A request from Fr John: Adults, when's a good time for your kids to meet with Fr John and Linda via Zoom? (Soon!) Drop Linda a quick note with times that work for them, please!

Also, please share this email with your youth. If you'd like me also to send these emails to the kids, please email me their addresses & your permission. Thanks! Linda

Not One Falls Unperceived

June 19, 2020

What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.

1) Begin with a transition time – Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc. Not a focus on a finished product; just enjoyment.

2) Next, clear the space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105. Offer your own prayers, silently, or out loud.

3) Here are the appointed readings for June 21. Find them in your Bible. Read them out loud.

Our focus for this class = a few lines from the Gospel, Matthew 10:29-31:

(Jesus said) "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows."

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
The Hebrew word translated as sparrow is "tsippor" (like chirp or twitter). These cheap little birds were sold to be roasted as snacks. (!) What would be a modern-day equivalent: something plentiful, something just so ordinary, unremarkable, basically worthless, replaceable, insignificant, even a nuisance?

Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father.
BUT even little tsippors are valuable in the eyes of their Creator!

Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent: look up these powerful words. Do they describe your perceptive Father (Mother/Parent/Creator/God)?

How does it make you feel to know that even "worthless" actions are being perceived?

"Perceived" = "attained awareness or understanding of" (Merriam-Webster).
Who understands you?

And even the hairs of your head are all counted.
Doesn't matter if you're bald, haha. Still counted! But, wow, how many hairs are on an average head? (90,000 to 150,000, says Google.)

- Take a look at this Psalm, #139:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.

You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
    if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10  even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast.

11  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night,”
12  even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13  For it was you who formed my inward parts;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15      My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16  Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed.

17  How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18  I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
    I come to the end—I am still with you.

So do not be afraid;
It's awfully hard not to be, we're wired that way (meet your amygdala !). But remember:

you are of more value than many sparrows. And God means that. God sees you, knows you, is in front and in back of you. God's hand rests upon you.Take heart!

4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's commentary about it – do you agree? Do you feel called to do something?

5) Brainstorm & make a poster, your choice: Top 10 Things I'd Address if I were Omniscient and/or Top 10 Little Things that are V Important to Me . T ake a pic; email me !

6) Snack time! Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for," etc. Maybe have a private chat about omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence!
And/or take 5 or more minutes for centering prayer: relaxing into peace and letting thoughts go. Enjoy your snack.

7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato. Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud: Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! ALLELUIA!

News & Tasks:
- Is there a virtual thing we can do? Share it! So we can do it! Write to me or to Fr John, who is always available: stjames.frjohn@verizon.net .
- LMK if you want the links to past classes. You may find that the ways you think about things or the ways you act change over time, especially during these ponderous, pondering days.

Anti-racism - Join other youth in the diocese and our Bishops in conversation, leading to action: Sign up for this online event, happening Sunday, June 28, 1-2:30pm. Read all about it - click here . And click here to register in advance (you must register to attend).

And, note, Diocesan Youth Council (DYC), for grades 10-12, is reforming in a new way. Interested? LMK ! Or check out https://www.diomassyouth.org/diocesan-programs.
Also - how are you? When can we Zoom?

What can I, or Fr John, or our church, do for you?

LMK ! - Peace, Linda