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Day four

Tabitha: the Beloved Servant

This is the page for Day Four.  On this page you can find background for Tabitha as well as an explanation of the key beatitude.  In addition, you can find the story/service, art, science, and games guides with demonstration videos as well as the music guide and whodunnit episodes.  Those guides are also available on the home page along with the overview.  

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:3 

Click or tap on these icons to take you to the right guide.  You can also find the supply list here:

Whodunnitepisodes

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Story/

service

Art

science

Games

music

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A note to Families: activities during VBS at church may only take about 20 minutes but that's made possible by lots of prep work.  Preparing for and completing an art, science, or service project might take all day.  That's okay!  You have all summer to explore the mystery museum.  

Day four

Tabitha: the Beloved Servant

Learning Objectives for the Kids:

  • Tabitha devoted her life to helping others.  She cared that the hungry had food to eat and that everyone had clothes to wear.

  • Tabitha was very popular but this wasn’t because she was rich or pretty or had the best things.  Tabitha was popular because she truly cared about other people and worked hard to help them.

  • Tabitha’s example was so important that Peter even brought her back to life so that her example could continue and spread.

  • Tabitha didn’t change the whole world; she helped people right where she lived and that is just as important.  Lots of people helping right where they are can change the world.

  • Jesus showed us that the people we should focus on are the most in need and that the people we should be like are those who use what they have to help others.  If we all took that message to heart, we would have heaven on earth.  In this way we are all blessed more than can be measured!

Background on Tabitha:                                 Acts 9:36-42

     Tabitha lived in Joppa, a port city in ancient Israel.  This was the time just after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.  Israel was still under Roman rule and so Tabitha was also called Dorcas in the common language of the empire and the region, Greek.  Tabitha was renowned for her charity and devotion to serving others.  She may have been very wealthy or she may have been poor but what we know for certain is that wealth only mattered to Tabitha in as much as it could be shared to relieve those in need.

     Tabitha died.  She grew ill and passed away.  The apostle Peter was nearby and heard of Tabitha’s death from many who loved her.  They brought Peter to her body.  Peter brought Tabitha back to life.  Together they walked out among the people and many turned to belief in Jesus. 

     Obviously Tabitha was a special person.  Peter must have encountered many funerals and many friends and family in mourning but, as far as we know, he only ever brought back Tabitha.  But that’s not what makes her special.  Tabitha was so beloved that her admirers and friends sought out the miracle worker Peter to undo death and bring her back to them.  But that’s still not what makes her special.  Tabitha served others.  That’s what makes her special. 

     She wasn’t a miracle worker.  She wasn’t a queen like Esther, an apostle like Mary, or a warrior prophet like Deborah.  She was simply someone who served.  In fact the Bible does not tell us whether Tabitha believed in or even knew of Jesus or whether she was ever baptized.  We can safely assume that she did believe in Jesus, yet the mere fact that she was charitable is enough indication from Holy Scripture for us to know that Tabitha was a truly special follower of Jesus. 

Key Beatitude:                         

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3 NRSV)

Being poor in spirit does not necessarily mean that someone is poor by worldly standards.  In other words, being poor in spirit is not the same as being the opposite of wealthy.  Indeed, this beatitude pushes us to understand wealth as something beyond money or possessions.  We are talking about spirit.  What kind of spirit did Tabitha have?  Whether she was rich or poor, her spirit was charitable.  Perhaps being poor in spirit means that you give so much of yourself to others that you have little left.  Perhaps being poor in spirit means that life circumstances—hardship or persecution—have so diminished your spirit that you feel empty or without worth.  Both were Tabitha’s sort of people.  Both sort of people were her friends and companions.  In the Lutheran church we use a word called accompaniment.  The basic idea is that you embody a willingness to live alongside others who you sometimes serve, sometimes serve with, and sometimes are served by.  You never consider yourself greater than the person beside you.  You cultivate a spirit that is poor in boasting and rich in empathy.  That sounds a whole lot like Tabitha.      

Special Prayers:  As you learn about Tabitha, you’re invited to choose a prayer to repeat throughout the day.  The goal is to memorize the simple prayer so that it is there for you and your kids whenever you might need it in life, just like God.  You can choose between the more challenging prayer poem and the rhyming kid’s poem:

Tabitha Kid’s Prayer:

Help others to love what is best in me, 
not my riches but the gifts I share.
I promise to be someone who cares.  
I know your gifts have set me free. 
Amen.

Tabitha Prayer Poem:

I am sewn to you Holy Spirit.  
Where I am frayed, you fringe me with faith.  
Where I am torn, you tie me to yourself.
Where I am worn through, you weave me wholly into you.
Amen.

