are sent out each day to grow faith with our families and shed light upon our everyday routines. We can learn to see valuable opportunities to talk and experience faith with our children and grandchildren daily.
Sharing faith at home is not about doing extensive lesson planning. It’s more about inviting Christ into what you are already doing. Let’s be truthful. Most people just don’t have time for all that planning. So, why not just invite God to do more with our time in the nitty-gritty moments of our daily lives, beginning today.
Helping children and youth fall deeply in love with Jesus is a desire that parents and grandparent carry in their hearts. Routine creates habits for life practices, especially those that are purposeful. Meaningful home devotions develop these intentional faith forming plans. Let’s face it…life is busy and it is difficult to find the time to set aside for family devotions.
What is the solution? We can let our young people “catch us” in the moments of daily living and invite them into sacred spaces of Biblical Stories and scripture. We can help them to connect to how God has been real to us in and through the good times and the trials. We can help them find wonder on their daily life journey, and know that Jesus is with them each step along the way.
Here are a few Daily Routines, along with guides to help families talk about ways to intentionally invite Christ into what they are already doing in the “mud and spit” of daily life. The first four listed were inspired by my granddaughter and grandson as we walked together in and around creative spaces for faith formation.
Daily Routine and Faith Connections
- Watering the garden or flower pots (story from John 9:1-12)-“Opps, I think I watered a little too much in this spot. I made some mud. Wonder how it feels? (touch it) Wonder how it smells? (smell it, then rinse your hands off with the hose, or better yet, a bucket of water or plastic pool of water) Say, “That reminds me of the story of Jesus healing the blind man with mud and spit and water from the pool of Siloam. This man could then see!! I wonder if he ran to the pool? I wonder if he jumped for joy when he could finally see? Ooooo, I wonder what the mud/clay felt like on his eyes? Let’s go inside and find some play dough and make a pat of clay and place this on our faces. Now, how does that feel? Does it feel cool…sticky? Did the water and dirt from the garden feel cool to the touch? I wonder what the man saw for the first time that made him smile…jump up and down…laugh?” (Give plenty of time and space for children’s responses) Prayer: Lord, thank you for this earth and the dirt on the ground that You used to heal and we can use to grow in knowing You better. Amen!
- Making a Salad (I Corinthians 12:12-30 and/or I Corinthians 14:26) “Let’s make a salad for dinner…” Cut up or let your child tear the lettuce, spinach, add cucumbers, blueberries, and add whatever you like. We can add lots of different fruits and veggies in our salad. Jesus’ first followers, people like Peter and Paul, had to learn a special lesson about being different early on. Jesus was born in the country of Israel, and the people who live in that country are called Jews. Jesus and Peter and Paul were all Jews, and most Jews didn’t really like people from other countries. And most people from other countries didn’t really like the Jews. But even though Jesus was a Jew, He didn’t come to save only the Jews, did He? No, God loves everyone, not only the Jews! And Jesus wants to save everyone in the whole world, not only the Jews! Look, we now have lots of different veggies and fruits in our salad. Each is different and we like them separately, but they really taste great together! A salad would be boring if we only had lettuce. Let’s celebrate our differences, and come together because we are all better when loving each other as one SUPER SALAD GROUP! That’s why Jesus told us that we need to be nice to everyone and tell everyone about Him, not only the people who are like us. We have to get along with everyone because God loves everyone. I wonder when we can tell everyone about how Jesus wants to save them. Yummy, let’s enjoy this salad.” (Again, always give plenty of time and space for responses and conversation) Prayer: Thank you for our differences Jesus. Help us to love all people of colors, shapes, and sizes. Amen.
