Hear the Word: Luke 1:26-56
When we last met, we heard the story of the 10 Commandments, or “the 10 Best Ways.” Remind your students of that story, which speaks of the Israelites living in new-found freedom and learning how to follow God together as they journeyed toward the promise land.
Students may need help realizing that a lot of time passed; generations and generations of men and women followed God after God gave the decalogue to the Israelites through Moses. Mary was a teenaged Jewish girl, a young woman who was historically quite far removed from the giving of the ten commandments, but who – like us – sought to form her life around them. In seeking to follow God with the whole of her life, God invited Mary to carry God within her.
After the telling of the story from Luke’s gospel, take time to wonder with your class…
I wonder how it felt to be visited by a messenger from God.
I wonder if Mary expected God to speak to her.
I wonder why God chose Mary to carry and to care for Jesus.
I wonder how Mary felt when God called her.
I wonder if God calls other people in the story.
I wonder how God calls people today?
(1.) Children will be able to describe God’s call to Mary. Older children will articulate the gifts and challenges within that call.
(2.) Children will sing, say, or artistically depict Mary’s Song, understanding that the song is Mary’s open response to God’s call.
(3.) Older children will consider how God’s call to Mary may compare to/contrast with God’s call to people in our own day.
(1.) Whispering tube (craft for younger children):
Make a whispering tube out of a paper towel roll. Cover the roll with pretty paper and have the children decorate them with stickers, crayons, or markers. (Or, roll poster board into a tube shape and tape it closed.) Use the tube to tell one another story of the good news that the angel brought Mary.
(2.) Act it out: Invite the children in your class to write a script and re-enact the story (feel free to borrow Pageant Photo props), or make paper dolls (I have doll forms if you’d like to use them) and have the dolls act out the story. Consider filming the performance on a smartphone and sharing it with me!
(3.) Hurry up and wait! Consider how long (and perhaps, how uncomfortably) Mary waited to see God’s promise of a child fulfilled within her. Play “The Waiting Game” and invite children to relate their experience of waiting for their number to be called to other – more taxing – experiences of waiting. What is hard about waiting? What is good about waiting? In Advent, we pay special attention to the ways that we wait, together, for Jesus to return. What is hard about waiting for Jesus? How can we help one another wait faithfully?
The Waiting Game:
The teacher assigns a number to each corner of the room, so there is corner number one, corner number two, etc. The children divide up and stand at a chosen corner. One child is chosen to be “it” and stands in the center of the room with their eyes closed. When “it” yells, “Go!” the other children proceed to walk about the perimeter of the room moving from corner to corner. When “it” yells, “Stop!” the children must go to the nearest corner and wait. While keeping their eyes closed the child in the center of the room will call out one corner number. The children standing in that corner are then out of the game for that round. This procedure continues until there is only one child remaining. That child will then become the next “it” and play continues with another round.
(4.) Mary’s song: Take time to read Mary’s song line by line (BCP p. or Luke 1:46-56).
What do the words mean? Why did Mary respond to God’s call with those words? How do you think Mary felt as she was singing? How do you feel when you hear
Now, look at these (or other) artistic representations of Mary:
– Betsy Shank‘s “Nature of Passion”
Ask the students which artistic representation they resonate with most, and which they think is most faithful to scripture. Invite them to reflect on the images in other ways.
Take time to make your own representations of the angel’s visitation to Mary. Use modeling clay, pastels, or other supplies in the supply closet.
(5.) Line by line Magnificat: Take a stack of magazines from the supply closet, and split your class into groups of 2 or 3 children. Assign each group of children a verse or two from the magnificat. Ask each group to cut out pictures from the magazines that depict the image evoked by the words in Mary’s song. Write each verse on its corresponding pages and staple the pages together. Be sure to show me the book of images!
Conclude with prayer.