Hosted by the Faith To Go team in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, David Tremaine and Charlette Preslar, and joined the each week by a special guest, the Faith To Go Podcast highlights themes from the Sunday Gospel reading for you to take into your faith discussions and reflections throughout the week.
Activity Time: Lent Desert Box Week 6 - Gathered at the Table
Supplies: a small table or piece of wood, small pieces of paper, pencils, a small candle (This activity utilizes the desert box that we created in week one of Lent. If you did not have the opportunity to create the box, you can find the instructions for making it HERE)
Instructions: Start out by removing all items from the desert box except for the sand and the rocks. Have one family member put the small table or piece of wood in the middle of the box and another member put the Jesus rock at the center on one side.
Then each family member should place their rock around the table. Hand out small scraps of paper and pencils. Say, “Tonight Jesus shared a meal with His disciples. He did lots of things during that meal to let them know how much He loved them. He loves us that much too. Let’s each write one thing on our slip of paper that will help Jesus know how much we love Him.”
When you are done, have everyone fold their papers and place them under the Jesus rock. Take the small candle, put it on the table or block of wood, and have someone light it. Say, “Sometimes we light candles to remind us that God loves us and is with us. Tonight we light this candle to show our love for Jesus. Let’s leave it burning until it is time for bed.” (make sure the candle is in a safe container and that it is extinguished before heading to bed.)
Here's an example of how you might do the activity:
Story Time: Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
Watch this video together and then use the discussion questions below to reflect as a family (watch from 3:07 to 8:34).
1. In today’s story Jesus washed his disciples feet. Why did he do that? 2. How do you think the disciples felt when Jesus did that? 3. You are big now, but when you were little, I used to give you a bath. Can you
remember some of the fun things we did at bathtime? 4. How do those memories make you feel? 5. In the story, they talked about how foot washing was a chore no one wanted to do.
Can you think of chores that are like that at our house? 6. How do you think it would make someone feel if we did one of those chores so that
someone else wouldn’t have to?
7. What are some other ways that we can show that we love each other?
Dinner Time: Washing Our Hands in Love
Below is a reading and prayer to say when washing hands before dinner, like Jesus washed his disciples' feet. Then there is a prayer with which to start your meal and then discussion questions to explore this week’s topic with your family while you eat.
Usually on Maundy Thursday we would engage in the important symbolic act of washing each others feet. This is a symbol not of sanitizing or cleanliness, but of being in humble and intentional service to others. In this moment, we are being asked to wash our hands not only as a means of cleanliness, but as a service to others, especially those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Share this idea with your children as you all wash your hands, not as an act of cleaning, but one of service to those most vulnerable in our communities.
Notes for the meal: Traditionally, a meatless meal is to be preferred. The setting should be austere and the foods sparse and simple. Appropriate foods include soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit, bread, and wine.
Everyone starts in the kitchen by the sink. Make sure there is enough soap for everyone to wash their hands.
+ The Hand Washing +
Open with this prayer, as all are gathered in the kitchen:
Dear God, whose dear Son Jesus, on the night before he was in much pain, helped his friends by washing their feet and sharing an important meal that we still remember today: Help us remember all the ways Jesus showed us how to love others so that we can keep doing his work of loving one another as he loves us all today and every day. Amen.
Now read aloud this story from John's gospel:
John 13:1-17, 31b-35 (God’s Word, My Voice)
Jesus knew his time was short, and he loved his disciples now even more, right until the end. Judas was ready to hand Jesus over to the authorities so they could arrest him. During supper Jesus took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around his waist like a servant would. He poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and wipe them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. He came to Simon Peter, who was shocked and said to Jesus, “What are you doing? Are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “I know you don’t know what I’m doing now, but you will. You’ll understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless you let me wash you, there is no point in following me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, okay. Don’t just wash my feet, then. Wash my hands and my head too, please!” Jesus said to him, “You are already clean, Peter. But not all of you in this room are clean.” Jesus said that because he knew what was in Judas’s heart. After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have just done? You know I’m your teacher. So if I, your teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I just gave you an example that you should follow, that you also should do what I just did for you. You will be blessed if you follow my example. If you love each other, everyone will know by looking at you and how you treat each other that you are my disciples.”
After the reading everyone moves to the sink for the washing of the hands. Before the first person washes their hands read this prayer:
We begin by washing, as we were washed in our baptism. We cleanse our hands as we were cleansed in the waters of new birth. We do this not because we are afraid, but because we were commanded to love, and to cleanse our hands, and gather in spirit, is how we love the vulnerable, whom Jesus loved. May we be instruments of love. May the sacrifices we make be for the good of our whole human family both inside and outside our house.
Everyone takes turns washing their hands and then moves to the dinner table for the meal and discussion. Continue with this prayer to start the meal:
Dear God, This week our family is walking with Jesus through Holy Week. Help us to think of Jesus each of the days of this Holy Week. Remind us how much He loved his disciples and how much He loves us. Help us to show our love for our family and the world through kind words and actions. Give us a peaceful heart and help us to be patient with our families during this time that we are all at home together. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Questions: 1. On this day, Jesus went into the garden to pray after dinner. Where do you like to
pray? 2. The disciples fell asleep while Jesus was praying. How do you think that made Jesus
feel? 3. Lets offer some special prayers for Jesus tonight. What are some things we could
say? 4. If people need help coming up with things, use the Help, Thanks, Wow, model. What
is something we need God’s help with? What is something we are grateful for? What
is something that made us say WOW today?
5. What is something that we are thankful for about Jesus?
Once the meal has ended and the table is cleared and cleaned proceed to the Bedtime section for the Stripping of the Altar activity below.
Bedtime: Stripping our Home Altar (from Building Faith)
Materials Needed: Bible or Prayer Book, Storage box or bin, Dark cloth, Towels/cleaning supplies
How To Do It:
After you have finished your meal, all gather in front of the home altar you have built together.
Read together Psalm 22: 1-5
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
Share about the custom of stripping the alter. Is this something that you do at your church every year? The stripping of the altar is not meant to symbolize Jesus being taken away from us, but rather the desolate, empty, lonely feeling that we imagine Jesus felt throughout the painful experiences he underwent after he finished his last meal with his disciples and washed their feet.
Take turns removing items from the altar and putting them in the box. As you remove them, think for a moment about the emotion that goes along with each one. Do it slowly and silently so that everyone has a chance to be intentional about their reflection on each object.
After all the icons have been packed away take a moment to notice how your altar looks and feels. Invite everyone to make the connection between the emptiness and desolate feeling of the altar and what Jesus may have felt alone in prayer in the garden, especially after he had been betrayed by his friend:
1) What does it feel like to look at this empty altar that you worked on together?
2) What was it like to put everything away into the box in silence?
3) When else do you have feelings like this in your life?
Put the box away in a silent and solemn manner. Consider turning off all electronics for the rest of the night.
Share some of your conversations in the comments below: