Sunday 12th July
Theme: The Calming of the storm
Target Age Group: 3 - 9
Approximate Time: 20 – 30 mins
From time to time we all get scared or panicked. Things can happen which leave us feeling hopelessly out of control and this can be a scary place to be. In today’s story, the disciples are on a boat in the middle of the lake when all of a sudden they find themselves in the middle of a storm and, when they need him the most, Jesus is asleep. In the tough moments of our lives we can also end up questioning whether God even cares about our problems. But Jesus is always in control, his voice carries power and authority and with him, we are never abandoned.
Icebreaker: Jesus says…….
Someone is nominated to be the leader and they give instructions; ‘Jesus says Touch your head’, ‘Jesus says Hands on your knees’, etc. Every time they start with Jesus says the other participants have to do the action but if they give an instruction without saying ‘Jesus says’ you don’t have to do it. This is a test of listening and following instructions. Take turns to be the leader and see how you get on.
Pause for thought: Times when you were scared
Think about a time when you were scared
1. What made you scared?
2. What did you do?
3. Did you ask Jesus for help?
4. How was the situation resolved?
Song: Rescuer by Rend Collective
Play the song ‘Rescuer’ by Rend Collective
Video: The Calming of the storm
Watch the following video link with the story of Jesus calming the storm;
1. What time of day does this story take place?
2. What is Jesus doing when the storm starts?
3. What did the disciples say to Jesus?
4. How does Jesus respond to the storm?
5. What happens when Jesus speaks?
6. How does Jesus respond to the disciples?
I want you to imagine that your favourite superhero lives in the town or city where you live. And whenever people get into trouble they are always there to save the day in spectacular ways, no matter how big or small the problem. Your cat gets stuck up a tall tree… there, saved. Your brother falls off the ferry into the solent…… There, saved. People where you live feel safe and protected because the hero always seem to save the day. And then one day, you take a boat out on the sea and a storm blows in. And the rain is hammering down, and lightning is flashing around you and the waves are crashing against the side of your boat. It’s alright though because Batman or Superman or Black Panther will save you. You reach for the superhero bleep to call them and they don’t answer. You try again and they still don’t answer. And one more time. And then an automated voicemail message says that they’re asleep. And now you’re panicking because your boat is in serious trouble and the one person that can save you is having a nap. How do you feel? Angry? Scared? Let down? Like, do they even care?
In today’s passage the disciples experience something similar. They’re out with Jesus on a routine crossing of the Sea of Galilee when what Marks gospel describes as a ‘furious squall’ broke out and very quickly becomes a situation where they feel scared and out of control. The passage describes the waves breaking over the side of the boat so that it was nearly swamped. In their panic they look for Jesus, only to find him asleep in the stern. Realising that Jesus is their last hope, the disciples get angry and ask ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’
Now this is a really interesting question, isn’t it? The disciples aren’t questioning whether or not Jesus can do something to save them, they already know he can do miracles. Indeed, by this point they’ve already seen him cast out devils and heal people. It’s not about whether or not he could do it, they’re asking ‘do you not care if we drown?’ How many of us ask a similar question of God when we’re struggling or feel overwhelmed – God, do you even care? Many Christians do believe God is powerful and do believe Jesus can do something good or miraculous but the question we seem to ask is ‘Do you care enough to do it for me?’
What is Jesus’ response? Well, the passage records that ‘He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves ‘Quiet, be still’. Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.’ Wow. All that stress, all that panic and a few words from Jesus later and it is all over. And it’s not just that the storm has slowed down, it is now ‘completely calm’. Have you ever tried shouting at a storm to stop? Or shouted at the rain to go away? And if you have, has it ever worked? Probably not. But Jesus has complete power and authority over even the weather.
Perhaps the strangest thing of all is that Jesus then turns to the disciples and asks ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ What is it that they lost faith in? I don’t think the problem was that they doubted Jesus’ power, I think the disciples knew full well that Jesus could stop the storm if he wanted to. I think the real problem is that they lost faith that he cared. But Jesus did care, and he did want to act. And he does care about you. And he does care about your problems. And even when our lives seem completely out of control, God is still in control. And he can act to restore calm and peace from chaos.
So for us, let’s learn from this story. We don’t need to wish we were living in a fantasy world with superheroes for the world to be better. We have a rescuer and saviour that can save us already. Jesus has already saved us from the power of sin and the chaos and damage it brings and is willing to do the same for those around us. And when life feels out of control, or dark or scary and it seems like God either doesn’t know about your problems or doesn’t care, know that he does know, he does care and when we cry out to him, he will act to restore calm, even if we have to wait for him.
Song: You Never let go by Matt Redman
Play the song ‘You never let go’ by Matt Redman
Craft Activity: Boat Puppet
You will Need:
Sellotape, Straw, Scissors, Glue, Blue paper / card, Brown paper / card
Watch the following video and follow the instructions to make your very own storm boat puppet
Prayer Activity: Anxieties
Spend some time reading Psalm 121 and then answer the questions that come with it. Spend some time as a family sharing the things that make you anxious or worried and then pray together for Jesus to help you with those things.