Our Lectionary focus scripture this week is Matthew 22:15-22.
Prior to your activity gather together some items for your child to reflect on. If you are using this as a children’s moment you may want to have a ziplock baggie for each child. If you are doing this at home you can just collect these items ahead of time.
- a coin (could be real or play money)
- a leaf, shell, or small stone (something to represent the earth)
- a heart (could be paper, felt/fabric, etc)
- a reflective surface (small mirror, or even a square of tin foil)
Begin by showing the children the items you have collected. Let them know that these items will help them understand the scripture you are about to read. Ask them to look at the items and think about why you chose them while you read the scripture. Hand out the bags before you begin reading the scripture.
Read Matthew 22:15-22 aloud (you can use any version but if you have Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible – Year A this scripture is on page 224-225). After reading Matthew 22:19-20 ask the children if they see anything in their bag that goes along with this part of the scripture. Ask them to look at that coin as you finish the scripture. Say to the children, “I wonder why Jesus said to give the money to Cesar and not to God? Don’t we usually talk about giving money at church too? And I wonder what Jesus meant when he said to give to God what is God’s? I wonder what belongs to God?” (allow those questions to be rhetorical and don’t ask for children’s thoughts at this time)
Redirect the children back to the items in their bag and hold up the leaf (or shell or stone etc). Ask the children where that item came from. As they answer guide them to the idea that the leaf (or shell/stone) are a part of our earth. Ask the children how we could give the earth to God? Help them see that through caring for our earth we are giving it back to God.
Now pull out the heart. Ask the children what this item represents. Once it is established that a heart represents love ask the children what we do with our love. We give love to others as we help one another. Let them know that when we love one another we are also giving love back to God.
Go back to the coin. Ask the children if there are ways to use the money to help others or to take care of our earth. Acknowledge that money is important, but it’s not the most important thing. It’s how you use it or what you do with it that counts!
Finally, pull out the mirror (or any reflective surface) and ask them to hold the mirror in front of their face. Ask the children what they see. Tell them that just like Caesar’s image was on the coin, God’s image is in them. Jesus wanted us to give ourselves to God, to use every one of our gifts to help others, and care for all of creation. WE are God’s and when we live our lives helping and caring for creation we give ourselves back to God.