How to be a guest (Luke 14:1,7-14)
In today's story, Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely.
Another great illustration from Rev. Sarah West from Visio Lectio. Shared with permission
The best seat in the house
What you need
Newspaper and any other random supplies you have.
(You will need one set of supplies and a chair for each group.)
Note: you can either do this as a competition between different groups. Or if you have limited numbers, you could give them a time limit eg. How far do they get in 10mins.
What to do
Explain that a very special person is coming to visit today and they need to have the best seat in the house. So their job is to give these very bland chairs a makeover using only the supplies provided.
After they have finished, it would be a good lead in to the reading and then a discussion about welcoming guests. You might even have a member of the congregation primed to come and be your special guest for the day. The children could interview them.
Play a game of musical chairs, playing music and having the children sit down on chairs or beanbags. One chair is removed each round, until there is a winner. If you want to play an alternative version, you can use newspaper on the ground as little islands, and remove one each round.
Preparation: You need a circle of chairs/cushions facing outward so that children can comfortably walk around. There needs to be one less chair than children. You will also need a cd/tape player and some music, and some jellybeans/stickers
What to do: Get the children to walk around the chairs/cushions while the music is playing. Tell them that when the music stops, they need to try and sit on a chair/cushion. The child that misses out gets a jellybean/sticker and sits out.
Before you start the next round, remove a chair. Then continue the rounds making sure each person who misses out on a chair gets a jellybean/sticker right until there are no more people left.
Purpose of jellybeans/stickers: Musical chairs can often make children feel bad because they ‘miss out’; it also brings out a competitive streak in others. By giving each child something, they hopefully don’t feel as bad for not getting to the final chair!
We are so grateful for these helpful sermon discussion videos from the Diocese of Dunedin. It's remarkable the way one parable can be challenging, uncomfortable, and yet full of hope for us as we dig deeper into it. And this week we have some great diggers, uncovering all sorts of treasures you may not have seen before! Grace Morris joins us for the first time, together with Lisa Emerson and James Harding, for a conversation you could listen to many times over.
This is particularly good for a church service – but could be adapted for a Sunday School session.
What you need:
Hand out a reserved for sign to everyone and give them a pen at the beginning of the church service. Welcomers can do this combined with pew sheets or the usual handouts.
When it comes time to read the Gospel, prime your reader to invite the congregation to close their eyes while it is being read. Read Luke 14:1, 7-14 aloud slowly. At the end, invite people to open their eyes and to think about who they would like to reserve a seat for at the table in light of the reading. They can talk about it with their neighbours too. Get them to write who it is on their reserved sign and they bring it up to the altar and stick it on.
If you want to extend this further, you could invite a couple of brave people (or those you have warned!) to share who they invited, and why.
Leads well into communion. If your church facility lends itself to it, you could invite the whole congregation to surround the altar in a big circle during the great thanksgiving.
What you need: boxes, tape, scissors, pens, stuff to decorate with.
Printed out prize ribbons (pdf)
What to do: Get the children into group of 2-4 (depending on numbers) and give each group a box of ‘stuff’ that they can use. (Things like boxes, toilet rolls, newspaper, tape, scissors, magazines, glue, cellophane, wool, etc)
Tell each group that their job is to design ‘The best seat in the house’ using the things provided. Tell them to think about things like maybe a cup holder for a drink, a built in remote control for the tv, wheels so the person doesn’t have to get up, etc. All the things that would make this the best seat to sit in.
Give them a limited amount of time to do it (eg 15min) and at the end, get each group to present their chair to the whole group and explain it.
After they explain it, you might like to either give each group, or each child a ‘best seat in the house’ award
The Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24)
Being a disciple (Luke 14:25-33)
It's passages like this one that make the lectionary hard work! How do you navigate such difficult passages, such as this one in Luke, as an adult -- let alone explain it to children?
We believe that there are age appropriate scriptures, and certainly there are some things in the Bible that might not be suitable for them to hear yet. However, it is our role and responsibility to steward these scriptures with love and care, and help our tamariki unpack them in a way that kindles their faith and grows their love of God.
Take time to think about how you will approach this passage. Perhaps you don't read it all? Perhaps you choose a couple of verses to focus on. Perhaps you paraphrase, explain, unpack, and sensitively translate.
Remember that for children, their families are their safety nets and most important people in their lives, so to hear that Jesus says we cannot be his follower if we love our parents more than God, is tough to digest at such a young age.
A couple of the activities below highlight the importance of 'commitment' -- this is a great concept for kids to grasp, and a foot in the door to help them understand perhaps what jesus meant in Luke 14.
Remembering Jesus bookmark
What you need:
What is one thing that you really enjoy that you couldn’t live without? Why is it important to you? (Pause for discussion)
In today’s story, Jesus was telling the crowd that in order to follow him, they had to follow him with all their heart and make it the top priority in their lives. Wow! That’s quite a commitment!! Why do you think it was important to Jesus that his followers made him a priority? (pause) Well, I think that Jesus was teaching the people about commitment.
How many of you are part of a sports team, or have been in a school play or have done a group project for school? What is it like when someone doesn’t turn up and they are supposed to, how does it make you feel? (pause) Well, I feel upset because if they had a specific job to do, then someone else has to cover for them, and if it’s a practice then I get annoyed because they won’t know what to do when they do turn up. Its very frustrating.
So when Jesus is asking his followers to make him a priority, I think he is trying to tell them to not let other things distract them from learning from Jesus about the Kingdom of God .
So what does this mean for us do you think? What are some things we can do to make following Jesus a priority? (pause) Give them time to think of ideas, including reading the bible regularly, praying and talking to God, going to church, loving others like Jesus would love them, forgiving people, being kind, etc.
This is the sort of gospel reading that might make you think it was a good Sunday for preaching on the Old Testament ... but maybe that's exactly the attitude Jesus is addressing here! How do we face the tough demands of Jesus' teaching, and why would we want to? Apparently we need particular "ears to hear" the answers. A team from the Dunedin Diocese share their thoughts: Gillian, Jan and Anne join Michael to wrestle with the costs, joys and goals of discipleship.
Another great print design from Rev. Sarah West at Visio Lectio, shared here with permission