Ways to present the readings
Ask people to think about a tree that they know. Ask them to imagine touching the bark; looking up into the branches; seeing the leaves; birds in the branches – and perhaps other creatures that live in or on the tree. Ask them to imagine themselves becoming the tree.
Alternatively, have a few volunteers mime for others to watch – their bodies become the trunk, their feet become roots reaching down into the ground, their arms stretch up to become branches.
Imagine the tree in the different seasons and weathers – all the time being held in being by God.
Ask people to listen to the reading, mindful of the special place that trees have in displaying God’s loving nature in and for creation.
Cut up an apple. Ask for a volunteer ‘mindfully’ to eat a segment, describing the experience as if they had never eaten an apple before. Show some of the apple pips, using or adapting these words to introduce the reading:
‘From these small seeds, more huge apple trees could grow, eventually producing more fruit and seeds. We can cooperate with the process: we can plant the seed; we can provide a good environment. We can also enjoy the process: the growth, the nesting birds, the blossoms, the flavours and nourishment of the fruit. But we cannot make it grow. God, through nature, does that. And so it is in so many areas of life.’
Invite people as they listen to the reading to think about what would be good ‘seeds’ to sow, and how they might give those seeds a good growing environment.
Ways to present Mark 4.26-34
Activities marked with an asterisk next to the activity title are in addition to the resources in the Ready to go sessions. Suggested timings for these activities are also shown. NB The inclusion of additional activities varies from week to week.
Give each child a seed to hold in their hand as you tell the story.
Jesus liked to tell stories to help people understand about God’s kingdom.
Once he told a story about some seeds.
He said that if someone plants some wheat seeds, they grow all by themselves, whether the person is awake or asleep.
The plant grows bigger and bigger and the wheat gets ripe and can be cut down in the harvest.
Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed, which grows into one of the biggest garden plants, and birds can sit in its branches.
Read the story and pause at the to share these points with the children (see Stop and share below). Then use the activity to explore the passage together. (10 mins)
Click on the image to view a PDF.
You will need: a tray of soil; sections of the story written on scrolls of paper.