- Use Scripture Verses (Genesis 1:28) from your own Readings or Bible Study at Church or Home. Here’s one example from the book Roots of Eden: The First Truths for a Season of Renewal by Will Shelton focusing on the verse, “Be fruitful and multiply” and the “Fruits of the Spirit”. My granddaughter expanded thoughts on this idea a bit when I ask her to wonder about all the world being filled with the fruits of the spirit and EVERYONE demonstrating these character traits. Here’s what happened during our talks: (While munching on apples, grapes and blueberries…)”Be fruitful and multiply?” (Genesis 1:28) You know Myah, I had always thought it meant that we should have lots of children. But, remember Myah, the Fruits of the Spirit and the silly song we learned in Children’s Church several years ago to help us remember all of them from Galatians 5:22-23? “Fruit of the Spirit’s not a Coconut”… Myah laughed as she remembered the tune and named all the spirit fruits) I wonder if the author of that scripture in Genesis could have been be talking about being fruitful in our lives and sharing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It was, after all “…the starting point in our conversation with God–the first word spoken by God to human beings was ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ So, I wonder what the world would be like if EVERYONE demonstrated these characteristics all the time?? I wonder if the world be a better place?? Right away, she said, “No it would not be better”. (This really took me by surprise! Then, she explained her thinking…) “If we never had bad and evil, number one, we would not have the Harry Potter book series or the Warriors Into the Wild series either (a few of her favorite books series :). She continued by explaining that “we may not appreciate love, joy and peace when it is always around…sort of like we might not appreciate summer without experiencing the winter first”. Yes, the older children and the youth can always benefit from “down to earth discipleship” conversations and they can certainly give adults ideas to ponder and open their eyes to “wonder”. Prayer: Lord, help us to use the Fruits of the Spirit in our lives each day. Amen.
- The True Vine (to expand the previous “Mud and Spit” moment-John 15:1-17): Let’s check the tomato plants outside in the garden (or grapes from a grapevine or use tomatoes or grapes with the vine from your grocery store) This wonderful “fruit” grows from a branch attached to the vine. There are many tomatoes that will come from this vine, just like grapes from a grape vine. I wonder how many will grow from this vine? I wonder if they will be ripe soon? What do you think? I wonder if they are all delicious? (Take one, wash and eat it) Jesus said in John chapter 15, “I am the vine, you are the branches…for apart from me you can do nothing…When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.” I wonder what kind of fruit he is talking about? I wonder if he might be referring to the way we show others love? I wonder if it might be about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? With each tomato (or grape) we eat today, let’s think about how we are connected to Jesus cause a branch needs to be connected to the main part of the plant in order to live and produce fruit. We need to be connected to Jesus. I wonder how we can stay connected to Jesus to grow healthy in our faith? I wonder if we can think of one thing we can do each day during the next two weeks to stay connected? (Give plenty of time for conversation) Prayer: God, Your love is precious to us. Keep us connected to Your love. Amen. Whenever you eat a fruit or veggie for the next few weeks, talk about a way you have stayed connected to Jesus.
- Pray Continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)-Folding Laundry: Let’s fold the laundry and say what you would like to pray for and whom you would like to pray for. Example: I pray for Suzie to have hope (fold)… I pray for Suzie to share her love (fold)…I pray for John to feel better (fold), etc. Say “Amen” and stack the clothing or towel you just folded. Then, pray for another person as you fold.
- Wondering-Conversation Starter: When sitting quietly at home or in the car ask, “I wonder what you are wondering about right now?” See where the conversations and God leads you on that day to grow as a family in faith.
- Talking about your rough day: Don’t be afraid of talking about your own difficult day. Tell your children, how you feel when things don’t always go right. Discuss how you can stop, breathe, do a yoga stand and pray. This may help them to get through their next trial at school, with a friend, etc. Talk about wonder questions through your conversations. Prayer: Jesus…(breathe)…thank you…(breathe)…be with us during these problems…(breathe)…lead us through these problems…(breathe) thank you for your comforting presence…Amen.
At bedtime, you could intensify the hands-on experience and read a story or scripture. Always engage and include within the message, the activity involved while you were doing your daily routine earlier when possible. This is so very important. Life is busy these days, and we want to share faith along the path on the journey in as many different ways.
