The Way to the Cross

Each time your child takes a Bible Quest in Guardians of Ancora, there’s a collection of activities, games and things to make and do together, all of which extend and expand the in-game fun beyond the app. Look through this collection and choose one or more ideas to help your family discover more about ‘The Way to the Cross’.

Here are some great questions to start you chatting about any Bible Quest:

  • What sort of thing has this Bible Quest reminded you of, that you knew before?
  • What new things have you discovered, as you’ve played this Bible Quest?
  • Is there anything you’re going to keep thinking about, from the Quest?

New activity ideas are added for each Bible Quest, as well several collections of activities about prayer, stories and so on. Look out for more Family Activity downloads, as your child plays more Bible Quests.

A quick introduction to spiritual styles

Family activities from Guardians of Ancora are devised to inspire varied ways of knowing God:  four distinct avenues for connecting with him through word, emotion, symbol, and action. These ‘spiritual styles’ are broad approaches to spirituality and faith, through which children experience God and make sense of their lives in the world around them.

If you want to find out more about spiritual styles, this article is a helpful introduction to a fascinating topic:

http://www.faithformationlearningexchange.net/uploads/5/2/4/6/5246709/saturation_spirituality-creating_environmentsthatnurtureallchildren_-_csinos.pdf

Protests and riots

Bible link

Luke 23:13–56 (also Matthew 27:15–61; Mark 15:6–47; John 18:39 – 19:42)

What you need:

news (newspaper; websites; broadcast news)

What you do:

This Bible story starts with a crowd of people, protesting about Jesus and shouting to have him killed, even though Jesus had been found not guilty.

When you see a news item that includes angry crowds, mobs or riots, or if there is a gathering of protesters in your city or town, use the event to spark a conversation with your child. Don’t overdo it: the aim here is to open up the topic and wonder about something together.

See how a crowd of people can sound very loud, be very noisy and make an impact. Of course, they may not always be angry and many “protests” are for good causes. Use events from the news as a link to the crowd in this story. Help your child connect the high emotions of the current situation with the way Jesus was tried.

Say something like:

  •       “See how easily this could get out of control?”
  •       “Do you think government and leaders find it easy to make calm and fair decisions with the crowd like this in front of them?”
  •       “Can you imagine Jesus getting a fair trial here?”

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.

Cross alert

Bible link

Luke 23:13–56 (also Matthew 27:15–61; Mark 15:6–47; John 18:39 – 19:42)

What you need:

eyes and observation skills

a camera (optional)

What you do:

The symbol of the cross is all around us: on buildings, in art, as jewellery and in designs. Crosses are everywhere. Not every cross we see is meant to remind people of Jesus’ death: it has come to mean other things, maybe as a shape on a flag or a simple pattern.

Keep a lookout for crosses as you go about your daily routines. Challenge your child to point out any crosses they see.

Perhaps your child would like to take photos and make a collection of different crosses they find in their neighbourhood or on their travels?

Encourage them to give each cross a title that says a little bit about how it makes them feel, or maybe what they think it shows about the story of Jesus.

This activity will encourage children with symbol- and action-centred approaches to knowing God.

Dark times: dark story

Bible link

Luke 23:13–56

What you need:

seven candles or tea lights

matches/a lighter

the words of Luke 23:13–56

What you do:

The story of Jesus’ death is sad and sobering. It is important for children to experience all of the range of emotions in life and faith: this story gives opportunities to grapple with sad or difficult emotions, in a secure and loving environment.

The story of Jesus’ death is quite long (about 800 words, in the Bible). Together with your child, read Luke 23:13–56 in the dark, by the light of seven candles. (Be alert to health and safety. Do not leave lighted candles unattended; or leave children and candles together unattended!)

Read six verses at a time, and then blow out one of the candles.

It will get darker and darker as the story goes on, symbolising the sadness of the death of Jesus.

At the end of the story, blow out the last candle and pause in the darkness for a little while.

If your child isn’t likely to be enthusiastic about a long reading (it will take about 8 minutes), read six verses by candlelight each day for a week, or every second day.

This activity will interest children with word-, emotion- and symbol-centred approaches to knowing God.

Prayers for terrible times

Bible link

Luke 23:13–56 (also Matthew 27:15–61; Mark 15:6–47; John 18:39 – 19:42)

What you need:

eight postcard-sized cards (black card would be effective if you have it, but not essential)

marker pens, glue, pictures from newspapers

carpentry nails (optional)

What you do:

As you read Luke 23:13–56, notice all the signs that show a terrible thing is happening:

  •       Everyone turns against Jesus (similar to gang behaviour);
  •       Violence;
  •       Anger, angry shouting, lies and false accusations;
  •       The sky turns black;
  •       People are crying in fear, anger and sadness;
  •       Soldiers are playing games while people suffer (unfairness, unkindness);
  •       Jesus is mocked, teased, insulted and hurt;
  •       A few people are very sad, crying and in despair.

Go through the list of things that are terrible in this story. Your child can probably name most of them. Point out that Jesus is involved in all of these terrible things. The story shows that Jesus understands what terrible things are like and knows how it feels if they happen to us or to people we love and care about.

Suggest you use this “terrible times” story to make prayer cards. Ask your child to write one “summary” word on one side of each card, then glue some “terrible times” newspaper pictures or headlines on the reverse side. Push some nails in and out along the edges of the cards (optional).

Keep these cards handy to help pray in terrible times. When your child is distressed by their own life events or by troubling global events, bring out the cards and invite them to choose one or two that relate to their concerns. Set aside a particular box or bowl for the prayer cards, in a quiet corner of your household.

This activity will motivate children with emotion- and symbol-centred approaches to knowing God.

Now you see it…

Bible link

John 19:16–30

What you need:

a sheet of paper and a pencil for everyone

a towel or tablecloth, large enough to cover a tray displaying as many of the following items as possible: a hammer and some large nails, a sponge and some vinegar or wine in a labelled bottle, two dice, a sword or a spear – a paper knife will do if you don't have a toy one (or even a real one for that matter!), a cross (use a palm cross or one made of wood, or if you haven’t got either, how about a jewellery cross?) and, if possible, a crown made from “thorns” (or a drawing of one).

What you do:

Place all ten items on the tray and cover them with the cloth.

When everyone is ready, uncover the tray and give them say, 15 seconds (or longer if you think they need it!) to study the tray and memorise the various items.

Cover the tray, give out the pencils and paper and allow a couple of minutes for each person to write, draw or say as many things as they can remember!

Finish by reading together part of the Easter story from John 19:16–30, then pray and thank God that Jesus didn’t stay dead – he came back to life again!

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.