24 September 2023
Bible readings for today
Liturgical Colour: GREEN
God, you have given us a lodging in this world
but not an abiding city.
Help us, as a pilgrim people, to endure hardness,
knowing that at the end of our journey
Christ has prepared a place for us.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
E te Atua, nāu i hōmai he wāhi noho i roto i tēnei ao engari ehara i te marae mō ake tonu atu. Āwhinatia mai mātou, e haere tapuwae nei, kia noho pakari, me te mōhio anō he haerenga mutunga kua whakapaingia mai e te Karaiti he tino tauranga mō mātou. E īnoi ana mātou i roto i a Īhu Karaiti tō mātou Kaiwhakaora. Āmine.
The workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)
Jesus tells us that the first will be last, and the last will be first. This story can be confusing to hear and comprehend - those who didn't work the long hours, still get the same wage? This story makes sense when we realise it isn't about fairness, it's about revealing the character of God.
Part of the Season of Creation series by Intergen Australia, written and compiled by Michelle Cook. This week looks at the wilderness - See here
A short reflection on this gospel passage by the Right Reverend Dr Eleanor Sanderson, former Assistant Bishop of Wellington. You can watch it here
God's amazing generosity - children's talk
An interactive talk about the Parable of the Vineyard workers
In this story the workers who worked hard the whole day were angry. Why was that?
Was it because they didn’t get the money they had been promised? Had the work been too hard?
No, it was because the workers who arrived later got given the same amount of money even though they only worked for a few hours. The full-day workers felt mad that the Vineyard Owner was so generous! They couldn’t stand the thought that others would get a whole day’s pay even though they hadn’t earnt it. They lost focus of the fact that none of them deserved to have been given a job that day at all. It was only because the Vineyard owner hired them that they were able to work and be paid that day.
We can sometimes feel this way about God’s generosity. He is so generous, He loves to give good gifts and bless people...just look at our beautiful planet.
We know He has blessed us. Let’s stop for a minute and you tell me some things in your life you are thankful to God for…
Sometimes we think there are some people who don’t deserve God’s gifts. People who ignore God still get good things. People who do things wrong still seem to have a great life. We can feel mad like the Vineyard workers and focus on being mad about what others have rather then giving God thanks for what He has given us. The truth is we always have something we can be thankful for.
Lets look up a verse. Can we find Matthew 5:45?
This verse says that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
What do we think that means?
It means God doesn’t just give good people blessings. The sun shines on everyone. Neither does He let bad things only happen to evil people, we all have times when it "rains" in our lives.
So we musn’t be mad when people get good things we don’t think they deserve. It's God's very nature to be generous to all people and we should be pleased that He is like this. Instead of being mad we should give God thanks for the good things He has given us.
Let's pray together and say thanks to God right now...
(Could also link this parable to that of the Prodigal Son and the older sons jealousy)
Another great overview of this passage from the Diocese of Dunedin. The parable of the workers in the vineyard is one which tends to elicit strong reactions from people: anything from bewilderment to anger, thankfulness, relief, or uneasiness. The radical nature of grace is very unsettling! Esme Macdonald joins the conversations for the first time, and is accompanied by Jerry and Anne, as together with Michael they celebrate the challenges and good news of God's grace.
What you need (per game) set of leaders cards, a set of 16 counters per game board, 6 game boards (all on cardboard.) Plastic resealable bags for the counters.
What to do: colour in the six game boards. Make 6 sets of 16 counters. Decorate them and put each set of counters in a plastic resealable bag.
How to play: Give each player one game board and one set of counters. The leader shuffles the leader’s cards. Then takes a card and shows the players. All the players then cover the matching square on their board with a counter. Keep going until someone gets four in a row!
Note: You can either get each child to make their own set of the game so that they can take it home and play with it; or you can just get them to make their own set of counters and then play the game as a group.
Rob the nest game
Topic: This game could help you introduce the topic of what it feels like to work with or against others or the topic of generosity.
Equipment: A hula-hoop per team and one for the center, 10-20 small objects/balls/bean-bags
Rob the Nest Reverse: As an alternative, start the game as normal with teams raiding the central nest but then have the children give the eggs to the other teams...still the team with the most eggs in their nest will be the winners at the end...the aim is to out-give others.
Possible debrief questions: How did it feel to have items taken from your team nest? How did you feel doing the robbing? Which version of the game did you enjoy the most? To the winning team...how did it feel to win even though you didn't you didn't fill your nest for yourself?
That's not fair! Bible story
A family-friendly story that recounts the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard from the Sermons 4 Kids website.
Manna and quail (Exodus 16:2-15)
God provides for his children
Children's ministry lesson plan
Ministry to Children have a good 'Sunday School Lesson Plan' for Exodus 16-17. It includes a retelling of the story, interesting discussion questions, a craft and learning activity.
You can find their lesson plan on their website
Water, manna and quail lesson
An engaging message from Kids on the Move about today's bible passage.
Game - cloudy with a chance of cornflakes
A cornflake team game to play from Bible Games Central -- However, this game may need modifying in our current Covid situation, and if you would not like to waste food, you can substitute with small beads or raw beans.
Craft - honey crackles
What did manna taste like? The bible says that manna was like a fine, flake-like substance, like frost on the ground. Raw manna tasted like wafers that had been made of honey. An activity you could try at home or at church could be to make some 'Honey Crackles'. A recipe can be found here
Manna and quail images
There are some free images to download for this story, illustrated by Richard Gunther.
You can download a one page story here, and separate images here
Song - all through history
Nick and Becky Drake have an all-age song that helps locate the story of Moses within the other bible stories, and how it shows how all through history God is faithful.
Using simply equal parts yoghurt and self raising flour (and a little oil) you can make your own flatbreads, which may be similar to manna.
Have a look at a recipe here