This year, we have continuously asked the question: Who is God in Christ? What does Jesus tell us about who God is and what God wants from and for us? Who is God for us? You may have answered this question in hundreds of ways with your class over the past year. Here are a few highlights:
1. This year, we strongly focused God’s presence with us in Christ. We saw that God goes to all lengths to be with us and to make us God’s own people.
2. In Epiphany we joined the Magi on their journey to Christ. We “looked for Jesus” and then paid attention to the strange things that he did–being baptized by John in the River Jordan, speaking to and sharing with those who were on the margins, and healing the sick.
3. We learned that God is transforming us, making us new, and healing our brokenness through the waters of baptism, and the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Together we celebrated and gave thanks for the gifts that God has given us in these sacraments.
4. We saw over and over again that God is surprising. God works with all kinds of people and makes beauty in the midst of brokenness, alienation, pain, or chaos by transforming people and communities.
Hear the Word
The Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35 is a story in which we see all of these themes. Jesus meets the two disciples who are walking away from Jerusalem the third day after Jesus’ death and walks with them. He reminds the two disciples of God’s faithfulness and promises to Israel by opening up and sharing Scriptures. Then, the disciples recognize Jesus when he blesses, breaks, and distributes bread. We might say that the Road to Emmaus narrative is a microcosm of the salvation story that we find in Scripture. It shows us who God is and has always been, how Christ reveals God, and how we might still encounter the risen Christ together in our worship.
This week, share the story of the Road to Emmaus with your class by reading the passage from Scripture or from one of our children’s Bibles.
Respond to the Word
1.) Take a walk outside. Ask your class to imagine that they are leaving Jerusalem on the way to Emmaus. What do they see? When Jesus appears, do they recognize him? How do they know that it is him? Ask each of your students to share their favorite story about God with their neighbor. Do you think that Jesus told his disciples the same story about God? What stories might he have shared with them?
2.) Do Art Together. In a large group, share some of the favorite stories about Jesus from this year. Then, ask the question: Who is God? or Where do you encounter the risen Christ? Invite them to use colored pencils, acrylic paints, or water colors to share who God is. Ask them to share what they have created with the class or someone close to them.
3.) Be Known to Us: Have a conversation about the end of the story. The disciples recognize Jesus only after he shares bread with them. Why is that? Wonder together about bread and wine. Do we meet the risen Lord in Holy Communion? You can teach your children the fraction anthem we often sing in the liturgy (they may know it already) “The disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Response: Be known to us Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread.” You class may also enjoy making a loaf of bread and cup of wine out of sculpey clay in the supply closet.
4.) Where is Jesus? You could sing the resurrection song from last week (and two weeks ago) adding a new verse:
Where is Jesus? Where is Jesus?
He has risen. He has risen.
The great big stone has rolled away, Jesus is alive today!
Hip hip Hooray! Hip hip hooray!
Where is Jesus? Where is Jesus?
On the Road. On the Road.
With the two disciples, heading to Emmaus.
Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!
Close your class early (about 10:40) in prayer. Remember to thank God for each of your students (by name, if possible). Once you have finished your class prayer, you may bring your students into the commons area. I will put out some food and refreshments for children, parents, and teachers. I will have crackers in individual cups for the children. Please sit in circles and eat together. During this time, you might like to go around the circle and ask everyone to share their favorite story about Jesus from this year. Students may leave when their parents arrive but I will let parents know that they are also welcome to join in the circles.