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  • Writer's picturejosie

Wild Wonder June 14: Trees

This summer, Incarnation families are gathering weekly at Alcova Heights Park, or at home, or in another lovely natural spot for a relaxed time of family prayer and nature exploration—read this post for a quick primer. Here's this Sunday’s wonder-worthy scripture:

Luke 19: 1-6, Jesus and Zacchaeus

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.

Nature focus: Trees

Perhaps we’ll find a sycamore tree to look at in the park! However, our American Sycamore trees are not the same kind of tree as the one Zacchaeus climbed, which is an ancient fig variety. (Here’s the one in Jericho people think it could be!) Kids can select some leaves to illustrate or tape in their nature journals.

Options for wondering all week:

  • Climb a tree. How does your view change from up there?

  • Identify the trees in your own yard or street. Here’s an online tree identification tool

  • “My Tree” activity adapted from Play the Forest School Way: In the park or yard or an area with several trees, take turns with partners. Partner 1 chooses a tree and kindly leads blindfolded Partner 2 to it. Partner 2, in the blindfold, touches the tree, smells it, examines the bark, the roots, etc. Then Partner 1 leads the way back to the spot where they started. Remove the blindfold, and see if Partner 2 can use that sensory info to identify which tree it was. (Reverse roles because it’s fun to do both parts!)

  • Listen to “Jesus loves Zacchaeus” by Rain for Roots, feat. Sandra McCracken

  • For older kids, read again the extended version of Zacchaeus' story (Luke 19:1-9). Talk about the context of Zacchaeus being a tax collector in the Roman Empire. What did that mean? How did he feel at the beginning of the story, and at the end? How did others feel about Jesus’ going to his house? What do we think about it? (No right or wrong answers, but plenty to discuss!)


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