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: 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: Jesus and his disciples had been teaching in the villages, and Jesus had been saying and doing amazing things. The people wondered who Jesus really was. One day, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They replied, “Some say you’re John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the prophets.”
Jesus then asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter responded, “The Messiah of God.”
Jesus said, “I must go up to Jerusalem, and I will be killed. But on the third day God will make me alive again.
Later Jesus took his friends Peter, James, and John up to a mountain to pray. And while Jesus was talking to God, he was transfigured, his face was as bright as the sun. And Elijah and Moses appeared next to Jesus. The disciples were terrified. Suddenly a cloud covered Jesus, Elijah and Moses.
A voice said, “This is my special child, whom I love. Listen to him.”
And then, the disciples saw only Jesus. On their way down the mountain, Peter, James, and John didn’t know what to say.
WONDER: I wonder what it was like to see Jesus transfigured?
I wonder how Peter, James, and John felt about what they saw?
I wonder how Peter could know that Jesus was the Messiah?
I wonder what part of this story you like the best?
SAY: In this story the disciples catch a glimpse of the mystery of how God’s presence was with Jesus. They were so amazed, they didn’t know how to talk about what they had experienced.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for Jesus and for the ways in which we see your love in his life and his teachings. Help us to share your love with others. Amen.
READ: The first followers of Jesus remembered his sermons, retelling the stories and writing down his teachings. In his teachings Jesus spoke of what it was like to live as God intends us and how we were to treat one another. He reminded them that God loves us so much and shares that love with us. When we know that God loves us, we’ll be like a light shining brightly in the world.
Jesus also said there were to be no limits to our love, that we should love others--our families and friends. And we were to love everyone--including our enemies! Jesus told his followers to love their enemies and to pray for them. Everyone was amazed to hear Jesus extend love to everyone, not just to those who love us. This was such an important teaching that both Matthew and Luke remembered it and wrote it down for us in their gospels. (from Luke 6:17-26)
WONDER: I wonder what it would be like to hear Jesus teaching?
I wonder why people wrote down this teaching of Jesus?
I wonder what it looks like to love your enemy?
I wonder what a prayer for your enemy sounds like?
I wonder what part of this story you like the best?
SAY: In this story we learn more about Jesus’s teaching. Jesus asks us to expand our love for others, starting with those near to us and extending to others, even when that love is hard to give.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for those who remembered the teachings of Jesus and who wrote them down for us. Help us to share your love with other people. Amen.
Watch the film The Fox and The Hound (1981 - Disney). Discuss the friendship between Tod and Copper. What comes between their friendship? How does their relationship change?
Read God’s Dream (2010) by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Published by Candlewick Press. Here's a video of the book being read. Talk about what you think God dreams for our world.
READ: As Jesus was teaching how to love each other, he met people whom he invited to join him in his work. Those people are called disciples. One day Jesus was at a lakeside teaching, he saw some fishermen named Simon, James, and John working on their nets. He told the fishermen to go back out on the lake and let down their nets. Simon told Jesus they were tired after a long night of fishing, but they went anyway. And they caught so many fish, their nets almost broke. Everyone was amazed. When they got back to the shore, Jesus told them:
“There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.”
They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.
--Luke 5:1-11 (The Message)
I wonder what Simon and his friends thought when Jesus told them to try fishing again?
I wonder what Simon, James, and John left behind to follow Jesus?
I wonder what part of this story is most important?
I wonder what part of this story you like the best?
I wonder if Jesus still needs disciples?
SAY: In this story we see that Jesus invited ordinary people to help him share God’s news of love and care for the world.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for the people who are your helpers, for those who teach us about your love. Help us to share your love with other people. 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.