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Jesus as Healer

Our four Gospel accounts are filled with stories of Jesus living out his kin-dom vision through healing. These stories invite us to explore just what healing looks like (interesting how it is often paired with reconnection and reconciliation with the community) and the power Jesus carries with him.

As adults we struggle with these stories. Did this really happen? Why this person and not another? Could this happen for me or someone I love? Children, I find, are able to enter into the story–not with less questions, mind you–but a willingness to be present, to listen and wonder.

Maybe your lectionary reading for this week has a healing story, or you’re working through some healing stories as a community. Maybe you’ve got a child who anxious and fascinated by all things medical right now, especially with coronavirus and conversations around vaccination.

Well, as we wonder about what it means to see Jesus as Healer, and to welcome the healing presence of the Spirit into our lives, why not get creative by making yourself a DIY medical kit!

Here’s what you’ll need

  • Felt
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Markers
  • Adhesive velcro dots
  • A box or bag
  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Liquid medicine syringe
  • Rubber suction bulb
  • Make a jumbo popsicle stick thermometer by marking measurements on each side of your popsicle stick. Selina added a low temperature on one side and high temperature on the other. These are great for pretending to put in a stuffies’ mouth or armpit.

    You can make bandages by cutting our felt. You can even use a large bandaid as a template! Add some adhesive velcro dots to the back of the bandaids to help them adhere to themselves (to wrap around) or the the soft material of a stuffie. We used different coloured felt for ours instead of “nude” (i.e. pink) as an intentional nod to anti-racism. Strips of white felt make the perfect bandage/cast to wrap around a broken leg or arm.

    This is our editable Check-upChecklist

    Does your doctor or nurse have a hard time remembering all the steps of their pretend medical exam? Print off our editable Check-up Checklist, which you customize with your kid’s name or name of their pretend clinic! (This is 8.5×11 PDF but by printing 4-to-a-page you can save on paper!)

    If you have any old infant care items around like liquid medicine syringes or rubber suction bulb add those as well! The medicine syringes make great pretend needles.

    Bringing it back to Scripture

    The Story of Jesus' Teaching and Healing: A Spark Bible Story (Spark Bible Stories) by [Martina Smith, Peter Grosshauser, Ed Temple]

    You can combine this kit with biblical stories like the healing of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21–43Matthew 9:18–26 and Luke 8:40–56). This is a great example because it talks about Jesus healing a little girl, and doesn’t mention sin or demon possession which can be complicated to discuss with younger children. For other ideas and child-appropriate retellings check-out compilations like The Story of Jesus’ Teaching and Healing: A Spark Bible Story.

    Connect the story with your community

    This is a great opportunity to ask children about their experience with illness. Do they have an illness, or have they ever been sick before? Selina is very intentional in the mornings when she has to take medication to talk with her toddler about what it means to be sick, to get help for that sickness. Is there an example from your own life you could use?

    Name healers in your community! Not just doctors and nurses, but pharmacists, counsellors, massage therapists, physiotherapists and chiropractor…. Can you think of any more? What about those who care for their sick neighbour by bringing over groceries and food, those who visits with and pray for those who are unwell?

    Healing as ministry

    To “minister” means to “care for”. As a church our ministry is one of healing. Healing doesn’t always mean “cure”, that the problem is fixed, it’s much bigger than that. God desires abundant life for all of us. Abundant life is possible for all, those living with chronic illness, those who are disabled, those who “healthy”. The earlier we begin to talk with our kids about what healthy looks like, what healing looks like, the better. We have a chance to discuss what a good life looks like, and how God desires only good things for them.

    So, when you use examples of healing, make sure you’re pay attention to whether your stories and examples include a diverse array of people. Talk about how healing that honours the lives and experiences of those whose illness changed them permanently, those whose bodies look different from what we usually call “normal”, and those who’ve found God’s peace and healing when cure was not possible.

    Remind yourself, and your kids, that a ministry of healing is about care for others. God has gifted and invited all of us into this ministry including them! And ask… What are ways they can live out their call to the ministry of healing?


    Looking to make a summer activity box for your kids? Here’s what we’ve heard. 

    Photo by Allan Mas on

    Let’s be honest, most of us will be planning some sort of take-home VBS or Sunday School program this summer. That said, maybe you’re struggling to know what to do. Well, we’ve been wondering what to do in our communities as well. We didn’t want to just provide a box of junk kids would look at once and then never touch again, and we wanted to encourage kids to be active this summer.