We can all benefit from engaging in Bible stories and with scripture while following the routines of our lives and following Deuteronomy 6. I listed only a few of my ideas in this article. Use your imagination and look at your daily routines and how you may want to use them as tools to share faith. If you are a leader, you may want to have a short informational training for parents and caregivers and/or you may want put some ideas into a newsletter for them to refer to at a later date.
Also folks, remember, these awesome children and youth provide us with some theological understanding. They are also great teachers! They respond to God and grow in God’s grace when we open up and create a space for them to feel free to express themselves on their level. It is our responsibility as leaders, teachers, parents and grandparents to create that space and learn with them along the way!
Leaders, it is our responsibility to guide parents and grandparents on this journey of wonder as they explore their own creativity and imagining God’s wisdom for faith formation each day in the homes.
THIS IS ONE OF MY MY FAVORITE RESOURCES:
Here are some additional great ideas from Ministry-to Children with an additional notes from me to use as Discipleship in Daily Routines as school begins to open:
Object Lesson (School Supplies) Message for Children
As you prepare items for children each morning, remind them as you help pack their bag, making sure they have sharpened pencils, erasers, etc. of the Bible Verse
Backpack – You can carry God’s Word with you.
“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”
(My notes: God’s Word is a lamp unto your feet today and will help guide your steps. I wonder who helps guide you and your steps in doing the right thing during your day?)
Pencil & Paper – You can write out Bible verses to remind you of God’s love.
“Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
(My notes: What words can you write to someone that would encourage them today? What can you draw to show someone at school that God loves them? (a heart, a beautiful flower, etc.)
Eraser – God’s forgiveness erases my mistakes.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
(My notes: I wonder if you forgave someone today at school?)
Crayons – God created this wonderful world in color for us to enjoy. He also gave us the rainbow to remind us of His promise to us.
“When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:16
(My Notes: Did you get a chance to use crayons today at school? How did you use them? I wonder how you can cheer someone up today using your crayons?)
Tape – Tape helps to bind a ripped page just like we, using the Word of God, can bind hurts.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
(My notes: I wonder how you can help someone to feel better about themselves at school today? How can we help someone in our family today to feel better if they are sad?)
Water Bottle – Water is refreshing can quenches your thirst. Jesus is the living water that is eternal.
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
(My notes: When playing outside with your brother, sister or family member, bring them a cup of water or juice.)
Books – God’s Word is THE most important book we have. Math and English are important, but they are not eternal.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
(My notes: Look at a book with your child…Where did you see God in one of your English stories or novel books you read or heard read to you today? I wonder which characters in your book are acting like Jesus would want them to act? How are they acting…what are they doing? Which character needs to hear a word from God? I wonder which character are you most like in the story?)
Teacher (picture of or doll dressed like one) Our teachers in school guide our learning just like our teachers at church (Sunday School teachers, preachers, etc.) guide our understanding of what the Bible says.
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
(My notes: I wonder which adult at school helped you the most to understand your assignment? I wonder how you could help someone in your class understand the assignment?)
Friends (pictures of dolls, lego people or dolls) – Everyone wants to have friends, but we need to make sure we choose wisely.
“Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”
1 Corinthians 15:33
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
(My notes: I wonder what characteristics you look for when making friends at school?)
Lunchbox – A lunchbox carries our lunch. It can remind us of the fruit of the spirit that we can carry with us at all times.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
(My Notes: I wonder which fruits of the spirit you see in others today? I wonder what being gentle, kind and having self-control looks like in your life today in your experiences?)
Clothes – Getting new clothes is an exciting time for most kids. We need to clothe ourselves with Christ. Just remember, WWJD (What Wound Jesus Do?).
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
(My notes: When you put on new clothes or shoes today, think about how you can show your gratefulness…think about the many ways you can let others see Jesus in you today. Can you smile and welcome everyone? Can you invite someone to talk and sit with you at lunch?)
Each day you can focus on one item connected to school. Doing this can open up many faith conversations along the way. Using what we have, in our hands will open up conversations for life-long learning as we continue to journey through these unprecedented times. Just use the “mud and spit” of our mundane lives! God will take care of the rest!