I am sure you all have different traditions of things that you do at Easter, I love to make little gardens and chat to the children about what we are doing and why.
In this season as we are spending more time at home, I’d thought I’d share an activity for the whole family to take part in if you wanted. Here are some tips on how to make your own Easter Garden. You’ll need the following items –
Large shallow tray/ dish/ pot
Small cup or pot
Sticks – 3 long and 3 shorter
String or elastic bands
Larger stone go across the ‘tomb’
Place some soil in the base of the dish, then place your small pot or cup on its side two thirds of the way back. Fill the space and cover to make a hill.
Take your three longer sticks and 3 shorter sticks. Using elastic bands or string secure them together to make a cross.
Place stones or something decorative on the soil in front of the tomb. Then cover the mound with moss or grass, you could even plant some small plants there is you wanted.
Finally, place the crosses on the hill and the stone across the tomb and place some where as a reminder. Don’t forget on Easter Sunday to roll the stone away and have a party! If you make one, why not share with others what you have done and why.
Throughout history flags and ribbons have been used in many significant ways – declaration and proclamation, worship, battle and celebration. Flags have become increasingly popular in churches to demonstrate freedom of expression and encourage other people to experience and try out dance and moving with their faith. Today I want to share 4 good things to know about worship flags in the Bible.
Know this before you start
Flags and banners themselves have no power. The significance
is in Scripture and what they symbolize, God ‘inhabits the praises of His
people’ and brings the kingdom in when we choose to take them up in faith.
However, I feel strongly, that flags and banners should not be picked up lightly. There is a lot more power in them, than people realise. They are a vehicle to talk to God, to communicate, worship and share your heart. Be aware of this, as you choose to move with them.
Let’s try and understand them a bit more…
How are worship flags used in the Bible?
Historically in the Bible there were 4 different ways worship flags and banners were used. Let’s look at an overview.
Israel’s banner of God being with them demonstrated how they were a people who belonged to God. They housed the Ark of the Covenant, with them morning and evening. It was a symbol of God saying I am with you, just like we have the Holy Spirit.
Each tribe had one rallying point for the fighting men of the tribes. This brought together a demonstration of military and fighting force. They could look to the horizon and know the banner they needed to get back to.
The next level was tribal unit identity. There were 3 tribes on each side NESW, so they knew exactly where they belonged – their identity.
Finally there were family clan units – these were based on the location of other banners, families always knew where to camp. The banners acted as reference points, therefore giving individuals purpose and vision.
What can banners do?
Tell people who you represent, bit like a signal pole always high on a hill.
Signal of intent about what is to come – Jeremiah 51.12
Indicate past victories they’d come through – different ribbons are attached to their pole under their banner depending on the battle won. Psalm 20.5 and 7
Indication of Gods presence – Moses and Aaron’s staff are banners that have been lifted and a response occurred. Exodus – 25
Put enemies to flight. Isaiah 31.9
Remember this going forward about worship flags in the Bible.
This is very quick overview of the use of worship flags in the Bible. But hopefully offers you a small insight into what the Bible says, and areas to think about when you choose to dance with flags.
I like to remember it as a visual demonstration of a spiritual truth. Just like moving normally, you never know the impact moving with flags and banners can have on you and others who may witness it. The colour you use can create just as much impact.
Finally, want to come and try using resources during your worship? Then get in touch with me here to chat about me coming to your church, where you can try out ways of moving with flags, ribbons and material. No prior experience necessary!
You can also head to Shop where there is a selection of flags, ribbons and streamers that you can purchase to get you going.
Want to keep up with UC Grace journey? We’d love to keep you in the loop. Head here to get your name down!
Ribbons are another way to bring colour and movement into
dancing. Not only do they raise the eye level upwards, but the colour and the
way the ribbon moves speak to different people in so many ways.
There’re short ones, fat ones, thin ones, long ones,
multilayer ones, it’s only your imagination that can limit the type of ribbon
you can make and use. But just like with flags, there are a few things that you
should always remember when choosing to move with a ribbon.
It’s all about the
wrist! The ebb and flow of the ribbon is created via the flex, rotation and
flick of the wrist. It’s always best to hold the ribbon wand at the end to
allow greatest movement and extension during your dancing. Much like with the flag,
the ribbon is an extension of your arm, but unlike a flag, it moves, wraps,
knots and twists a lot more easily. Clear precise movements of the wrist and
body (!) help to maintain the ribbon in a place of hover and shape in the air.
The length is important!
As mentioned above, you can have ribbons in whatever length you want. However,
I would say there are some exceptions. Children can operate a ribbon best under
2m, and I’d recommend 1m or even shorter (on a curtain ring) for children aged
2 – 5 years. Children will naturally want to move with a ribbon, instinctively
they are drawn to it. But, their spatial awareness, movements and concentration
can cause the ribbon to get wrapped up, knotted, hit someone and sometimes used
a weapon or toy.
For adults starting out I’d recommend starting at around 1.25m or 3m, no longer. You need to build up the strength and movement technique with your wrist before moving onto something longer. Some dancers move with up to 6m of ribbon, but the understanding and movement capabilities of the dancer is much greater.
Dancing with a ribbon you can sometimes get stuck using the
same sort of movements, but you have your whole body too. Unlike the flag, this
lovely piece of ribbon really can mimic your movements in the shape it creates
and the way that it moves.
The video below demonstrates how ribbons can be seen up
high, but also how their movements flow and sit well with how the rest of the
body naturally moves. The dancers in this dance were from all different
backgrounds, some with no dance experience, some with lots. In this instance
the ribbons allowed everyone to be on the same level, take part and move together.
So, they can be an excellent tool at drawing those who could
be nervous, interested but not tried it, or have different abilities, together
to move and dance as one.
Do you use ribbons already? How did you find getting started
with them, getting the movements from the wrist right and using your whole body
If you’re interested in trying out moving with some ribbons you can head here, where you can find some different colours and lengths to get you going. There are one’s available on curtain rings too, for the little ones. Pop back and let me know how you get on.