READ: Jesus often told stories of lost things.
Once he told the story of a man and his two sons. The younger son said to his father, “Give me my inheritance now so that I may enjoy it.” So the father divided his property. The younger son gathered all he had and went to a distant country. Soon he had spent all his money and had nothing left. He was hungry and poor. So he got a job feeding a farmer’s pigs. He was so hungry he thought about eating the pigs’ food.
He thought about home and how everyone who worked for his family had plenty to eat. So he decided to go back to his father and ask for a job.
When he got close to home, his father saw him on the road. He ran to his son and wrapped his arms around him in a big hug.
Before the son could say he was sorry, his father called out for new clothes to be brought, with new shoes, and a ring. And then he told his servants to prepare a party with all the best food to celebrate his son’s return.
The elder brother had been hard at work in the fields. When he came home and found out what all the ruckus was about, he refused to go inside.
His father came out and begged him to come back in. But the older brother said, “I’ve always stayed with you, working hard. But you’ve never thrown a party like this for me!
The father held open his arms and said, “All that is mine is yours. Let us celebrate because your brother was lost and has been found.” (Luke 15:11-32)
WONDER: I wonder what Jesus’ followers felt when they heard this story?
I wonder what the father felt when he saw his younger son coming home?
I wonder how the younger son felt when his father hugged him?
I wonder who this story is about--the younger son? the older son? the father?
I wonder why Jesus told this story?
I wonder whether the older son comes inside?
SAY: In this story we see God always welcomes us with love and compassion.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for always welcoming us in with love, even when we’ve made bad choices or when we think we’ve let you down. Amen.
READ: Jesus told this story to people who had come to hear him teach. Once there was a man who owned a vineyard. In addition to all his grape vines, there was a fig tree in his vineyard. One day the man looked and there were no figs on the tree. He told his gardener to cut the tree down, because for three years it had never had figs on it. “It’s taking up valuable ground!” he said in frustration. The gardener replied, “Please give me another year, and let me work the soil with good compost. Let’s see if it produces fruit next year.” (Luke: 13:6-9)
WONDER: I wonder what happens to the fig tree next year?
I wonder how the fig tree ended up in a vineyard full of grape vines?
I wonder what other creatures visit the fig tree?
I wonder how the gardener will care for the tree?
I wonder why Jesus told this story?
I wonder if God is more like the gardener or like the owner of the vineyard?
SAY: In this story Jesus tells a parable without an ending. While the owner of the vineyard only sees that the fig tree doesn’t have any figs, the gardener sees potential in the tree and will help the tree grow strong. We can see the potential in ourselves and in others, too, if we are given time, love, and patience.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for being patient with us. Teach us to be patient with others and with our selves. Amen.
READ: Jesus was teaching about God’s ways of love all around Judea as he made his way to Jerusalem. News about Jesus traveled far, it even got to King Herod in his palace. Some friends of Jesus warned him to stay away from Jerusalem, because the king was there and wanted to kill Jesus.
Jesus listened to their warnings, and then told them, “Herod may be like a fox, sneaky and looking to cause trouble. But like God, I am like a mother hen who tries to gather up all her baby chicks and protect them under her wings. I’ll keep on loving people, whether they come to me seeking safety or if they run away. I’m going to Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:31-35)
WONDER: I wonder how a baby chick feels when it is under its mother’s wings?
I wonder why a chick might run away from its mother?
I wonder what it feels like to be close to God?
I wonder when you feel safe? I wonder if there is someone who makes you feel safe?
I wonder how Jesus’s friends felt when Jesus said he was still going to Jerusalem?
SAY: In this story Jesus assures his disciples that God’s love is always there for us, wherever we are.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for always caring for us just like a mother hen keeps her chicks safe. Help us feel your love, whether we are at home under your protective wing or if we’ve wandered off on our own. Amen.
READ: After Jesus was baptized, God’s Spirit led him to the wilderness away from everyone where he stayed for 40 days without food. The Evil One came near and used Jesus’s hunger to try to get him to turn a rock into bread. Jesus said no, and quoted from the Bible saying, there was more to living than simply bread.
The Evil One tried a second time, showing him a view of all the countries of the world and telling Jesus he could give him all of them to rule over. All Jesus needed to do was worship him. Again Jesus said no, and quoted from the Bible saying, we are to worship only God.
The Evil One tried one more time, and took Jesus to the top of the Temple in Jerusalem and told Jesus to make a spectacle of himself, by jumping off the building. After all, he said, the bible also says God will protect you, sending angels to catch you. Prove you’re really God’s son. And again, Jesus said no, and quoted from the Bible saying, we are not to test God.
With that the Evil One left Jesus. And Jesus was filled with the power of God’s Spirit and he returned home and began to teach others about God’s kingdom.
(from Luke 4:1-15)
I wonder what it would be like to be alone in the wilderness for such a long time?
I wonder what Jesus and God talked about while he was there in the wilderness?
I wonder how Jesus felt when the Evil One was near him?
I wonder if it was hard to say no?
I wonder what it felt like when the Spirit of God filled him?
I wonder what people thought when Jesus talked about the kingdom of God?
SAY: In this story we see Jesus resist making choices which would lead him away from following God’s hopes for his life. Even though he was by himself in the wilderness, he wasn’t really alone. God’s Spirit was with him too, helping him.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for always being near us, just as you were with Jesus when he was in the wilderness. Help us to be like him. Help us to make good choices, even when those decisions are hard. Amen.
Weekly Faith Conversations
Use these guides as conversation starters with your family. A short retelling of the scripture passage is offered, or you may want to look the story up in your own bible or in a children's bible. The wondering questions are written to open up faith exploration with children and adults.