23 October 2022
Bible readings for today
your covenant is firm;
be merciful to us,
and grant us to live in your presence,
ever singing your praise;
through Jesus Christ our Liberator,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)
The Pharisee thought he had 'made it' -- he thought he had been accepted to heaven and had succeeded at life because of what he wore, what he knew and how he never made mistakes.
Here is a link to a great children's talk from Flame Creative Children's Ministry
Christianity Cove have written an object lesson on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, using balloons to help children understand the importance of humility.
In today’s story, Jesus talked about two people, a Pharisee and a Tax Collector who went to the temple to pray. They prayed quite different prayers, didn’t they? What were some of the differences you noticed between their prayers? (Pause for discussion) Well, the difference that I want to talk about today is that the Pharisee was comparing himself to the tax collector to show God how much better that the tax collector he was. But the tax collector was more concerned with getting his relationship with God right first.
How many of you have something that you are good at? Like playing soccer, or drawing or anything? (Pause for answers). Well, how do you know you are good at that thing? (Pause) Sometimes, to help me get a better idea about how I am doing, I compare how well I do something; to how well my friends do that something. This is ok, but if I end up spending too much time comparing myself to other people, I will end up feeling bad about myself. You see, there will always be people that are better at you in some areas, and worse than you in other areas.
But the one thing that we can all be the best at is being ourselves. You are special because God made you unique. There is no one else in the world that can be better at being you than you can. God isn’t worried about how good you are in comparison to other people. God is concerned about whether you are being the best you that you can be. And that means being honest about the things that are bad as well as the things that are good. That way, you can learn about how to be the person that God made you to be.
Here's a parable that faces us with both our own tendency to judgement, and God's abundant mercy. In this video from Dunedin Diocese, they discuss the challenges of this passage unflinchingly, and help us to celebrate the good news of God's grace and forgiveness.
Mumble Mumble Game
You need a list of discussion questions ranging from kind of silly to semi serious
What to do
Follow the instructions above, but instead of asking questions when they are in their groups, call out silly things that they need to make using only their bodies. Eg spaghetti on toast, a washing machine, etc