READ: When the gift of the Spirit was given to the followers of Jesus, they did amazing things, just as Jesus had done. They came together to share food and resources, to study scripture together, and to pray. Some people were healed by the disciples. They did amazing things in Jerusalem, in Samaria, and in other towns, too.
In the town of Joppa there was a believer named Tabitha who had also received the gift of the Holy Spirit, she did what Jesus would do, but in her own special way. Tabitha helped the widows and the poor. She made clothes for them. Many people loved her.
One day Tabitha got very sick, she was dying. After she died, her friends were sad. The women she had helped took water and cloth and washed her body, and then they placed her upstairs. Other disciples sent for Peter. When he arrived, people whom Tabitha had helped were crying. They told stories about how much she had given to others and showed him the clothes she had made. Peter was moved by this, and he began to pray. He turned to her and said, “Tabitha, get up!” And she opened her eyes. Peter took her hand and helped her up.
When everyone saw she was alive, many people believed in Jesus and began to follow the way that was the kingdom of God. (Acts 9:36-42)
WONDER: I wonder why Tabitha helped people in need?
I wonder how the people were feeling when Tabitha was dying?
I wonder how Peter felt when he saw her friends crying?
I wonder what it was like to see that God made Tabitha alive again?
I wonder what the people will do in their own special way to show their love for God?
I wonder what is the most important part of this story?
SAY: In this story we see that the Holy Spirit helped people learn to follow Jesus, by doing things which help others. Tabitha followed Jesus by helping those in need. Peter followed Jesus by teaching and healing others. And when people saw Tabitha and Peter following Jesus, many wanted to follow Jesus, too.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Help us learn to help others, just as Jesus did. Amen.
READ: Once a man named Saul was going from Jerusalem to Damascus to find Christians he could bring back to punish. In those days Christians were known as “Followers of the Way.” On the way to Damascus a dazzling light flashed around Saul, blinding his eyes. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice say, “Saul, why are you trying to hurt me?” Confused and blinded, Saul asked, “Who are you?”
The voice responded, “I’m Jesus, the one you’re trying so hard to hurt. Get up and go into the city. Once you’re there, you’ll be told what to do next.”
Saul got up, but still couldn’t see. The people with him took his hand and led him into Damascus. He stayed in a home on Straight Street. He didn’t eat or drink anything.
On the third day a man came to him, Ananias, a Follower of the Way in Damascus. God had sent him to meet Saul. Ananias had come, even though he knew Saul intended to hurt people like him. Ananias said, “Brother Saul, you saw the Lord on the road and that same Lord Jesus came to me too, so that you could see again and receive the Holy Spirit.”
Saul heard him, and it was like fish scales fell from his eyes. He could see, and he understood what Ananias meant. Saul was baptized by Ananias, he ate a meal, and felt restored. Saul was changed. Like Ananias he became a Follower of the Way. To mark this moment, Saul changed his name to Paul. (Acts 9:1-20)
I wonder how it felt when the light was flashing on the road to Damascus?
I wonder how Saul felt when he couldn’t see?
I wonder how Ananias felt when God told him to go find Saul?
I wonder how Saul felt when he had a change of heart?
I wonder what part of this story you like the best?
I wonder what part of this story is the most important?
SAY: In this story Saul has a change of heart and becomes one of the first Followers of the Way to know Jesus in this “new way.” He joins the other disciples who have met Jesus since he was raised. And that is how we meet him today, too.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for loving us just as we are. Help us to be sharers of your love with others. Amen.
READ: Easter is so amazing and important, one Sunday is not enough to explore its mystery. We are now in what is called Eastertide, the season of Easter which stretches from Easter Sunday to the day of Pentecost. On the evening of the first Easter after God raised Jesus from the dead, the disciples were together in a house with the doors locked because they were afraid of the soldiers. Someone said, “Peace be with you.” It was Jesus. He said, “As God has sent me, I am sending you.” And then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Thomas had been away that night. When they told him, he said, “I won’t believe Jesus is alive until I can touch his wounds.” And why wouldn’t he have some doubts? Their minds were stretching…stretching to know Jesus in this new way.
The next week, Thomas joined them at the table, and they closed the doors. A voice said,, “Peace be with you.” It was Jesus. He went right up to Thomas and held out his hand, “Touch me.” All Thomas could do was fall on his knees, and he said, “My Lord, and my God.”
Jesus looked at him a long time. “Do you believe because you have seen?” Then he slowly looked around the whole circle and said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:19-31)
WONDER: I wonder how the disciples felt when Jesus appeared to them in the locked room?
