Tag Archives: birth

Nicodemus and the children: Lent 2 Stories and Stations

In case any of you are working on the RCL text this week–here are stations based on the FIRST HALF of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus along with our kid telling!

And check out Story Divine for a telling of the whole story!

Kids tell John 3:1-10, 16-17

This is a tricky story to have the kids tell–it’s hard for adults to understand! What I am learning from these experiences of putting the kids on video is that so much more of the learning of the story happens in the watching–not the participating. This is not surprising, but I continue to be surprised by how engaged the kids are in watching the story. I chose to leave out verses 11-15 because I thought it would be too much for the kids to do without a lot of unpacking. Normally when I tell stories, I do not omit verses. I also used the Common English Bible (CEB) for the telling. It is much easier for kids to speak aloud (and often for people to understand). On occasion, we changed some of the language to accommodate the kids, but I do not believe this sacrificed the integrity of the story in any way! Here is the CEB version of John 3.

If you want to hear the story told in full and begin to learn it yourself, see my previous post with links to Tim Coomb’s telling.

WORSHIP stations

Our worship stations this week included the following:

Lent prayer wall 2

Prayer wall (week 2): My husband and I constructed this prayer wall out of wood and chicken wire–then we painted it with chalkboard paint. Each week something different is written on it. Participants were asked to pray about something concerning birth, life, death, or new life–writing it one a slip of red paper (a new color each week) and putting it in the wall.Global Prayers (week 2): Last week we circled places we were praying for…this week participants were asked to write words that named the things that come into the world through the gift of God’s son.Lent globe prayers 1 Lent globe 2Water and Spirit: The notion of being born of “water and spirit” can be a bit…puzzling. Participants were asked to take a puzzle piece and draw an image of water or spirit. They were also asked to take an edge piece and write a word or phrase which described what it might look like to be born of water and spirit.Lent puzzles 2Lent puzzlesLent ROCKS: This week, remembering that Nicodemus recognized Jesus as a teacher from God, we used our rock words to teach one another. Each participant left a “teaching” for the next participant to read. (We had each person take a picture of their rock teachings.)

Lent rocks 2
Tell me a STORY: Our “story booth” continued with the recording of stories about “encounters with strangers.” Stay tuned for more info next week…we had one elementary school boy tell us about meeting his friend for the first time and their subsequent formation of the “Elemental Buddies.” LOVE.

We also played back our stories of birth, adoption, and new beginnings in the narthex. Amazing. (I hope to post some of these later…but I need some more time to edit!) Lent story stations

Finally, we set aside part of the sanctuary for telling stories of birth and adoption. Baby dolls were put out for the youngest kids. Folks were encouraged to tell their children stories of their births…and folks who did not come with children were encouraged to tell someone the story of their own birth or adoption.






Of course, we also premiered our video.Lent video pic



Christmas by Heart: Day 10

Almost there! Last two videos will be released Monday and Tuesday. Have a great weekend!


Day 10

Our CHRISTMAS Story Part 1

Our Christmas Story

Over the next few days, we will explore ways to learn to tell Luke 2 (the birth narrative) TOGETHER! Though these activities are meant to be intergenerational, some activities may require reading, in which case I will note possible alternatives for non-readers. In addition, though I provide a translation based on the NRSV and CEB, for the younger set, you may want to find a good children’s version and learn it by heart–the introduction to Luke 2 might present a particular challenge. That being said–never underestimate your kids–they tend to AMAZE.


God of our story
Be with us
As we learn and share
As we listen and tell
As we seek to know you
In this story
And to be known by you
As we tell it


a walk down MEMORY lane…

1. TEST YOUR MEMORY: The story of Jesus’ birth is perhaps the most well-known story from the Bible. Before you begin to learn it by heart, see what you can remember. Without looking up the text, jot down all the parts of the story that you can recall. If you are working in a group/family, have someone keep notes for the group as you remember the story together. Jog your memory by asking yourself: Who? What? When? Why? Where? How? 

2. ORDER THE STORY: Now that you’ve got the basics down, print and cut out (along perforated lines) the actual birth story (see below). Once you’ve cut out the story into parts, mix them up…then see if you can piece the story together in the correct order. You can work in groups/pairs/individually–just make sure you have enough copies. For non-readers, proficient readers can read the parts of the story to help non-readers rearrange.


Read it ALOUD…and WALK

1. PICK AND PRINT your translation–make sure each reader has a copy (if you are working with young children, you may want to locate a children’s version of the story, create one yourself, or consider learning only a part of the story this year)

Below is my formatted-for-storytelling version of Luke 2 (Note: these are two different files due to formatting issues)

Luke 2 1_20 Name Epidsodes PAGE ONE Luke 2 1_20 Name Epidsodes PAGE TWO












2. READ ALOUD: Loudly and while moving (as able), read the story out loud twice. Notice what you notice as you read and move. Don’t worry about what other people are doing!

For younger set: Get out your nativity set! While adult reads aloud (2x), kids enact the story with their nativity set. Following the reenactment, kids should try to retell the story in their own words. Don’t have a nativity set? No problem! Make a paper one! Here is a printable–though a quick Google search will bring you to many different kinds.

3. LOOK IT UP! Are there words or phrases that are causing you to stumble? Look them up! I will have some more helpful background hints in a later post, but, to get you started, below is some pronunciation help for that pesky name “Quirinius”…

Our Story, God’s STORY

TELL A STORY of a significant birth/adoption in your life.

What do you remember? Who was there (or wasn’t)? Where were you? When did it happen? How did it come to pass? Did you sense God’s presence at that time? Do you now?

Parents or grandparents, this is a great time to tell your children/grandchildren the story of their birth/adoption!


STAY TUNED for the next “Our CHRISTMAS Story” Post!


A lot more than John 3:16–Lent 2 for Telling


John 3:1-17
As told by Rev. Timothy Coombs
Recorded for the Network of Biblical Storytellers
Link to full text HERE

This is the story for the second Sunday of Lent. I love Tim’s portrayal of Jesus and the way he tells the story as a conversation (because it IS a conversation). Jesus does not speak from “on high”–he does not condescend–he tries his best to explain to Nicodemus what it means to be born again (or, as the NRSV translates, “born from above”).

What did YOU notice about the way Tim told the story? Who is Nicodemus in this telling? Who is Jesus? To whom do you relate?


Gestures can greatly enhance the telling of a story. While it’s best not to overdo it, while you are learning the story try on gestures. Some questions for consideration when using gestures: Does the gesture feel natural? Does the gesture further the audience’s understanding of the story? Are you gesturing in the “right” direction? Are you committed to the gesture? Does it need to be a BIG gesture, or will a more subtle gesture do?

Play with the line below…what gestures might Jesus use as he explains his point to Nicodemus in your telling?

Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Go back to the video and observe the way Tim uses gesture–it is both natural and intentional.

yOUR stories

For all ages: 

*Tell a story of birth or adoption.

*Tell a story about a time you got a second chance.

For the older set:

We often hear the words of John 3:16 alone: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” These words are sometimes used as a means of exclusion. Some of us even have baggage around them. Tell a story of a time you felt included or excluded within the Christian community.


Watch Timothy Coombs as he discusses his use of performance criticism in learning the story.

Check out the website Biblical Performance Criticism for more information on performance critcism.