God with us, bringing new life

Review:  Take a few moments to wonder together about why Jesus came to be with us.   Recall the Scripture texts we studied during our last two Sunday School sessions (Luke 4:16-30, John 10:11-18).

Hear the word:  Luke 4:31-37 (see also Mark 1:21-28), Luke 5:17-26  (see also Mark 2:1-12)

Younger classes may want to read “Jesus the Healer” in the Children of God Storybook Bible.  (I will set it out for you.)

Background:  Throughout February, we will hear and respond to gospels stories of Jesus as God with us.  We’ll be asking questions like, “What does Jesus do?”  “What does Jesus say?”  “What does Jesus not do or say, that we expect from him?”  “What do people receive from Jesus?”  “What don’t people receive from Jesus?”  “How do we see ourselves or our neighbors in the people who meet Jesus?”  Take time to wonder about these stories with your class.

Note that as both stories begin, Jesus is teaching.  He reads and interprets scripture with and for the crowds who gather around him.

I have sifted through Holy Family’s collection of storybook Bibles, and find a significant gap.  As a rule, children’s Bibles leave out stories of Jesus casting out demons.  In Sunday School this year, I am eager to reflect on the stories of Jesus’ ministry as they are presented in the gospels, which includes multiple accounts of Jesus casting out demons or “unclean spirits”.  So, I’ve  included one of those stories in today’s lesson and hope that you will invite the children to reflect on the stories as they are presented to us.  (And as always, please feel free to come to me with questions.

Objectives:

(1.)  Children will describe (in their own words) how Jesus met those who drew near to him in need.  (2.)  Children will practice bringing their own or others’ needs before Jesus in prayer.

Activities:

(1.)  Play a game.  I can’t find any good games that relate to the story (maybe you can?), but take time to have fun together a play a game.  Here is  a list of group icebreaker games.

(2.)   Set in place:  Take time to look at some maps of the region around the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus ministered.  (I will set out some Bible atlases for you to use.)  Use sand and water, or clay (or some other material) to build a model of the region around Sea of Galilee.  (Sand can be found in the materials closet near the nursery.)  

Take time to reflect  together on Jesus and those who lived near him by the Sea of Galilee.

The following, taken from Sonja Stewart’s Following Jesus, might help you “set the scene”

“The sea is a wonderful and strange place…When the wind blows, the sea becomes very rough and wild.  When the wind is calm, the sea is peaceful and still.  Many different people live by the Sea of Galilee.  Some are poor.  Some are sick.  Some are children.  Some are fishermen.  Some have unclean spirits.  Unclean spirits say and do things people don’t like.  There is a synagogue in the village of Capernaum by the sea.  A synagogue is a special place to worship God and to learn the best ways to live.  Scribes are teachers and rulers in the synagogue.  Once there was someone who came to the Sea of Galilee.  He said many amazing things and did such wonderful things that people followed him.  He came close to the sick.  He encouraged the poor.  And he enjoyed the children….He said to the people, ‘Follow me.  I will show you the way.  I will show you the way of the kingdom of God…'”

Feel free to take your class outside to use the sandbox.

(3.)  Sketch the scene:  Draw a picture of one of the two scenes, or do a “Jesus heals the paralytic craft” and make a stretcher out of popsicle sticks and fabric.  (See an example here.)

(4.)  People I’m Praying for”…  Day after day, we bring our own needs, and others’ needs before Jesus in prayer.  See the link for a craft.

Do you have other ideas?

Pray together.

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