I wonder why Thomas wanted to touch Jesus' wounds?
I wonder how Thomas felt when Jesus said, "Touch me"?
I wonder if you've ever had doubts about anything? I wonder how that feels?
I wonder what is your favorite part of the story?
SAY: In today’s story we find the first disciples learning to know Jesus in a new way after his resurrection.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for listening to us when we have questions. And thank you for loving us just as we are. Amen.
READ: Early on Sunday morning, a group of women, all friends of Jesus, came to the tomb where he had been buried in a hurry. They brought spices and scented oils with them to properly finish his burial. But when they got to the tomb, the stone at the opening was rolled away and his body was gone. As they wondered about what had happened, two men in bright shining clothes appeared, saying “Why are you looking for the living in a cemetery? Jesus isn’t dead. Remember he told you that after his death he would rise again?
They did remember, and they went back to the other disciples and told them what they had found in the graveyard. No one believed them.
Peter wanted to check for himself, so he ran to the tomb and saw that it was empty. He went back to the others amazed at what he had heard and seen. (Luke 24:1-12)
WONDER: I wonder what it was like going to the tomb that morning?
I wonder how the women felt when Jesus died?
I wonder how they felt when they saw the tomb was empty?
I wonder what it was like to hear that Jesus was alive, that he had risen?
I wonder what it felt like to tell others that Jesus had risen?
I wonder what it felt like when the other disciples didn’t believe the women?
SAY: In this story we hear the good news that Jesus is alive, that the love of God is stronger than the forces of hatred and fear in our world.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for Jesus, for the ways in which he shows us your love. Thank you for the hope you give us, that goodness is stronger than evil and love is stronger than hate. Help us to love as Jesus loved. Amen.
READ: It was the time of year when the people of God went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Passover, to remember how God saved them and brought them into freedom. Jesus and his disciples were going too. When they were close to the city, Jesus sent two disciples to bring back a colt for him to ride. They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats onto the colt’s back to act like a saddle. On the road people gathered to watch Jesus ride by, and they threw their coats onto the road in front of him. Some hoped that Jesus would be their king.
Soon the crowds began to sing and shout, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace and glory!
Some of the religious folk were upset at the rowdy parade, and they said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell your disciples to put a stop to this noise.”
Jesus smiled back and said, “If the crowds were silent, the stones would shout out loud.” (Luke 19:28-40)
WONDER: I wonder what people thought when they saw Jesus riding the colt into Jerusalem?
I wonder how Jesus felt when the crowd wanted him to be their king?
I wonder what kind of king Jesus would be?
I wonder what it would be like to live in Jesus’ kingdom?
I wonder why the religious folk wanted the parade to stop?
I wonder why the people started shouting and singing?
I wonder what makes you want to sing?
SAY: The season of Lent, when we get ready to celebrate the mystery of Easter, is coming to a close. We are watching Jesus as he makes his way to Jerusalem. He is showing us the way God wants us to live. Jesus says even if human beings are silent, the rocks--a part of God’s creation--will speak of God’s love.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for music and times of celebration. Teach us to look for beauty and goodness in our world and to share that beauty with others. Amen.
READ: On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus stayed nearby in Bethany with his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. As Martha was serving dinner to Jesus and his disciples, Mary came over to Jesus. She wanted to do something special for him. So she took a beautiful jar of perfume, poured it all over his hot and dusty feet, and then dried his feet with her hair.
The sweet smell filled the room, and everyone turned to see what had happened. Judas, one of the disciples, was not happy, “Why are you wasting such an expensive perfume? You could have sold it, and given the money to the poor!” Judas wasn’t really concerned about the poor; he wanted the money for himself.
Jesus smiled at Mary and said, “She has done something beautiful. It is like a blessing for me. She has anointed me for my burial to come. Leave her alone.” (John 12:1-8)
WONDER: I wonder how Martha, Lazarus, and Mary felt to have Jesus stay with them? I wonder why Jesus chose to stay with them? I wonder what special meal Martha may have prepared for Jesus? I wonder how Mary felt as she emptied the perfume on Jesus’s feet? I wonder what Jesus thought as Mary poured out the whole bottle? I wonder what the other disciples thought about what Jesus said? I wonder which part of this story you like the best?
SAY: In this story we see Mary showing her great love for Jesus by pouring out her perfume on his feet. She knows he won’t always be there, and she gives the best of what she has to him.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for the people around us who give gifts of beauty, love, and kindness to others. Help us to share our gifts with others. Amen.
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.