Sow it begins
Meditate on the parable of the mustard weed
You will need: a large mustard plant painted onto a sheet of paper (e.g. a piece of wallpaper), or a prayer tree made from branches in a large pot of sand.
- Display the image or draw attention to the prayer tree. Read Matthew 21:31-32. Invite people to close their eyes and imagine the tiniest of mustard seeds sitting in the palm of their hand. This seed is blown by the wind, landing in earth. There is warmth. There is rain. The seed starts to breaks open. It grows…and grows…until it is huge…and flowering…and shedding thousands more seeds into the wind. It is relentless and unstoppable.
- After a few moments to let people follow their imaginations, explain that Jesus gave this as an image of God’s reign of love. Tiny seeds of love germinating all over the place, relentless and unstoppable. What we must do is wait and trust. Open your eyes to see. Keep one eye on the mustard plant (image or prayer tree) as we explore God’s unstoppable kingdom today; we will come back to it shortly.
W E S
Make leaves for the mustard tree or prayer tree (see Sow it begins above)
You will need: leaf shapes, crayons and/or other craft materials, glue sticks or sticky tape.
- Invite people to go outside for about 10 minutes, and to look around carefully, noticing different birds or insects, trees and plants, people, buildings or spaces – whatever is there to be seen. And, as they do so, to be aware also of themselves looking.
- After people return to their places, remind them that everything they saw, including themself, has its place as a treasure in God’s kingdom. Invite them to create an image on a leaf shape to represent something they saw outside. Fix this to the tree image or prayer tree as a sign of thanking God for what is represented on the leaf.
W E S A
A poem, a picture and a parable
A reflection on hidden treasure and priceless pearls.
You will need: copies of the poem, ‘The Bright Field’ by RS Thomas.
- Display the image of a figure contemplating a pearl (see Share the Word). Ask someone to read the poem. Ask someone else to read Matthew 21:44-45.
- Give people time to let the poem, the image and the parables speak to them of God’s kingdom or reign.
These questions may help: How does waiting and trust come into this? What for you is the hidden treasure in the field or the pearl of great price? What price do you need, or would be willing, to pay?
- Invite everyone to share their thoughts with another person, and to make another leaf for the tree (see Crafting creatures).
W E S A
Leaven the lump
Make bread as you reflect on Jesus’ parable.
You will need: mixing bowl(s), jug(s), spoon(s), baking tray(s), plus bread-making ingredients (at its simplest, bread mix and water).
- You could organise this as a demonstration from the front, with perhaps several young people to assist; or you could set up several stations where appropriately sized groups can work together.
- Ask someone to read Matthew 21:32. Then mix the ingredients and make bread as per the instructions you are using. Let them rise for the rest of the time you are together. Invite people to reflect on this process and, given Jesus’ use of it as an example of God’s kingdom, what it tells you about how God works in your community.
- At the end, take the dough home and freeze it; then bake it just in time to bring it back next week. Again, this might be done by one person, or, if in groups, each could be responsible for its own loaf. Or, if you have the facilities, it could all be brought back next week for baking.
W E S A
A prayer for all ages together
For this body prayer, invite people to sit comfortably,
feet on the floor, hands in their laps.
Pause for a few moments after each line.
The optional actions, where given, may be helpful for younger people.
Feel a sense of your body. (wiggle your bottom)
Your feet on the floor. (tap your toes gently)
Become aware of your breathing. (listen to your breath)
As you breathe in, imagine it is God breathing life into you.
Hold that breath and remember who you are – a child of God.
As you breathe out, imagine it is God’s love flowing from you to those around you.
Remember your hands, feet and love are useful to God.