29

January 2023

Jan

Blessed Are

Glimpses of the Kin-dom

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

For the next three weeks, we dip into the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps the most famous extended teaching from Jesus from the gospels. This week, we look at what are called the Beatitudes, the first part of the Sermon.

Throughout this series, you will need to prepare and use each week an adapted version of Rev. Leanne Hadley’s “Listening Stones.” Click here to learn more about “Listening Stones.”

Supplies needed for the entire series:

  • Stones (You can either use small stones and give each child one each week or one bigger stone for the entire group to use throughout the series.)
  • Jar large enough for placing one stone from each week’s lesson. This jar will hold one stone from each week of this series. Keep it in the worship area throughout the series as a reminder to the entire congregation about the lessons discussed each week.
  • Permanent Markers.
  • Mod Podge

Steps to Make Listening Stones:

1.) Purchase stones (pre-polished from a craft store in the floral department. These are used to put in vases, etc.).

2.) Using a permanent marker, draw the symbols on the rocks and let them dry well. Click here to view a template (PDF) for the symbols for each week.

Images:

  1. Water droplet
  2. Music note
  3. Cross
  4. “BE”
  5. Lightbulb
  6. Yes, checkbox
  7. Cloud

3.) Place a small dab of “Mod Podge” on each stone and let it dry. (If you skip this step, the symbols will rub off the rocks. It is very important! We have tried finding a spray-on application but have not had any luck.)

4.) Place the stones in a large cloth bag after they have dried for several hours. Placing the stones in a cloth bag or nice box makes the stones seem holier than toys or playthings.

Each week during this series, introduce the stone with the week’s image. Offer a stone to each child to use as a prayer stone. If you have only one larger stone, have children either touch or reach toward the stone as you close in prayer. Collect one stone each week in the jar or box and keep it visible in the worship area for the duration of the series.

DOWNLOAD Steps to Make Listening Stones (PDF)


Children's Message

Matthew 5:1-12, New International Reader's Version

Jesus Teaches the Disciples and Crowds

5Jesus saw the crowds. So, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him. 2Then he began to teach them.

Jesus Gives Blessings

He said,

3“Blessed are those who are spiritually needy.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
4Blessed are those who are sad.
They will be comforted.
5Blessed are those who are humble.
They will be given the earth.
6Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for what is right.
They will be filled.
7Blessed are those who show mercy.
They will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are those whose hearts are pure.
They will see God.
9Blessed are those who make peace.
They will be called children of God.
10Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

11“Blessed are you when people make fun of you and hurt you because of me. You are also blessed when they tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12Be joyful and glad. Your reward in heaven is great. In the same way, people hurt the prophets who lived long ago.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Supplies

Stones with the word “BE” inscribed on them.

Message

Do you have a favorite teacher? When I count to three, together call out your favorite teacher’s name. Ready? One, two, three. (Allow children to call out a name.) Did you know that Jesus was a teacher? But he didn’t teach writing, math, or science. Jesus taught his disciples how to serve God joyfully. The words “Blessed are…” found in today’s scripture passage begin one of the most famous passages in the entire Bible. This passage from the Gospel of Matthew is called the Sermon on the Mount. A mount is short for mountain, and it is said that Jesus spoke to his disciples while they were sitting on the side of the mountain.

Jesus shares with his disciples many ways that followers of Jesus should “be.” He shares that we are blessed when we care for those whose spirits are beaten down by cruel people or during difficult times in life. Jesus reminds the disciples that God provides love to those who are very sad.

Jesus wants us to be “hungry” and “thirsty” for what is right. He invites us to imagine what it would be like if we treated all people fairly in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and world.

Jesus says that God wants us to be at peace with one another and that God blesses people who make peace. He challenges each of us to be “peacebuilders.” How can you build peace in the name of Jesus? (Allow children to answer.) Those are all great ways to build peace. Jesus reminds us that we are blessed when we show patience, kindness, and loving care toward others.

Jesus tells the disciples that there are rewards for doing the right thing, even if the reward isn’t what you expect it to look like. But Jesus also reminds them that sometimes you won’t get a nice reward or a thank you for doing the right thing. It’s in those times that it’s even more important to try to live a godly life. When Jesus taught the disciples about the kingdom of heaven, he was telling them about a time and place where all of God’s children are treated fairly and where there is peace.

Whenever you do the right thing in life, you are helping to make this world a little more like heaven. Whether people reward you or not, God will always bless you. For when you live a godly life, you are blessed. I wonder if “being blessed” means the same as “being rewarded”? (Allow children to wonder with you and respond.)

It is in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus taught his followers how they should live life—how they should “be.” I wonder how you will “be” in your life. Will you “be” like Jesus?

Today, I have a stone with the word “BE” written on it. I wonder why I chose this image. (Allow children to answer.) (If you have one stone for each child, hand them out now or draw children’s attention to the one stone in your hand.)

As I pray, I want you to touch the stone. Again, feel how hard the stone is. Trace your index finger around the image. Do you remember last week when we declared Jesus is number one?

Let’s pray. God, you have a better world in mind for each of us. Help me to “BE” what your son Jesus taught us to “BE.” Give me the hands and feet to help those who are sad, hungry, or lonely. Give me the opportunity to “BE” a builder of peace. Make my spirit strong so that I can always do what is right in your eyes, even if people treat me badly. Help me to make this world more like heaven. Amen.

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