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  • Writer's picturejosie

Wild Wonder September 13: Happy Birthday Incarnation!

Check out Liz’s letter for details on our Sunday birthday celebration in the park! (Rain plan: regular service at 5pm on zoom; no Wild Wonder.) If you can, stay and help with the stream clean up—bring water shoes if you’d like; though if you’d rather not get wet, there’s plenty of “rubbish” to find in the rest of the park!—and even pack a picnic.

In Sunday’s Gospel reading we’ll hear another of the “great sayings” or maxims of Jesus, teaching us how to live, loving God and loving others.

“. . . forgive . . . not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21b-22

Either before or after church, you can read this short verse and discuss with the kids (who are 6 and older), using a few of these questions:

  • How do you feel about this saying from Jesus?

  • What do you think the listeners thought at the time?

  • Wait. . . what does forgive mean?? Maybe establish the context of canceling a debt.

  • Can you think of anyone who’s a good example of forgiveness?

  • Do you feel like it’s easy or difficult to forgive?

Friendly encouragement: it's tricky to establish new family prayer and Bible study rhythms without it becoming another school requirement. Let’s practice being OK with long pauses! Ask questions without expecting particular answers. Let yourself be surprised by the the way your kids may think differently about this than you do; welcome the insights that your kids bring. If we were in atrium I’d be trying to set it up so that the kids would take the lead in the discussion.

Zooming out: I’m thinking about how stressed out we and our kids are right now (and indeed, we were prior to COVID-19!); I want church and family prayer time to provide a respite. When it comes to wonder-ing together over God’s words and His love for us, we may need time to unlearn some of our usual question-and-answer patterns.

Enter... art!

Our art and music selections are intended to offer a couple more areas in which we can practice enjoying and pondering something together—no pop quiz at the end! (And absolutely skip this stuff if it doesn’t serve you right now.)

On Sunday, we’ll hear stories and remember what God has done. And Jacob Lawrence was a wonderful story teller!

detail of Jacob Lawrence's Brownstones

Artist bio. If possible before our Sunday service, give the family a little background on our artist for this fall:

  • Jacob Lawrence was born in Philadelphia a little more than 100 years ago. At 13 he moved to Harlem—a neighborhood in New York City famous for being a major hub of African American art, music, and culture.

  • When Jacob took art classes at a community center, his teacher knew right away that Jacob was a gifted artist. Jacob himself was surprised that he could actually make a living by painting! He was hired by the Works Progress Administration to paint murals to beautify public buildings.

  • Jacob Lawrence became famous especially for his series of paintings that told stories: about his time in the military, the life of Harriet Tubman (which we’ll look at next month), the Great Migration. He’s also known for his paintings showing daily life—like Brownstones.

Look together at Brownstones. You can just chat about it, or play a game depending on age and interest:

  • I Spy … I spy something blue, brown, etc. A circle, a rectangle. I spy a grandma. I spy a dog.

  • Re-create. Set a timer to look at Brownstones for one minute. When the minute’s up, turn over the painting, and use your own pencil and paper to recreate as much of the picture as possible. Give yourselves one minute, five minutes, or an unlimited time until everyone’s finished. Return to the original to compare and enjoy looking at everyone’s work.

Did anyone notice the shapes in the painting?

Did anyone notice the colors?

Did anyone notice a detail that others overlooked?

Make your own Jacob Lawrence-style painting at Incarnation’s birthday celebration in the park Sunday!

  • We’ll all [be doing our best to] remain on our own picnic blankets and stadium chairs during church. If you’d like, bring the kids’ favorite art supplies (watercolors, pastels, crayons) and paper (even a sturdy piece of cardboard or the inside of a cereal box). During worship they can begin working on a colorful, lively depiction of our church family in the style of Jacob Lawrence.

  • They might begin by selecting a color scheme, and certain shapes to repeat throughout the scene—like the rectangular doors, windows, even the girls’ dresses in Brownstones.

I’m envisioning balloons, trees, blankets, people, (chalice, paten)?! Can’t wait to see the fun details our artists choose to include.

Wonder all week:

  • For the picture book lovers: check out Jake Makes A World by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts or Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence by John Duggleby.

  • More for your school-at-home art class: This study guide from SCAD’s art museum offers several activity ideas and jumping-off points to study more of Jacob Lawrence’s paintings, including Brownstones.

  • Background for the adults: here's a nice video overview of Lawrence’s Migration Series, featuring Bryan Stevenson of Just Mercy fame.


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