Come and See
– 2023 resources for families
Jesus is BRILLIANT! One of the best things about Jesus is that he lives the stuff he talks about, showing us how to be and do the way of life that we call Christianity. In Lent 2023, we invite you and your family or household to join us in exploring this Jesus Way together. We’re using the Beatitudes to see what Jesus set out in his manifesto for turning the world upside-down.
It's never too late to Come and See, register to recieve weekly emails during Lent or scroll down for top tips and information.
Why the Beatitudes?
We’re using the Beatitudes to see what Jesus set out in his manifesto for turning the world upside-down. The Beatitudes are not an aspirational good behaviour chart for Christians, nor a ‘must try harder’ school report, nor even ‘something else to do’. In fact the Beatitudes help followers of Jesus see God at work in the world and challenge us in our attitudes towards others. Jesus needs his disciples to know how to spot the coming of God’s Kingdom and the authentic faith and spirituality and joy in the now which enables hope in the future. As we explore the Beatitudes together we'll see God at work in the world and how he challenges us in our attitudes towards others.
At its core, this resource has six contemplative practices of stilling, noticing, dwelling, mending, filling and blessing. These practices are deeply rooted in ancient Christian traditions and spirituality and have recognised beneficial effects on wellbeing, flourishing and good mental health.
There are ‘scripts’ to help you have the words for the practices and tips to help. Be re-assured that this resource is offered into the reality of life with children and young people, so sitting, silence and serenity are not the top expectation! You are offered ways to help more active children give it a go.
- Stilling is a way to enter a spiritual and emotional space where we intentionally make room to come close to God and ask God to come close to us.
- Noticing uses a simplified Ignatian Examen (an ancient prayer technique) to guide us deeper and further, drawing attention to where God is at work in us, in others, in life.
- Dwelling is about rooting life, relationships and experiences in scripture, allowing God’s word to dwell in us as we dwell in it. This is a wonderful practice that enables us to ‘Let the word of Christ dwell [in us] richly’ (Colossians 3:16). Experience shows us that the more we dwell in God’s word, the deeper it dwells in us and enables us to grow as ‘noticers’ of God’s activity for good in the world.
- Mending invites us to consciously encounter forgiveness (forgiving ourself and others and being forgiven) and healing.
- Filling recognises the need of the Holy Spirit to complete in us the work begun in Mending.
- Blessing focuses on human flourishing, taking us into an awareness of the blessings we receive and inviting us to choose to be a blessing to others, as individuals and as a family.
Do note that they are called practices for a reason! Keep giving them a go, noticing where and how they are particularly helpful to you and your family.
Additionally, there are ‘conversation starters’, a variety of activities and even links to films created by school chaplains suitable for Key Stage 1 and 2, with pauses for questions which are also available for households.
Come and See is an extensive buffet for your family or household to dip into each day or a few times a week. Take as much, or as little, from it as you want.
'Have you got objects, ornaments or other things around your home that bring you in mind of any of the Beatitudes or help you think about them?,' writes Yvonne Morris, co-author of the Come and See family resources.
'For example, in our house, we have a marble ornament depicting a sea turtle emerging from its egg. My daughter said this put her in mind of ‘Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth’. She further explained it; “The marble turtle represents this because those who are meek might be shy or timid, like the turtle. Then a turtle coming out of its shell is like entering a new world or becoming part of this world and could therefore ‘inherit’ the earth.” As a family activity, what can you each find around your house and how do the items help you think about the Beatitudes? Perhaps you could clear a shelf or make a special place to keep these objects during Come and See?'. There is a prompt to add to this each week during Lent.
Suitable age ranges
Every person has a part to play in sharing God’s love for the world through their actions. Children are not immune to the concerns of the world. They too dwell in a wonderfully amazing but imperfect world where they see and experience danger, injustice and fear. We cannot wholly protect our children from these aspects of life, neither should we, as we seek to enable them to grow in empathy, resilience and wisdom. Working out how we each be kind, just and loving is the essence of the lifelong journey with God. Jesus gave us wonderful clues about this in his life, his stories and his teaching, which we seek to explore during Come and See.
Whatever the age of children in your household, include them! Be open and big-hearted, expecting to hear that your child and God have been doing ‘business’ together without the need for adults to intervene (remember the Samuel and Eli story? Eli instructs Samuel so he can listen to and talk with God himself, Eli doesn’t say ‘let me just talk to God about that for you’!).
This is an adventure, an exploration, a journey. Come and See is not another set of facts to memorise and learn. We’re going to take a little time and space to connect with ourselves, each other, God and the world around us. Your household might like to journal or scrapbook this journey together. Documenting your journey through the materials each week is a great thing to do. Click the text bars below for our top tips on journeying with children and your job as the grown-up in the room.
[The following information is also available as a PDF document that you can print out stick on the fridge.]
This is an adventure, an exploration, a journey. The six weeks of Come and See are not another set of facts to memorise and learn.
We’re going to take a little time and space to connect with ourselves, each other, God and the world around us.
It’s about noticing, wondering and questioning. Not all the questions we give you will have factual answers that you will know the answer to. That’s OK. Don’t fear children’s questions, instead explore them together by responding: ‘That’s a really good question, tell me what you think’, or ‘I wonder if…’, or ‘I’m not sure, but I notice
You can check with children if their questions are for wondering or if they need to know an answer. If they are ‘need to know’ and you don’t know an answer, enjoy the opportunity of working together to find out the answer in the Bible or online.
What we’re asking you to try during Come and See takes practice and it needs your patience. Keep things short and sweet. Encourage quiet times but don’t get cross if there isn’t silence. Toys or objects to hold can help. Also, show how and then invite children to lead your time together, it doesn’t matter how old they are! This is a together journey, so allow yourself to be led by them!
Use the Bible version or translation that is most accessible to everyone present. Use the full Bible text if you can. A storybook bible can be ok, but it is worth checking if it has all the story that you need! Is the Dwelling story included in the book? Important things are often left out from simplified versions, or an aspect of the story is emphasised in an unhelpful way.
Finding the right words (or the Lego brick)
For a person of any age, finding the words to describe spiritual experiences and connections can be very difficult. This is doubly challenging for children who have less vocabulary to begin with. So try not to push them to describe or tell, unless they really want to. You can suggest colouring, drawing, making, modelling (with Lego, wooden bricks, Playmobil, Minecraft or any natural materials) alongside using words to tell.
And remember that silence is also an appropriate response. Even when you are curious, allow the child to know that they can choose if and what they share. Assume they are wondering inside themselves. After all, we are inviting ourselves and the children to come close to the existential questions of life.
These are big wonderings and can need a lot (maybe even a lifetime) of reflection. So giving a verbal response quickly may not be possible for anyone! Keep coming back to it.
Our role as the grownups in the room is to do our bit enabling children to grow in empathy, resilience and wisdom. Working out how we each be kind, just and loving is the essence of a lifelong journey with God. Jesus gave us wonderful clues about this in his life, his stories and his teaching. This way of being believes that every person has a part to play in sharing God’s love for the world through their actions.
During Come and See we will encourage you to notice children’s passions and desires, and (where possible and appropriate) to help them show God’s love in their actions and make a difference in the world.
One of the many fab things about God is that we are invited to come to him any time, in any way, and at any place. Come and See for families invites everyone to try this out in different ways over six weeks during Lent 2023:
- Explore and journey together
- Have a go at creating space to be with God, yourself and each other
- Wonder about God and notice and learn together
(don’t worry, you're not expected to know all the answers to the questions that are asked!)