Can you remember the moment when you first made the “God Connection”? Some of us ‘come to Jesus’ as adults after times of great joy or suffering. Did faith just sneak into your day-to-day life or maybe you are one of those who have been zapped with an Ah HA! experience?
My own ‘God moment’ came as a very young child. Probably a good thing, because church was not part of my family experience in childhood. But, on a sunny spring day when I was about six years old, between one breath and the next, God was just there. In a moment of clarity that makes me smile even now, I just knew I was God’s; He was Mine and that’s the way it would always be. No matter what. And yes, there have been plenty of whats.
The next best thing to having your own God moment is helping someone else step on that path of discovery, especially if that someone is a child–which is why I wrote my book, Feed My Lambs. A very long eight years passed between the idea and holding the finished book in my hands.
Feed My Lambs started as three yellow legal pads that traveled with me any time my husband and I were going to be in the car for longer than thirty minutes. So the manuscript went to LSU football games, rode down to New Orleans to visit my daughters, and made lots of journeys to Mississippi to visit my son and his family. It even went to San Francisco and New York on fun trips, filling empty airport waiting time.
When you decide to become a teacher, you usually don’t have to obsess about which age group you want to work with. Both my son and oldest daughter are natural born High School teachers. I firmly believe there is a special place in heaven for Junior High School teachers. For me, early childhood was the only way to go. I love the age of magical thinking, when a leaf can be a boat and a puddle, the ocean.
For sixteen years I taught at St. James Episcopal Day School in Alexandria, LA. Childen’s chapel was every Wednesday morning at 9 AM. Seeing the pride and excitement of a four year old who had been selected as one of the ‘candle holders’ for the short service, seeing their earnestness as they said together, “Jesus is the Light of the World” is a sweet memory still.
I saw many priests come and go during that time at St. James. Sometimes the head pastor, sometimes the curate. For the most part, the same wonderful speakers that I would hear preach an exciting sermon on Sunday became stiff, formal and dis-engaged when dealing with young children. There were a few that felt comfortable sharing the Gospel in an age appropriate way with a hundred two, three and four year olds, but they were the exception, not the rule. There had to be a better way.
Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches all follow the same lectionary, a set of readings for every Sunday of the church year, in a three year cycle. The readings are a collect, or opening prayer, a psalm, an old testament reading, a new testament reading and a gospel reading. I chose one reading for each Sunday and made a short exciting presentation for that reading that would hold a small child’s attention and yet still get the point across. There are samples on my website, www.WinterTreesPublishing.com
Now, I don’t know about the Methodists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics and Presbyterians, but as a cradle Episcopalian, I can tell you that we don’t do family devotionals. But Baptists, Pentecostals and other scripture based non-denominational faiths do have regularly planned Family Time –a special time set aside to grow faith in the family. So, I added a scriptural cross reference index so Feed My Lambs can be used by any church that uses the bible and wants to reach small children.
Many people think that deep spiritual questions can only be asked and answered of grown-ups. For me, God happened between two breaths, a time divider, a before and an after. If you want to know what God looks like, ask a four year old…and get ready to be surprised by what you hear.
Thanks for giving me your time and space, Christa!
This well organized volume has a short sermon synopsis with Questions and Answers for each Sunday of the Three Year Lectionary Cycle with separate indicies for supplies and a scriptural cross reference for Non-liturgically based faiths.
Beverly Easterling, a writer and teacher, was on the faculty of St. James Episcopal Day School for sixteen years and also served on its Board of Directors. She has been a trainer for the ground-breaking Safeguarding God’s Children workshops used by the Episcopal Church to educate those who minister to children in regards to child abuse. She is a lyricist who has collaborated with noted composers Robert J. Powell, Mark Hayes, Mark Schweizer and George Mabry. Her work is found in Voices Found, a supplement to the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal. She lives in Alexandria, Louisiana.
FOR ORDERING INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Alexandria, LA 71301
Top Ten Reasons to order Feed My Lambs:
|10.||Sermons so easy even the Vestry can understand them!|
|9.||No more staying up late on Saturday Night worrying about your Children’s Moment!|
|8.||Will free up time to spend with Bridezilla and her Mom to explain why live pigeon release isn’t allowed in weddings at your church.|
|7.||You look really prepared when the Bishop comes to visit.|
|6.||Gives the choir something to do besides passing notes and sharing cough drops.|
|5.||Keeps ushers awake!|
|4.||More time to hone your sudoku skills!|
|3.||It’s easier than turning water into wine.|
|2.||WWJD? Buy this book. That’s what!|
|1.||For all the little angels in your congregation!|