Being Kind to God

The lectionary scripture for this week, Matthew 25:31-40, follows a series of parables about what heaven will be like. This scripture serves as the final statement prior to the passion and the resurrection in the book of Matthew.

Ask the children if they have ever given God some food? What about a drink? Have you given God clothes? Or taken care of God when God was sick? Tell the children that you want them to listen to what Jesus has to say about this. Read the children Matthew 25:31-40. Explain that Jesus is saying that all people are part of God’ family. And when you help anyone in God’s family you are helping God.

Ask the children again. Tell me about a time you gave God food. Tell me about when you gave God something to drink. Tell me about a time you gave God clothes. Tell me about a time you took care of God when God was sick. Allow children to share stories after each question. Help them connect to the things they can do to help the people of God’s family.

Share

Shine Your Light

In this week’s lectionary scripture Jesus shares another parable with us. Matthew 25:14-30.

Begin by reading the scripture to the children. Say to the children that this scripture was a little confusing when you first read it, and you had to do some investigating to find out what it meant.

Say to the children that the first thing that confused you was the word talent. Discuss that the word talent in Jesus’s time did not mean the same thing that it does now. Talent was a large sum of money. Just one talent was about what an average person would make in 20 years. That would be about half a million dollars today. And the man in the parable gave one of his servants 5 talents! That sure is a lot of money! Now even though Jesus uses money as the example in this story, I don’t think he was only talking about money. I think Jesus was talking about using what we are given, both the abilities we have and the money we have. I like to think of it as God’s light in us.

Let’s focus on the three servants. Ask the children what did the first two servants do? They went out and invested their money. Do you think they had ever tried those things before? Probably not! I bet they felt a little bit afraid to try something new, but they went out and did their best. They let their light shine! And they were rewarded!

What about the third servant? What did he do? He hid his money and waited. Why do you think he did that? I think he was afraid. But instead of using his gift anyway, even when he felt afraid, he hid the gift. He let his fear control his actions. He hid his light. And in the end he was alone in the darkness..

Ask the children what message this scripture has for us? Guide them to the idea that God wants us to use our gifts and talents (both the ability kind and the money kind)! God wants us to shine our light everywhere we go!

To close sing with the children this version of the song “This Little Light of Mine.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpU1GqoO8i0)

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Even when I’m afraid, I’m going to let it shine.
Even when I’m afraid, I’m going to let it shine.
Even when I’m afraid, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Share

Be Prepared

We continue our study of Matthew with the scripture from Matthew 25:1-13.

The focus of this scripture is about being prepared. When talking with children I prefer the version from Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible-Year A pg 236. This version turns the story into being prepared for a wedding party (all the village is invited and asked to bring food to share. Some prepare their food early and others wait. When it’s time for the wedding those that prepared are ready to go, those that aren’t have to hurry and fix their food. But by the time they get to the wedding, the party is over and they missed it). I think this version of the scripture is easier for children to understand than the idea of virgins trimming their lamps. If you choose to use the traditional scripture I would substitute the word women for virgins so that you don’t get sidetracked onto a whole different discussion about what virgins are!

Ask the children if they have ever missed out on something because they weren’t prepared. Then share an example you have of a time where someone experienced that. My example would be a story about my oldest son. Each week my boys are expected to put their laundry away on Monday afternoon. My oldest son comes home from school, gets a snack, does his homework, practices piano and then puts away his laundry. Usually these tasks can be done fairly quickly, but this particular Monday he was being pokey. He was playing around and not completing his jobs. After dinner he still wasn’t done with his laundry. At that point his friends were all outside playing and he REALLY wanted to go too, but his laundry had to be completed first. By the time he was done it had grown dark and his friends had gone inside. He was very sad that he had missed playing with his friends.

Tell the children that Jesus told us a story in the book of Matthew about being prepared. Read Matthew 25:1-13 (adapt as needed to make it appropriate for children). When you finish reading the scripture ask the children if they can think of times they have to get prepared (for school, before a test, packing for a trip, before cooking, etc).

Close by reminding the children how important it is to think ahead and be prepared for what you are doing.

Share

Humble Yourself

Decide on one or two “rules” that you could break during this lesson with the children. If you are doing this at home perhaps it’s eating dessert in the middle of the day. If you are using this at church maybe it’s eating in the sanctuary or texting/listening to music. Whatever you choose make sure it is one or two rules you can visibly break during the lesson. Gather whatever materials are necessary for your rule breaking.

Gather the children and give them a firm lecture about why they have to follow the rules. Really lay it on thick telling them what a problem it is for these particular rules to be broken. The entire time you are talking to the children about the importance of rule following be sure you are actively breaking those same rules. If possible keep lecturing until someone speaks up about how unfair you are being.

Discuss with the children how it made them feel to be lectured about following a rule that you were breaking. Ask them if they have ever seen someone say one thing but do another thing. Share with them Matthew 23:1-12. If you have Ralph Minton’s Lectionary Story Bible – Year A the scripture is on page 231.

Jesus didn’t believe that the people in charge got to do whatever they wanted. Jesus taught that if you tell others to do something then you should do it too. That the leaders of the church, even the pastor should be serving and helping others. It’s our job to take care of others no matter who we are.

Teach the children the song Humble Yourselfto help them remember the scripture lesson of today.

Share

Love the Lord with All Your Heart

This week’s lectionary scripture is Matthew 22:34-40

Ask the child(ren) to name some people they love. You may want to record a list of the types of people (mom, dad, grandma, friend, teacher, etc) Once you have a list of several people ask how we show our love to those people? Do we show our love to our Mom and Dad in the same way we show love to our best friend? Have the child(ren) list several ways they show love (ex: hugs, kisses, smiles, high fives, etc).

Say to the child(ren), “did you know there are rules about who to love?” There is a scripture where Jesus tells us who we should love. Listen as I read to see if you hear what the rules are.” Read Matthew 22:34-40 (if you have Ralph Minton’s Lectionary Story Bible – Year A this scripture is on pg 228 of year A).

When you finish reading ask the child(ren) if they heard the two rules for who to love. What did Jesus say was THE most important thing? Jesus said that loving God was the most important thing.

Ask the child(ren) if they remember the other rule. Remind them that this one was almost as important as the first one. If they need a refresher re-read Matthew 22:39. Acknowledge that loving our neighbors is almost as important as loving God.

Say to the child(ren), “Who do you think Jesus meant when he said to love our neighbor? Do you think he meant only the people that live next door to us? Who else could he have meant?” Discuss the idea that Jesus was telling us to love people everywhere. Even those we have never met. Generate some ideas about how we can show love to people we have never met.

Let the child(ren) know that there is a song that helps us remember this scripture. Sing it together…Love the Lord (I’ve included the song if you’d like to sing along)

To finish give the child(ren) the Love Your Neighboor Handout to complete on their own. Ask them to write, or draw, ways they can show love to the people in their neighborhood, their city, and to people in another country.

Share

Give to God what is God’s

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.

  1. a coin (could be real or play money)
  2. a leaf, shell, or small stone (something to represent the earth)
  3. a heart (could be paper, felt/fabric, etc)
  4. 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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share