Learn to Do Good

Prophet Margins

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

If there was a stage you’d probably prefer to skip, it would be this one. Isaiah seems at his grumpiest height. Sure, that’s the rep that prophets have. But it seems excessive here. Yet, as a crusader for justice, you have to ruffle a few feathers from time to time. To get something done, you need a “just saith the Lord” now and again. And Isaiah is ready to step up to the plate for this one.

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.

DOWNLOAD God Speaks to Me 1, 2, 3 (PDF)

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

Isaiah 1:13, New International Reader's Version

Stop bringing offerings that do not mean anything to me!

I hate your incense.

I can’t stand your worthless gatherings.

I can’t stand the way you celebrate your New Moon feasts,

Sabbath days and special services.

Isaiah 1:15-16 New International Reader's Version

You might spread out your hands toward me when you pray.

But I do not look at you.

You might even offer many prayers.

But I am not listening to them.

Your hands are covered with the blood of the people you have murdered.

So wash and make yourselves clean.

Get your evil actions out of my sight!

Stop doing what is wrong!




Some people might think that all there is to faith is attending worship every Sunday. So, every week they put on their church clothes and attend worship. When they get there, they sing songs and say prayers. They listen to the sermon preached by the pastor. They might even exclaim an “Amen” during the sermon. They think God must be pleased with them for attending worship every Sunday.

Today’s prophet is named Isaiah. This story is found in the Old Testament book of the Bible named after him. Isaiah speaks to these thoughts of faith or religion connected only to what we do and say on Sundays. He agrees that worshiping God is a great thing, but God is very much interested in what someone does with the rest of the week as well. Attending worship every week is important to God, but there is so much more.

Let’s play a game of “thumbs up and thumbs down.” I will teach you how to play. Each of you gets to vote. You will vote by either putting your thumb up or thumb down. Thumbs up means “yes” and thumbs down means “no.” I will give you some examples, and I would like each of you to vote on how you think God would feel. Ready?

First one, suppose that all week you treated someone unfairly, but then you sing loudly in church on Sunday. How do you think God feels about your behavior? Show me with your thumbs. (Allow children to show with their thumbs.) Suppose that you have not offered to help someone in need or who is poor, but you include that person in your Sunday church prayer. How do you think God feels about your behavior? Show me with your thumbs. (Allow children to show with their thumbs.) Suppose you wanted to win a game or sporting event so much that you may even cheat to do so, but then say “Amen” in agreement during the Sunday sermon when the pastor speaks about truth, fairness, or justice. Do you think God will be pleased with you just because you attend worship regularly? Show me with your thumbs. (Allow children to show with their thumbs.)

If we don’t show our faith in God all during the week by the way we treat others, attending worship and offering prayers won’t mean anything to God. Faith should mean more to us than Sundays. Faith is Monday through Sunday, 24/7, important to God, and it should be important for us as well.

Do you recognize this form of communication? (Show smartphone and allow children to respond.) I wonder how many times people at their smartphones during the day. I researched this and discovered that it is ninety-six times a day. People look at their smartphones once every ten minutes! People seem to use their smartphones for everything from phone calls, to getting directions to a location they are wanting to find, to using the internet. They are always using their phones for something every day of the week. This is a great reminder that God wants to see our faith on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday!

What we can learn from Isaiah is that God wants us to show others love and Christ-like behavior every day of the week.


God of communication: Teach us how to do what is right. Let us live our faith, not just on Sunday, but every day of the week. Let us show you and others our faith all week, including Sunday. Amen.

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

In This Series...

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes