What matters most is that your prayer is authentic, spoken from the hopes and fears of your heart. God knows you and delights in your voice.
Whatever you choose - adding or subtracting - the point is to do something that feeds your soul without draining your energy or making you resent the time. Be realistic, keep it simple and enjoy!
And yet, Halloween continues to play heavily in the minds and imaginations of our children. This year, our third grade Sunday school class asked if they could wear their costumes to church...
Life today is as stressful as it has ever been, and this is reflected in the fact that anti-depressants are being prescribed at a higher rate than ever before. However, there is one age-old method that can reduce stress levels for free and without a prescription. People around the world rely on faith to see them through hard times. Faith and spirituality are abstract concepts, but they can lead to concrete results in mental health improvement and stress reduction.
Here is the question: Is Sunday school still valuable in building up the next generation of Christians? Or is it a tragic hindrance to the overall goals of the Christian community? The answer must take into account a full view of faith formation. But in short: Yes Sunday school is valuable. And yes, a traditional model of parish-based Christian education can still be effective is nurturing children and offering them knowledge, skills, and values to grow into adult followers of Jesus Christ.
Like many churches, we have a tradition of an Easter egg hunt for children. It's one of those things that we just always do, though no one knows when it started. Also like most churches, our attendance doubles on Easter morning, and we have many folks joining us for the first time, but for some reason we cancel Sunday School, and all we show visitors about our church is an egg hunt, which does nothing to tell the Christian story. So last year some of us started wondering aloud about how to send a better message on Easter.
They had bowed so low that their hair was over their faces that I wasn’t exactly sure what they were doing. After about two minutes, they rose and came back down the steps of the stage. I asked, “What were you doing bent over like that?” One of them looked up at me, and in the tone of voice only girls approaching their teenage years can produce said, “Well, praying, obviously!”
Now as a spiritual director myself, I have the honor and privilege of accompanying people on their journeys. Almost always I am in a heightened state of awareness, eager to see how God’s presence is being manifest in another’s life. I always pray to be a channel for God’s words and a container for the expression of the person’s soul. It can be joyful. It can be truly painful. Sitting with another during periods of great sorrow and grief is a much an honor as hearing joys. Holding the container when there are dark nights of the soul, or deserts in the relationship with God, is difficult. It is also amazing.
Practical advice and suggestions for offering a stations of the cross service for children and families.
The season of Lent is a perfect time for children to take on the challenge of learning a prayer by heart, or memorizing a Bible verse. Here are some suggestions.
Inviting children into the seriousness of Ash Wednesday is a holy opportunity. Music and singing brings light to the experience.
Home baked bread has been part of my life ever since I can remember. On Sundays my mother would take out the Joy of Cooking, turn to page 603, and…
Young people are not looking for the easy path in life. They don’t mind a challenge – it is too often us who fear the challenge. They are not looking for the path of least resistance.
We may not be able to describe scientifically what happens to children who attend church Sunday after Sunday, but I believe something deeply and profoundly formational happens.
Call and commitment is the bottom line for the catechist and the parish. When one is called there are no obstacles – so often in recruitment everything can be seen as an obstacle.
Godly Play today is used with all ages, including those with special needs and Alzheimer's disease. It is the language of the people of God.
It is my fear that we have turned God into Superman. We are so quick to call on God to rescue us, to save us from the evil villain, to appear, cape and all, only when we need Him . . . and then, when something goes wrong, or when we feel that God has failed us, we take Him and angrily throw Him back into the toy box and pull Him out again when we are ready to play.
I always thought retreats were a good idea, but had trouble pulling them off. The first time I tried it, I was a depressed teenager longing for the peace and joy that was supposed to come with one’s faith. I read some spiritual heavy-hitter who talked about how the desert fathers took off for days of fasting and solitude, and figured that was what I needed to overcome my sense of distance from God.
Do I nip at the hand that is feeding me, loving me, nurturing me, providing me sustenance on many levels? Do I tempt that hand, seeing if it will indeed go away?
As adults, the most important thing we can do is listen to children and value what they tell us. We need to stop worrying over what we can teach children about spirituality. We should be wondering instead what children might teach us.