    So we asked parents and caregivers what sort of items they’d like to see in summer activity boxes, specifically things that would encourage kids to get outside and get moving. What would encourage their kids to create and explore? Here’s what we heard.

    Got something to add? Leave us a comment!

    Popular Mentions

    Other Great Suggestions

    • Flower press supplies
    • Leaf rubbing Supplies (crayons and paper)
    • Compass
    • Yo-yo
    • Animal or bird identification sheets
    • Pinwheel
    • Water gun
    • Frisbees
    • Small tent
    • Play sand/sandbox
    • Map
    • Trucks and construction type toys 
    • Whistles and other noisy things
    • Streamers/ribbons for playing in the wind
    • Racquets
    • Kite
    • Marbles
    • Cardboard boxes to play in and decorate
    • DIY musical instruments (using tissue boxes, cannisters, rubberbands, beans, sticks, tin foil…)
    • Paint for rock painting
    • Coupons for cold treats

    How to make your Easter feel sacred when you’re stuck at home

    Photo by Eren Li on

    This article first appeared on Selina’s blog, Not So Reverand, on March 29th 2020.

    So you’re stuck at home, self-isolating, and wondering what you’re going to do to make Holy Week feel, well, holy! Where you might normally go out to church to participate in the stations of the cross, a Maundy Thursday supper and foot-washing, a Good Friday service, and the big finale – Easter Sunday service! – now you’re at home with your cat. The question has to be asked, what can we do at home to make this Easter still feel like Easter?

    Here is a list of activities suitable for folks of all ages that you can try to make this coming week feel special.

    Build an altar or remembrance table in a corner of your house. Think about the table at the front of the church sanctuary, what would it look like to recreate that in your own space? You could include objects, colours and textures that remind you of the Creator/Christ/Spirit.

    Put a Christ Light in your table for meals. The candle reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the World, that there is hope even in the darkest of times. Consider lighting it every day except Good Friday and Holy Saturday to represent Jesus in the tomb. 

    Bring back grace before meals. This is a practice many households still do and others struggle with. Some enjoy a sung grace, others a lengthy spontaneous prayer. I know a few households that read a short meditation before dinner that can spark conversation. While my spouse likes a traditional prayer I prefer a deep breath and a moment of gratitude in silence. No matter how you do it it should be about thankfulness, and if you’ve got that part down then you’re doing it right!

    Watch the sunrise together on Easter morning. Missing that sunrise service? Or maybe you’ve never attended one before. Consider meeting the daybreak and soaking in some of that glorious Easter newness. 

    Read the story together. Each of the gospels offers us a Passion Story, from Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to his resurrection sighting(s). Choose one to read together. Matthew is often a favoured reading (Matthew 26:14-28:10) but this year’s lectionary also offers us John readings for each day of Holy Week

    • Monday John 12:1-11
    • Tuesday John 12:20-36
    • Wednesday John 13:21-32
    • Maundy Thursday John 13:1-17, 31-35
    • Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
    • Holy Saturday John 19:38-42
    • Easter Sunday John 20:1-18.

    Or, if you’re lazy, watch the movie! Jesus Christ Superstar is a fun classic. The Bible, on Netflix, has episodes that fit in with Holy Week (watch episode “Betrayal” for Maundy Thursday, “Passion” for Good Friday, and “Courage” for Easter Sunday). Now I would take The Bible with more than just a grain of salt.

    Share an agape feast. A relative of Eucharist or communion, an agape feast is a sharing of bread and wine that isn’t presided over by a member of the clergy. Consider making it a part of your family dinner, tell the story of Jesus’ last days together and break bread and share wine/juice in remembrance of his life and death.

    Tell one another your faith stories. Like the women at the tomb, share your stories of the risen Christ with one another! Where have you seen God at work in your own life? 

    Sing your favourite worship songs and hymns. Let those Easter hallelujahs ring out! If you need a little help most can be found on YouTube or Spotify. One of my favourites? “Morning Has broken” by Yusuf Islam. My spouse’s is “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”.

    Do some Easter themed meditative colouring. Check-out Illustrated Ministry for Easter-themed colouring sheets.

    Bake a traditional Easter treat. Does your family have a tradition of baking easter bread? There are all sorts of wonderful edible Easter traditions from around the world. Why not try something new?

