As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.
PreK-K and 3rd-5th
In the reading this week, Paul tells his followers: “Dear friends, you must never become tired of doing right.” –2 Thessalonians 3:13, CEV
The letter to the Thessalonians calls disciples of all ages to work together as the church. We know what God wants us to do and how we should act towards others, but it can be hard to do the right thing. Paul is reminding his followers that they must be willing to work together to help others, no matter how hard it is or how tired they become.
Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child. Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.
Yesterday, we welcomed two new members into the church through Baptism. In Sunday School, your children talked about baptism and its role in marking us a members of the church. Baptism symbolizes our entrance into God’s family, the Communion of Saints, just as their names, given by their parents, symbolize their entrance into your families.
Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
In this week’s Gospel, we again saw Jesus meet with a person who has made choices that had not pleased God. Jesus’ friends grumble when Jesus chooses to spend time with him. Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector, a group that the people of the time really disliked because many were dishonest. When Jesus enters Jericho, Zacchaeus climbs a tree to be able to see him. Jesus calls to Zacchaeus and tells him that Jesus will be his guest today and Zacchaeus promises to give away half of his possessions and change his ways. Jesus promises Zacchaeus that God has a place for him in heaven. Those with Jesus, however, don’t understand why he is giving such attention to a “sinner”. Jesus reminds them he has come, not to reward those already following God’s teachings, but to seek out and save the lost.
Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your Bible, or a children’s Bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child. Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.
This week’s lessons reminded us that none of us are without failing and that we are all dependent on God’s mercy and forgiveness. We are also blessed, however, because we know that God’s mercy will always be there for us, when we are ready to seek it out.
Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summaries, look up the story online, in your Bible, or a children’s Bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.
The Ten Lepers
This week’s Gospel told the story of Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers. In it, we hear how Jesus encountered 10 lepers on his journey to Jerusalem, who begged him for mercy. Lepers were condemned to a sad life, they were not allowed to live in the towns because people were afraid of catching their disease. Jesus took pity on the ones who called to him and sent them to see the priests. When they realized they had been cured, nine of the lepers rushed to the priests and home to their families, happy that they no longer had to live all alone. Only one went back to Jesus and thanked him.
PK-K and 3rd-5th Grade
Sunday’s Epistle was a reading from a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy. In it, Paul encourages Timothy to be a leader in the church and tell others about his faith, not be ashamed of it, because only by sharing our own faith can we encourage its growth in others. As an example of this, Paul writes about how Timothy’s mother and grandmother helped to grow Timothy’s faith, reminding him of the impact we have on those around us.
PK-K and 3rd-5th Grade
Lazarus, a poor man, begs outside the gates of a rich man, who does not help him. When Lazarus and the rich man both die, Lazarus, who suffered on earth, is found by Abraham’s side in Heaven, while the rich man, who thought only of himself, is found in hell.
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager is one of the more challenging lessons Jesus shared with his followers. The manager, caught cheating by the rich man who employed him, is fired. Uncertain of his future, the manager comes up with a plan to help others, reaching out to all who owe the rich man money and changing the amounts so they can pay less, in hopes that they will remember and help him later. He then goes back to the rich man and tells him what he has done, earning his former employer’s praise.
In Sunday’s reading, the children heard the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. When the Pharisees questioned the time Jesus was spending with sinners and tax collectors, he used these parables, or teaching stories, to help them understand why he sought out those he considered lost. In the first, a shepherd hunts far and wide for a lost sheep, although he has 99 others, rejoicing when he finds it and celebrating with his neighbors. In the second, a woman with 10 silver coins loses one and hunts for it throughout her house. Again, rejoicing when it is found and celebrating with those around her.
Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.
Godly Play- 1st & 2nd Grade: “The Good Shepherd and World Communion”
The children in our Godly Play class will hear from two lessons that are both different, but are connected to our Gospel lesson for the day and what the other classes and parents will be hearing. The lesson starts out similarly to our Gospel reading for the day, where there was someone in the land doing such wonderful things and saying such amazing things that people wondered who he was. Finally, they couldn’t take it anymore, they had to ask him. When they did, he answered them and said, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know each one of the sheep by name, and they know the sound of my voice.” He then went on to say his sheep follow him, and he shows them the way to “good grass”. Then moving on into the lesson, the children hear how the “Good Shepherd”, Jesus, calls all of his “sheep”, all the people of the world, to gather around a table. This isn’t just any table, it’s His table. During this gathering Jesus is in the bread and the wine. As this lesson comes to a close, it ends with the children looking at a very powerful image of the sheep and people of the world surrounding the table of the Good Shepherd. Continue reading “What Your Children Learned: April 17”
Godly Play- 1st & 2nd Grade: “Known in the Morning”
Pre K-K & 3rd-5th Gospel: John 21:1-14
This Sunday we remember how the disciples went north to Galilee and Jesus had told them to do. It was a long journey, as long as 80 miles, and took about four days to walk. Many of Jesus disciples were fishermen, so they went to the Sea of Galilee to rest. This was a place many of the disciples knew as young men and had fished with their fathers.
