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.
- Water droplet
- Music note
- Yes, checkbox
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.
Matthew 5:33-37a, New International Reader's Version
33“Again, you have heard what was said to your people long ago. They were told, ‘Do not break the promises you make to the Lord. Keep your promises to the Lord that you have made.’ 34But here is what I tell you. Do not make any promises like that at all. Do not make them in the name of heaven. That is God’s throne. 35Do not make them in the name of the earth. That is the stool for God’s feet. Do not make them in the name of Jerusalem. That is the city of the Great King. 36And do not make a promise in your own name. You can’t make even one hair of your head white or black 37All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
Stones with an image of “yes” and “checkmark.”
Have you ever heard of the word, “oath”? What do you think an oath means? (Allow children to answer.) An oath, according to the dictionary, is “the truth of one's word or a promise.”
Have you ever made a promise?
(Allow children to answer.)
Have you ever made a promise that you were unable to keep?
(Allow children to respond.)
Has someone else made a promise to you that he/she was unable to keep?
(Allow children to share examples.)
I wonder how you felt when you were unable to keep a promise.
(Allow children to share feelings.)
I wonder how you felt when someone didn’t keep a promise to you.
(Allow children to share feelings.)
Today’s scripture passage finds Jesus teaching his followers about the importance of truth telling and being honest. Jesus cut through the confusion of making an oath or breaking a promise by calling his disciples to speak the truth clearly and simply. Just simply do what you say you’re going to do is what Jesus is trying to teach us. Jesus wants us to practice truthfulness whenever we speak so that we will not need oaths or promises. If we do that, we will never be unable to keep a promise.
Jesus reminds us, his followers, in John chapter 14, verse 6, that he is the way, the truth, and the life. Followers of Jesus are to speak and to live the truth.
Jesus reminds us to make sure that our “yes” will mean “yes” and our “no” will mean “no.” I wonder if you have ever had to answer a list of questions by placing a checkmark by the “yes” or “no.” Jesus teaches us that when we are sure that our “yes” is “yes,” and we live life that way, then there is no way that we are unable to keep a promise.
Today, I have a stone with an image of a check “yes” on it. I wonder why I chose this image. (Allow children to answer.) (If you have one stone for each child, hand the stones out now, or draw children’s attention to the one stone in your hand.) I wonder why I didn’t give you the choice of “yes” or “no.”
I wonder what helps you to be more truthful both in your words and in your actions. (Allow children to answer.) That’s right, one great way to be more truthful is to ask God to give you the power to keep your promises and to keep your words pure.
Today, as I pray, I want you to again, touch the stone. Feel how hard the stone is. Trace your index finger around the image. Remember when we declared Jesus is number one. Close your eyes for a moment, as we are reminded that Jesus is the light. When I say, “Amen,” I want you to make a checkmark in the air in front of you with your “pointer” finger.
God of love, God of truth, may I never question my faith and trust in you. Thank you for giving us your son to be the way, the truth, and the life for us as your children. Help me to always keep my promises by making my “yes” always be “yes.” It is in Jesus’ strong name, Amen. (Remind children to make a checkmark in the air as they say, “Amen.”)