    Colour and Complexity:

    Two book recommendations for folks on a journey of anti-racist parenting…

    Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

    I want to begin with a caveat; while I think many contemporary issues young families face can be tackled with a beautiful children’s book in hand, I am wary of education as being the singular approach that many white people take to combatting racism. We all have to go beyond the book clubs and act bravely to move our society to a new place. Simply talking and learning are not enough. I do believe in education, and I believe that anti-racist education, which moves beyond colour-blindness and simply celebrating diversity to truly naming and facing the struggles and inequalities in our world, is key. I believe that starting conversations with children about racism is critical and something we need to do with kids of all races, not only with the children who are forced to face it because of the colour of their skin. As a privileged white mother and youth worker, I have a choice to discuss racism and discrimination with the youth in my life. I have the choice to shield them from the bad news. Black, Indigenous and other racialized peoples do not have that choice. Non-white families are faced with having necessary and self-preserving discussions with their kids and that burden should not be placed on them alone. My social media pages are saturated with Black Lives Matter posts and police brutality remains in the news headlines almost daily; conversations about race, equality and educating children seem urgent and necessary.  Despite the prevailing beliefs of our provincial government, systemic racism is alive and well in Quebec and Canada. Unconscious bias exists and white privilege is real. So, knowing that reading books together is only one step on the journey, I will share with you two beautiful children’s books which could be tools for your home, classroom or church to begin a conversation.  


    The first book is called Sulwe, written by Lupita Nyong’o and illustrated by Vashti Harrison. This book tells the story of a young girl named Sulwe whose skin is the colour of midnight, while the rest of her family has skin comparable to sunshine and dawn and other bright things. She faces teasing and discrimination from other children and feels jealous of the lighter and brighter shades of skin she sees around her. After trying and failing to change her own skin colour, Sulwe goes on a journey of self-acceptance aided by her loving mother.  Through a beautiful nested fable about the sisters Day and Night, Sulwe comes to realize that without the darkness in the sky, we cannot see the brightness of the stars, and that her brightness and light doesn’t come from her skin colour, but from within.  Vashti Harrison’s illustrations make this book come alive with a style drawn from her film and animation background. This book is fascinating and heart-breaking to read as a white person, because it shows how pervasive and damaging anti-black racism can be, that colourism exists within a community of people who all identify as black. Colourism is prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. When reading this book with children who are not Black, I see many opportunities to talk about our ideas of beauty and treating people with respect. It is especially good for young children who might be noticing differences and observing them in a way that can be challenging in public. It is important not to shame or dismiss the differences kids observe in people, even if their observations can be awkward, but instead encourage open discussion in an affirming way. When we shut down conversations or questions about race, we are teaching children that darker skin is a source of shame and unintentionally reinforcing the idea that it is a bad thing to be Black. That is not what I want to imply to my kids as I teach them about the world.

    The Proudest Blue

    The second book I recommend reading is called The Proudest Blue.  Ibtihaj Muhammad (who also happens to be the first Muslim-American woman to compete for the United States in the Olympics while wearing a hijab) wrote this lovely book. Based on her own experiences as a young girl, Muhammad shares the story of Faizah, and her older sister Asiya’s first day of wearing the hijab. With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. She is proud of her sister’s beautiful blue headscarf, the same colour as the ocean meeting the sky. When she witnesses the different reactions to the hijab–shyness, curiosity, teasing words and threats–Faizah has to be brave and embrace the strength and pride she feels for her culture and her sister’s milestone. This book feels like a must-read for families in Quebec, where we have such a strange and disconcerting relationship with hijab-wearing people. In this book, wearing a hijab is portrayed as a rite of passage, a symbol of strength and identity and as a beautiful and friendly part of the life of Muslim women. Representation matters. This book shows a protagonist who doesn’t look like my children, but with whom they can still connect and relate.  This book shows a female Muslim role-model. That is valuable. For a young Muslim girl this book might offer an opportunity to be the hero, the protagonist, and to see her own experiences validated in a beautiful and colourful book.

    Reading diverse books with children is an important step on the journey of anti-racist education, parenting, and children’s ministry. We live in a time of great change and injustice, and I think it is important for parents to use every tool in their toolbox. Staying silent about racism is a tempting but dangerous choice; take steps to have these conversations with your kids, so we are all better equipped to combat the inequality in our world.