Peter announced that he was going to go fishing, so the six others joined him. They fished through the night, but by daybreak, they hadn’t caught a single fish. They were near the shore when someone on the beach called out, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they replied.
Pre K-K & 3rd-5th Gospel: John 20:24-29 “Doubting Thomas”
In the past seven weeks we have been building toward the Easter story and all that led to Jesus’ arrest, death, and resurrection. So this week, we will pick up where we left off. It was a very sad time for Jesus’ disciples after he died on the cross. It seemed like all their work and effort had come to an end. The man they believed in and had expected to restore God’s Kingdom again in Israel was now dead and buried. What were they going to do? Then the excitement of the news of the resurrection came! Continue reading “What Your Children Learned: April 3”
Godly Play 1st & 2nd Grade “The Faces of Easter 6”
Gospel of John 12: 1-8 “The Washing of Jesus’ Feet” Pre K-K & 3rd-5th Grade
Godly Play- 1st-2nd Grade | “The Faces of Easter III & IV
Last Week’s lesson, “The Faces of Easter” Lessons I & II painted a picture of Jesus, from birth through his childhood. Even then he had a clear understanding of the work he came to accomplish. Everything was falling into place for Jesus as was intended by God. He was born to Mary and Joseph, spent his time learning and teaching in the temple. As we move on to Lesson III & IV this week, the children will see the third plaque in the series, the first of Jesus as a grown man, about 30 years old. At this time in his life, Jesus went to his cousin John and was baptized in the Jordan River. After being claimed by god as His “Beloved Son”, Jesus left that place and began his 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. In Lesson IV, Jesus faces enormous temptations while he is in the wilderness. After resisting the temptations of the Devil, Jesus left the wilderness to prepare for the work he was about to do. In the coming weeks, we’ll hear more about his preparation and what exactly that work would be.
Pre K-K & 3rd-5th | Gospel: Luke 13:1-9 “The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree”
Before the Gospel of Luke retells Jesus’ parable about a fruitless fig tree, the story starts out like this. News came to Jesus about some Jewish people from Galilee who come to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices but had been killed by the Roman governor’s troops. Jesus asked his audience: “Do you think that these people were worse sinners than all the other people of Galilee because they suffered this way?” He then answered his own question, “No.” But he added, “Unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Then Jesus told a parable: A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. Although it looked healthy, with spreading branches and green leaves, it yielded no fruit. The man told his gardener, “For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” The gardener was reluctant to cut the tree down if it could be made to bear fruit. He requested that it be left for one more year and promised to dig around it and fertilize it. Then if it bore fruit, “well and good,” but if not, it would be cut down. The fig tree parable was a call for the people of Israel to repent. The “one more year” requested by the vinedresser meant that Israel still had time. Jesus’ way of telling them, to “get their act together”.
Godly Play | 1st & 2nd Grade | “The Faces of Easter I & II
This week, the children in this class will continue their journey through Lent by exploring the Faces of the Easter Season. The first lesson’s focus is on Jesus as a newborn baby. The plaque, with the faces of Mary and Joseph is our first look at the life of Jesus. From birth, Jesus had an incredible mission and purpose ahead of him. This picture of baby Jesus marks the beginning of his journey toward the cross. The second “Face of Easter” plaque takes the class through Jesus’ boyhood and some of the unusual things that happened as he grew up. One time when Jesus was about 12 years old, he disappeared and it worried his mother and father very much. Later they found him in the Temple, a place where he was closer to God, a place he called “His Father’s House”. Over the next four weeks, the faces will change, and the stories will be different as we continue with Jesus as he journeys toward the cross.
Gospel | Pre K-K 3rd-5th | Luke 13: 22-35 | “Jesus’ Sorrow for Jerusalem”
The lesson from today’s Gospel, being a very short two verses, is tough to gather everything we need for this lesson. So for the children, we will take a look in the verses both before and after the specified reading from Luke. In the verses leading up to this, Jesus is traveling on his way to the city of Jerusalem. He is still a few days away. He went through the “towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem”. At one point on his trip, a group of Pharisees came up to Jesus and encouraged him to leave. They indicated his life was in danger! “Leave this place and go somewhere else,” they said. “Herod wants to kill you”. Jesus wasn’t too concerned about Herod. Jesus was determined to get to Jerusalem, and the Pharisees’ threat about Herod wasn’t going to alter any of Jesus’ plans. It was clear neither Herod nor the Pharisees were going to keep Jesus from getting to Jerusalem. As Jesus thought upon the magnificent city, he realized that the city was not living up to the expectations God desired for it.