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Mystery Museum Story and Service

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Click or tap the icon for a day four pdf of the story guide that you can view online or print.  The guide includes a daily guiding question, learning objectives, supplies list, an activity introducing kids to the Bible story, questions to go with the Bible character video, instructions for a service learning project to reinforce the story, as well as a final lesson reflection.    

Service learning

Go deeper into the story by serving.

Right now, hunger is a big issue for many many families in your own community, and the issue is only growing.  Today you can go deeper into service learning with Tabitha by helping to distribute food.  

Little Free Pantries are spread all over the country and are a place where anyone can get free food staples.  They are open 24/7 and are located outside so they're a relatively safe option during the pandemic.

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Check the website for a drop-off location map.  You can place food directly in a Little Free Pantry.  They also have great resources if you want to build and install a Little Free Pantry in your area!  Also check online with your local food bank for it's current needs.

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Mystery Museum Art

Ancient Adventure maps

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Click or tap the icon for a day four pdf of the art guide that you can view online or print.  The guide will lead you through creating an ancient and mysterious-looking map of your community.

Learning Objective: Looking at Jesus’ kingdom is like looking at a map
where all the places that help people are highlighted. The place you live is full of different people who Jesus called your neighbors. It’s a place full of God’s adventure to help those neighbors.

Questions to ask the kids while you’re creating your community map together:

  • Can you find our house on this map? (Help the kids to mark that spot on the map.)

  • Can you find our church on this map?

  • Can you find your school on this map?

  • Can you find your friend’s house, your favorite park, your grandparent’s house, the library?

  • What are other important places on a map? For example, a food bank for people who need food or a hospital for someone who is sick.

 

Click or tap the video icon for a video demonstration of Ancient Adventure Maps.

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Mystery Museum Science

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Click or tap the icon for a day four pdf of the science guide that you can view online or print. The guide will lead you through revealing beautiful patterns in milk and a surprising element in cereal.

Learning Objective: We eat cereal just about every day. Why?
Because cereal is an excellent way to get a lot of the minerals and
vitamins that our body needs. Tabitha was a regular person who had an
extraordinary life because she devoted it to providing for others. From
the outside Tabitha might have looked like nothing special but looks
can be deceiving. When she suddenly wasn’t there any more, the
people were desperate to get her back. Our foods, like cereal, often
hide something special too.

Food is Fantastic

Questions to ask the kids while you’re exploring together:

  • Has anyone ever told you that you should drink your milk to grow big and strong?

  • Where does milk come from?

  • What’s the difference between milk and water?

  • What do you think is hidden inside milk?

  • Are there also surprising things hidden inside your cereal?

  • How did those things get there?

  • Do you eat the same breakfast every day?

  • How did Tabitha’s community count on her every day?

  • How can you be like Tabitha for your community?

Click or tap the video icon for a video demonstration of Food is Fantastic with Bow-tie the Science Guy.

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Mystery Museum Games

Mapping the Minefield

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Click or tap the icon for a day four pdf of the games guide that you can view online or print.  The guide will lead you through making and exploring a mysterious new land.

Learning Objective: Where can you find help while trying to walk
through the world in the right way? You can always look to God for help! How can you be of help to others? There are always ways to help those in need; you just have to be ready and willing. That’s how Tabitha lived her amazing life.

Questions to ask the kids while you’re playing together:

  • When you’re out walking someplace new or exploring, do you always know which direction to go?

  • How do you figure out the right way to go?

  • Do you ever ask for help or rely on other people?

  • Has anyone ever asked you for help in knowing which way to go?

  • Do you think you can ask for God’s help?

Click or tap the video icon for a video demonstration of Mapping the Minefield.

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Mystery Museum Music

Tabitha Song: We thank you

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Click or tap for the

Mystery Museum theme song.

Tabitha served because others needed her. She mended clothes and restored lives. Serving is how we and Tabitha say thank you to God. We thank God for Jesus’ love by sharing that love with others. Tabitha teaches us that foremost among our basic needs is God’s love.

Each day's song comes to you from the Saddleback Kids youtube page.  The song is presented with easy-to-learn motions.  Click or tap the video icon for the music video.

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whodunnit

Mystery Museum Whodunnits?

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A whodunnit is a mystery story that you can solve with the characters as you read along. You can also easily adapt these stories into skits. Click or tap the icon for a complete pdf of the whodunnits that you can view online or print.

At the mystery museum, Shurkey Holmes is going undercover to find some more clues before time runs out to solve The Case of the Vanishing Portraits.

Click or tap the play icon for a reading of this whodunnit episode from Pastor Katie.

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What's going on with that portrait?

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The Mystery Museum learning guides as well as the whodunnits were all written by Deacon Dan. He also created all the graphics, edited the videos, and built this website. He has served in children, youth, and campus ministries and offers these free resources on his art and ministry site, bannerblue.org. 

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