Living a Life of Faith, Energised by Love
These last weeks, we’ve been swamped with ideas for what to do with children. Here are some suggestions for exploring a story from the Bible together during the holidays. If you can’t source the suggested materials, use what’s available at home!
If you’ve got a Bible you can find this story in Luke chapter 10 verses 38 to 42.
Jesus and his friends often travelled around the country meeting up with people and talking with them. Sometimes Jesus would tell stories to crowds of people. Occasionally he made sick people well or helped them in other ways. His disciples would travel with him.
Jesus also had a few special friends, people he could relax with, people who welcomed him into their home - friends like the two sisters, Martha and Mary along with their brother, Lazarus. They lived near to Jerusalem in a place called Bethany.
Talk about and, if possible, find photos of any family or celebrities you know, with at least two sisters. Draw them or simply make a list. Who is the older sister? What’s it like to be an older or younger sister? What’s the age gap between them? You could add in a brother to expand the conversation.
Martha met Jesus at the door. She was so pleased to welcome him. He was her favourite guest. She made sure his feet had been washed after walking on the dusty road. She did the same for his disciples too. For several minutes she was so busy making sure everyone was comfortable.
“Let me get you something to drink,” she said. But she felt rather flustered. As happy as she was to welcome Jesus, he had come with all his disciples. They all needed to be looked after. There were so many of them. She bustled into her kitchen.
Have fun and try something new!
Martha did have a servant girl to help her but there was so much to do, especially as her guests were hungry and wanted something to eat. They had such big appetites. She sent the servant girl to buy extra food. She began to panic.
In the middle of her panic she looked around for her sister, Mary. Where was she? Why wasn’t she helping? Surely she wasn’t with the Jesus and all his disciples! She dropped her knife on the work surface and bustled into the room where Jesus was. And there, sitting right in front of Jesus, was her sister Mary.
She tried to catch Mary’s eye, but Mary was concentrating on Jesus.
“Mary!” Martha whispered loudly. But Mary never heard.
“Mary! Mary!” Martha whispered a bit louder! But Mary had her eyes fixed on Jesus.
Martha frowned and turning to Jesus blurted out crossly, “Jesus, tell Mary to come and help me. Doesn’t it bother you that she’s left me with all this work to do!”
Plan how you are going to do the job, how long it will take, who is going to do what! Then tidy up!
Talk about why this job hadn’t been done. How you all felt about the delay and how you all felt while doing it. Did everyone work the same amount? Imagine how Martha felt, with all preparation for drink and food, probably without any warning. She so wanted to please Jesus. And Mary wasn’t pulling her weight!
Everyone in the room looked at Martha, including Mary. They could see how hassled she was. Then they looked at Jesus to see what he would say. Would he be cross with Mary for being thoughtless or lazy?... Or cross with Martha for interrupting him?... Or what?
Gently Jesus turned to Martha and said, “It’s OK, Martha! I can see you are worried about so many things. You’ve got lots to do and I’m grateful to you. But it’s also OK for Mary to listen to me, if that’s what she needs to do right now. Do you hear what I am saying?”
Martha knew Jesus had understood her even if she couldn’t quite make sense of it!
Talk about what you would have expected Jesus to say to Martha. What other ways might he have solved the problem, remembering that, in those days, women did the jobs at home and may even have eaten in a different room from the men.
Think about what you would want Jesus to do if he came into your house. How would you welcome him? One child once said to me, “I’d know Jesus felt at home with me when he put on his slippers.” Draw a picture to give Jesus. Or create a card inviting him to come. What sort of things would you want to talk about with him?
Then prepare food you would want to share with Jesus
Talk with Jesus
Notice Jesus wasn’t cross with Martha or Mary. He praised Mary for listening to him. He understood how worried Martha was. Talk with Jesus about the things that worry you, but don’t do all the talking. Make sure you listen to Jesus too.
Mary might have joined in this song ‘Who I am’ by Awesome Cutlery. The first line of the chorus addressed to God is: ‘I want to know who I am, So I’ll listen to you!’
Adapted from, and with thanks to, Barnabas in Schools, Messy Church (BRF)