FreerangeFriday: the Spiritual Practices of Play and Celebration

by Lilly Lewin

By Lilly Lewin

In the States, summer is winding down and we are anticipating the beauty of Fall and cooler weather. For some the summer has been filled with more travel than in the past two years and more time with friends and family. For some who work in  ministry, the summer is the busy time of year with camps and mission trips and special events. For some of us we are still exhausted, realizing that the pandemic is still lingering on and we have a lot less energy to “do all the things” than we did in the “before times.”  I really think that we all have a lot less margin than we think we do. We need more down time and more time to recover from events and experiences because we are all out of practice with being together.

How has your summer been? Where have you seen God at work in your life? What things do you need to take time to remember and to CELEBRATE?

I think we need to be reminded to celebrate and rejoice in the good things that we’ve experienced in the last few months. We need to celebrate the “God Sightings” The places and times we’ve seen God at work around us. Even the little things like a beautiful flower or kids playing at the lake or in the pool.


Kids love to celebrate! Birthdays and holidays,  learning to ride a bike, losing a tooth, doing something for the first time like whistling or jumping into the pool.

When you were a child, What things did you like to celebrate?

color forms

color forms

When you were little, what things did you like to play? What games or toys do you remember bringing you joy?

I loved playing outside. We had lots of kids in our neighborhood and I spent hours playing together. I had a tree house and a play house that we made into a spy club. I loved art and making things. There was a toy called “Color Forms” that I enjoyed  and I loved making bugs with the “Creepy Crawler Kit. ” I also loved my barbie dolls. I turned a book case into a barbie house and used shoe boxes as bunk beds.

What kind of things do you think Jesus did for fun when he was a child?
Play involves freedom. It involves taking the time to find JOY. What things are stopping your joy ? What prevents you from playing now? Talk to Jesus about this.

creepy crawlers 2

creepy crawler molds

I want us to remember that childlike wonder of summer. To remember the laughter and fun of just being a kid. Take time to read this passage in the three versions. What do you notice? What stands out to you?

LUKE 18:15-17 NIV
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”


15-17 People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”


15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.
16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

What is God, the Holy Spirit speaking to you about today?

What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before? What questions come up for you from this passage?

What part of this story do you relate to in your life right now? Are you feeling like the disciples, the parents, or the kids in this passage?

Why do we make it so hard for people to be with Jesus?

What qualities and gifts that children bring to the world? How can you recapture some of those qualities? 

Jesus blesses children 1570 Anon S.Neth c.1570 Rijks

Jesus blesses children c.1570 Rijks

CHECK OUT THE ART: Look through this post featuring many artistic renderings of Jesus and the children

What is one thing you can plan to do this week to help you PLAY and experience JOY?  Could you go to a park and swing, play a favorite game, take a bike ride, skip rocks, skip rope, or just skip for fun…?
What form of play can you practice this week to help you connect with Jesus and the wonder of a child ?
Find some BUBBLES:  As you blow your bubbles thank Jesus for all the gifts of this summer. As you blow your bubbles, Pray for your family and friends to experience more joy in the days ahead.


“Stay Gentle” by Brandy Carlile

WATCH CLIP from Episode 3 of Season 1 of THE CHOSEN:

©lillylewin and

The Gift of Play is one of the Gifts in The Gifts of a Sacred Summer Kit found at  An 8 week interactive practice based kit for individuals, small groups and church communities.

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