Good News!

Regroup:  It has been about a month since we’ve gathered for Sunday School.  Take time this week to regroup with an icebreaker game or conversation.  Need ideas?  See this list.

Hear the word:  Luke 4:14-30

Background:  This week, we shift from the story of the Israelites as they journey toward the Promised Land to a focus on Jesus’ life and ministry among the people of God.  Today, we wonder together about why God sent Jesus to be with us, giving special attention to the text which Jesus quotes from the scroll of the book of Isaiah.  Jesus’ ministry manifests (makes plain) God’s presence amidst God’s people; that is, Jesus shows us again what God has been up to all along.

Christmas has just past.  This week, it will be important to link the familiar story of Jesus’ birth with a long view of Jesus’ ministry.  We’ll spend  this Sunday and next week learning about why and how Jesus’ was sent to be with God’s people.  Beginning in February, we will  look more closely at particular moments that the gospel writers have documented in Jesus’ ministry.

In case you are interested, here is a sermon offered by Jeremy Troxler that reflects on this week’s text.

Objectives:

(1.)  Children will describe Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us.  They will respond to the question, “When God comes to be with us, how does Jesus show us who God is?”

(2.)  Children age 5 and older will write or say Luke 4:18-19 in their own words.

Activities:

(1.) Puzzle game:  (For students who can read and write easily.)  Split the class into two or three groups and give each group a jigsaw puzzle (in craft closet).  Assign each group part of Lk. 4:18-19.  Have the groups write their assigned verse/section of the verse clearly on a jigsaw puzzle (along, perhaps, with illustrations), then hide the pieces in a designated area.  Send each group to find and piece together another group’s puzzle, then join together in a large group to read and discuss Jesus’ words.

(2.)   What is a synagogue?  Jews in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth met regularly to read and discuss the Hebrew Bible.   Set up a synagogue in your classroom (see a description here), and re-enact the scene from Luke 4.  Or, let me know if you’d like to borrow our Godly Play synagogue, and use peg people to re-enact the story.  Why was reading and responding to Scripture an important part of the common life of Jews in Nazareth?  What did Jesus mean when he said, “today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”?

(3.)  Make a scroll:  Use butcher paper and dowel rods, markers or other materials in craft closet to make a large scroll with the words that Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth.  Or, use straws and paper to make small scrolls.  Take time to discuss what “the scroll of Isaiah” was (a copy of a book of the prophet Isaiah which we continue to read).  What did God send Jesus to do?

(4.)  Make magnets…or bookmarks…or cards…or…

Take time to re-write Lk. 4:18-19 in simple language for very young children.  Then, use materials in the craft closet to design something (a fridge magnet, or a bookmark) as a way of remembering that, “Jesus came to bring good news to the poor,” or “Jesus came to help us see.”

(5.)  Good News!  Sit down with young children and talk about good news.  What is good news?  Ask children to tell you what would be good news to them.  Make a list.  Ask, “what good news did Jesus bring?”  Do we know good news when we hear it?  How does God bring us good news through Jesus?

(6.)  Make a stained glass window!  Use contact paper, black construction paper and tissue paper to make a stained glass window.  Consider writing part of Lk. 4:18-19 around the perimeter of the window in white pen.  Here are instructions.

What activity would you add to this list?

Conclude in prayer and join us as we sing together.

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