In this series, we will learn the life lesson of the importance of having a relationship with God and discover how God sees a prophet in each of us. During this worship series, children will be introduced to several prophets from the Old Testament. A prophet is defined as someone who hears messages from God and tells those messages to others. This series will incorporate different modes of communication used over time for people to share their messages. A game designed as a hybrid of Bingo and Tic-Tac-Toe will invite children to learn historical means of communication and help them communicate better with family members throughout the summer and this series.
“God Speaks to Me, 1, 2, 3” Game
This game board resembles a Bingo card, but it has only nine squares. Each square contains an image correlated to a method of communication or hearing a message. Throughout history, the methods of sending messages have changed. Each week, a different method of sending a message will be introduced to children, At the conclusion of the series, children will receive their own game card, which gives them the opportunity to play the game with their family. In addition, playing the game at home will reinforce the lessons learned from this summer series.
The game is played just like Bingo, except for needing only three in a row to cover. Each box represents a different form of communication or sending and receiving messages. During each week of the series, a new mode (and image) will be introduced, and each image will have a coinciding scripture passage listed. This will encourage children and their families to play the game while remembering the scripture texts and lessons from the prophets.
Throughout the series, the leader of the children’s messages will have a game card to introduce both the scripture and the communication image. (A creative way to introduce the communication methods to the children is to have actual versions of the communication methods if you can locate them. For example, try to find a real rotary telephone or tin cans and string. Good luck locating a telegraph!) At the conclusion of the series, provide each child with several copies of the game card (each with a random order of images). One card will need to be cut into pieces to use like Bingo balls and randomly pulled from a cup or bowl. In the final week of the series, the leader will demonstrate how to play the game by giving instructions and playing one time with the children.
Items needed to play the game the last week include game cards with the nine images placed randomly on the page; one card of nine images cut into squares to place in a bowl or cup to “call” the image (like Bingo balls), and small objects to cover each square when the image is called. You also need to have the opportunity to share scripture stories to reinforce each week’s lesson.
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C
Hosea 11:1-3, New International Reader's Version
God Loves Israel
The Lord continues,
“When Israel was a young nation, I loved them.
I chose to bring my son out of Egypt.
But the more I called out to Israel,
the more they went away from me.
They brought sacrifices to the statues of the gods
that were named Baal.
And they burned incense to them.
I taught Ephraim to walk.
I took them up in my arms.
But they did not realize
I was the one who took care of them.
Letter, envelope, postal mail.
Do you remember anything about when you were a baby? What’s your first memory as a toddler? (Allow children to answer.) When you were a baby, you were completely dependent on someone else to take care of you. You needed to be fed and carried because you couldn’t walk yet. Most likely, you needed to be changed and cleaned up many times a day and every night before bed.
As you grew a little older, you still needed someone to help you up when you fell as you were learning to walk. You needed someone to teach you how to walk or talk. You needed someone to teach you how to read and write.
Today’s Bible story is again about the prophet Hosea. When Hosea tried to explain how much God loved the people of Israel, he compared that love to a caregiver’s love for a small child. God fed and carried Israel and taught Israel how to walk and to talk. God taught the people of Israel to do many things.
Is it funny imagining one of you thanking your mother or father for all the care and teaching they provided? Just like children who sometimes grow up and are ungrateful and go against their parents’ wishes, so did the people of Israel. The more God spoke to them, the more they ran away from God. Parents would suffer and hurt badly if their children acted this way. God suffered and hurt in the same way when the people of Israel were unfaithful to God. God loves each of us so much that God hurts when we aren’t grateful for all God has given. We trust people who love us. We trust our parents to take care of our needs. We trust God in the same way.
Did you ever thank the parent or teacher who taught you to read and write? I wonder what your parent or teacher would have felt if you would have written a thank-you note and sent it in the mail to show them how well you read and write? Today’s communication image is a letter in an envelope. Before the invention of email, people would write a letter, put a stamp on the envelope, and place it in a mailbox. Each home has a mailbox or post office box, but you could also drop letters in a mailbox located in your town. Have you ever seen a mailbox somewhere in your community? When we mail a letter, we trust that the postal worker will pick up and deliver the mail to whomever we are sending it.
The people of Israel had consequences that came with not being grateful for God’s kindness. They went against God’s wishes for their lives. They experienced bad things, but that wasn’t God’s fault. The people of Israel learned that God loves them just as a loving parent loves little children, no matter what.
God of communication. You are like a loving, caring parent, grandparent, or teacher. Thank you for the tender teachings you have provided us. You have loved us from the beginning. Help us to trust in you always. Amen.