5

February 2023

Feb

You Are

Glimpses of the Kin-dom

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

Here again, Jesus asks us to reflect on the power we already have. “You are salt. You are light.” Not, “Do you want to be salt, or do you want to be light?” You already are. So, given that declaration from our Lord, how will we season? What will we light up?

Note to the Teacher

The scripture we read is another selection from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The opening activity has students participating in a “blind partner drawing contest.” The discussion encourages students to think about how Jesus describes us as being the salt and light to the world. The activity and discussion has students writing their own version of the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.

1. Ice Breaker: 'Blind Partner Drawing Contest' (10 minutes)

Start by explaining to your students that they are about to have a blind partner drawing contest. Everyone will need a partner to play this game. You will need to play with an even number of students, so if an adult needs to play to even things out, that is totally fine. You will also need a few sheets of paper (or notecards) and something to write with.

When the leader says go, one person will be responsible for covering the eyes of the person drawing. The person drawing (already having the pen in hand) will be asked to draw a particular item. You may choose any of these items or any item of your choice:

  1. Christmas tree
  2. Heart
  3. Basketball
  4. Cross
  5. Smiling face

Give each blindfolded person about thirty to sixty seconds to draw the item. Then have them put the pens down. Then ask the non-blindfolded person to draw the same item. Repeat until you have five different items drawn by each participant.

Ask:

  1. Was it easy or hard to draw the item?
  2. Why was it easier to draw the item not blindfolded?

Transition by saying that it’s hard to draw something you cannot see and it’s hard to see when you’re in the dark. Today, we’re talking about being the light of the world.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture reading today is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We will read about the salt and the light that we’re called to be and about the law and the prophets. We will focus on the salt and light, so pay close attention to that at the beginning of the reading today. (This means we will be dealing with metaphors, so if you have younger youth, it is worth talking about metaphors and how they act as symbols to get a point across or help people think about things in new ways.)

Read Matthew 5:13-20.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  • What does Jesus say we are first? (Salt)
  • What is the significance of the salt? (It’s a both a flavor enhancer and a preservative for food)
    • What are some of your favorite salty foods?
  • What does Jesus say we are second? (Light)
  • Where is the lamp supposed to be? (On a lampstand and not under a basket)
  • There are two illustrations Jesus gives us to better understand what it means to be the “light of the world.” Why is this significant? (Those two illustrations are the city on a hill and the lamp on the lampstand.)
  • Jesus isn’t commanding us to be “salt and light. “He’s describing who we are as “salt and light.” Hearing that, how does that make you feel?
  • Have you ever walked around with a flashlight? If so, where do you point the light? Why did you point it there and not at yourself? If we are the “light of the world,” what do you think that means?
  • In verse 16, Jesus says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” What are the “good works” Jesus is talking about?
  • Do you find it easy or hard to “shine your light” or to be the “salt of the earth”? Why?
  • When have you felt that God is “shining” his light through you?
  • Where are there needs in our church, community, schools, and other places that we can pray about shining our lights better?

4. Activity and Discussion: 'A Christian Classic' (20 minutes)

Explain to your students that today they are going to write an original song. One of our Christian classics that a lot of people grew up singing was a song by the title, “This Little Light of Mine.” Give students an opportunity to try to sing it by heart, if possible. Here are the lyrics in case anyone needs a refresher:

(Chorus)
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine!

Don’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine.
Don’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine!

Hide it under a bushel... NO! I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel... NO! I’m gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel... NO! I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine!

Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine!

(Chorus)
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine!

Ask:

  1. Who remembers this song? Where in scripture do you think this song came from?
  2. What do you think this song means? Explain each verse.
  3. How can we use this song to remember to “shine our light before others”?

Have students work in groups of two to three to rewrite this song in their own words. Think about what this song may sound like if the writer had used the “salt” analogy instead of the light. Tell students to work together to come up with a song that talks about “shining your light” to the world. Be as creative as possible. At the end of your time together, encourage groups to share their songs.

Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

Total time: 50 minutes

NEEDED RESOURCES:

  • Pens or pencils

In This Series...


Baptism of the Lord, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Transfiguration Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Green

In This Series...


Baptism of the Lord, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Transfiguration Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes