Sunday School at Home-All Ages for March 22, 2020
Location: At home
I’m so glad you are here, and are considering sharing a time of Sunday School at home. These times at home together are a special opportunity for us to deepen and share our faith in our families, and invite God’s peace, love and hope into our lives. Together, we can all explore questions like how we can find and make meaning in this time of challenge and uncertainty; where we see God moving and working in the midst of this pandemic; and how our faith can guide us to love God and love our neighbors in this time.
Below is a lesson plan to accompany the video above. You can also find it as a Google Doc by CLICKING HERE.
Today’s Story: Background
CONTEXT: We are only a few weeks away from Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday (April 5th this year). Palm Sunday remembers Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, beginning the long week that will end in his death and resurrection. Scripture tells us that shortly after his entrance in Jerusalem, Jesus goes to the Temple and overturns the tables of the money changers and sellers, confronting the Jewish leaders and corrupt systems of the time. Following this, the Jewish leaders confront and question Jesus. Jesus answers them, sharing parables and teachings. It is during this time that “one of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another,” as written in our passage today. Jesus answers the scribe’s question with clarity, and with an answer faithful to the Torah (e.g. Leviticus 19:17-18 and Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – you can also ask the kids about how the 10 Commandments align with Jesus 2 Commandments to Love God and love neighbor!). The Jewish people are living in a time of fear, uncertainty and oppression under the Romans and corrupt Jewish leaders. As many travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, the city becomes what has been described as a powder-keg – with tension and the possibility of violence and rebellion present like a low hum among the people. The Roman and Jewish leaders fear Jesus may be the spark that ignites the powder-keg. Yet here, as always, Jesus answers them with Love.
THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENTS: The Scribe asks Jesus, what’s the most important for our life right now, and these commandments are Jesus’ answer. What is most important to you right now? What does Jesus’ answer mean for us in our time of fear and uncertainty? If these commandments are the most important, the heart and foundation of our faith, how are we living these out now? What does it look like to orient all that we are – our heart, mind, soul and strength around God, and to love our neighbors?
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK: Next week and Palm Sunday we’ll explore the story of Holy Week and Easter, and how God is always working in times of fear, uncertainty and death, to bring light, love, hope, healing and new life!
Mark 12: 28-34
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that “he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and “to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
- Extra learning: If you want to learn more about the Gospel of Mark:
- Teens and Adults: Bible Project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGHqu9-DtXk&t=406s
At-Home Plan – to adapt and use as is helpful!: This follows the regular rhythm of Sunday School when we’re at church together. Now we get to be church together at home! You can either follow this outline on your own, or watch a video of Pastor Amy leading Sunday School:
BREATHING AND QUIET – Centering down and listening for God
- Perhaps begin your time with quiet – focusing on your breathing or sitting in quiet and opening our ears to listen to the sounds around you. If you have a chime or singing bowl you could use that. We listen for God in the stillness and quiet.
CIRCLE: (Connecting, Listening and Praying together)
- This is the time when we sit together and share what is on our hearts
- You might ask one another and share: What are you grateful for this week? Is there anything that is making you feel sad or worried? Is there anything you are looking forward to or worried about in the coming week? Is there anyone we should pray for?
- Practice praying together for the things that were shared. Add a prayer for the people of our church…
SING: I’ve Got Peace Like a River
I’ve got peace like a river (x3)
In my soul (x2)
I’ve got love like an ocean (x3)
In my soul (x2)
I’ve got joy like a fountain (x3)
In my soul (x2)
STORY: Jesus shares the Great Commandment – Love God and Love Our Neighbors
- Can you find Mark 12-28-32 in your Bible? The words are also at the beginning of this document.
- Read the passage together
- Talk about the story – some ideas:
- I wonder what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?
- Jesus and the disciples were living in pretty scary times. The disciples knew Jesus might be arrested and killed, and that they were in danger too. I wonder what it looked like for them to love God in that situation? I wonder how it might have helped them? \
- I wonder what we love most in our lives?
- I wonder what it would mean if we loved God this way? What might we do every day? How might it change us?
- I wonder what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves?
- I wonder what ways we could show our love to our neighbors during this time?
ART & ACTIVITY
OPTION 1: Jesus shows us how to love our neighbors by feeding people
The Sunday School kids were signed up to make food and host our reception time at church this Sunday! We’re not at the church building to share food together, but we can still share Jesus’ love by feeding our families and neighbors! Jesus was always showing God’s love to others by feeding them and sharing meals together. Remember the feeding of the 5000? Or when Jesus shared a last supper with his friends/disciples?
ACTIVITY: Feed our Families and hungry neighbors
- HOME: Pick a fun food or snack to prepare for your family for lunch (consider sharing a grace before eating or going around sharing one thing you are grateful for!)
- COMMUNITY (SEE SHEET AT THE END OF THIS DOC): Look in your house for a few things you could donate to the Newton Food Pantry or another local Food Pantry, OR visit their websites to make a financial donation. Our friends at Common Cathedral in Boston are also doing amazing work right now, and need help. See the final page of this doc for a list of organizations, with descriptions and links.
OPTION 2 – PRAYER BASKET (you can use an Easter Basket)
- There is so much to be grateful for, and so much to hold in prayer these days.
- Create a prayer basket for your family. Add slips of paper with prayers of gratitude or joy; or prayers of concerns, or the names of specific people.
- Add to your basket as a family throughout the day, and then find a time to read the prayers together (e.g. before dinner).
- This website shares an example – http://www.backtosomebasics.com/681-2/
A NOTE ABOUT STAYING CONNECTED – PENPALS
- During these weeks of physical distancing, we’re staying connected in lots of new ways! One way is to pair up members of the congregation as ‘pen-pals’ ! Pen pals can write and make art for one another and share them online or by paper-post. Or stop by one-another’s house to wave from a distance or leave a message by sidewalk chalk 🙂 If you’d like to be part of this fun activity, please be in touch with Pastor Amy ([email protected])
- If you want, end your time with a blessing.
- Say something like: “May God Bless you and bless our family, especially during these days when we are at home. May you always know how loved you are, and may we all we all share God’s love with one another and our neighbors this week and always. Amen.”
- This is also a great one if you would like to listen to or learn a new song: Call down a Blessing; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JgBpF_XjD4