This week’s lectionary texts fit well together – a great take away image for children is the vine from the gospel reading.
John 15:1-8 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 15:2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 15:3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 15:4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.”
There are SO many creative ways to explore this verse with children of all ages. Here are some suggestions:
- Have a “vine run” where your family grabs hands to make a chain and sets a goal of how far they can run together (across the park, to the basketball hoop, etc). I always recommend goals that are achievable while being somewhat of a challenge. If it’s too easy the first time, set a farther goal, or see how fast you can do it! Once you’ve caught your breath from running and laughing – talk about vines, the branches need to stay connected to stay alive and produce fruit. If God is the vine, and we are the branches, I wonder what the fruit is?
- Since it is spring, take a trip to a local garden center. While shopping for some cool plants or seeds for your home, see if you can find some vines growing in the shop. Great photo op! The same questions can help unpack this passage, but might be done best on the walk or car ride home.
- Do some vine art! So many possibilities here – but pictured below is one of my favorites for young and old. On some paper (any size will do, but the bigger the better!) draw a vine with some branches. Grab a clean soda bottle from the recycling and prepare a small dish of paint (if you don’t have paper plates, lids from the recycling work great here too). Just dip the bottom of the bottle into the paint, and stamp along your vine to create some awesome “fruit” or “flowers”.
In this gospel lesson, Jesus says I am the vine and we are the branches. I wonder in what ways we can stay connected to Jesus?
Healthy vines need to be pruned to produce more fruit. I wonder what in our lives could be “pruned” to help us be healthier?
In the lectionary lesson from Acts this week, Philip is guided by the Holy Spirit to a Ethiopian man who is reading Isaiah in his chariot. Philip asks if the man understands what he is reading and has a great conversation with him. It is through this conversation and relationship that the man learns more about the love of God and asks Philip if he can be baptized.
We can see how in this story, Philip – who is a branch, connects another person to the vine growing the church. By Philip being guided by the Holy Spirit, he blesses others through his fruit.
I wonder how your fruit helps the world have a taste of God’s love?
God’s peace to you and yours ~ Deacon Erin