Holding Fast

Because God

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Let us celebrate the working of love in the midst of the people of God. Find stories to tell, pictures that reveal, people who have experienced genuine love, who have never lagged in zeal, who have contributed to the needs of the saints.

Romans 12:9-21, Mathew 16:21-28

Note to the Teacher:

Learning Outcomes: Students will understand the instructions the author of Romans lays out for the early church on how to live a Christian life. They will also understand that there are stumbling blocks that prevent us from living the best life. However, with God’s help, we can overcome these things.

Needed Resources:

The Activity and Discussion: Help students identify things that hold them back from being all they can be in Christ. Be sure they understand that God can give us the strength to move beyond these difficulties, just as Jesus did.

Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period, but may be adjusted.

1. Ice Breaker (10 minutes)

Following Directions: Give everyone a printed sheet of directions. (Use this link for a “Following Directions” activity.) This activity can be used if you are face to face. You can adapt it if you are meeting virtually.

Ice Breaker Debrief:

  • Is following directions easy or hard for you?
  • Have you ever had to follow directions to put something together?
  • Have you had to follow written instructions to physically get somewhere?
  • Would you rather have directions written down or read to you?
  • Why do we need instructions?

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture reading today comes from Romans 12:9-21 and Matthew 16:21-28

3. Discussion (20 minutes)

  • Why does Paul lay out all the instructions in Romans?
  • What are they? (Consider writing them on newsprint/dry erase board or asking students to write them in their own notebooks.)
  • What are the most difficult for you to follow?
  • Are there examples in our world today of people following these instructions?
  • How could things change for us if we followed Paul’s list?
  • In the Matthew passage, what does Jesus accuse Peter of doing?
  • Why do you think Jesus reprimands Peter the way that he does?
  • Jesus is trying to say that living out his faith is not going to be easy for him, and Peter’s way of thinking is human, which will make Jesus fail. How does this passage fit with the passage from Romans?

4. Activity and Discussion (15 minutes)

Jesus talks about Peter being a stumbling block in his way of living out his destiny or life of faith. What are the stumbling blocks in your life? Sometimes they are yourself, someone else, or a bad habit.

After allowing students time to think about this, give them each a rock and a Sharpie and ask them to write one or more of their struggles on the rock. If you can go to a pond, or other body of water, you can pray over the rocks; then throw them out into the water. Otherwise, invite students to pray and then take the rocks somewhere (in the woods or even to a trash can) to leave them behind.

End in prayer

In This Series...

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes