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.
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C
Amos 8:1-12, New International Reader's Version
Amos Has a Vision of a Basket of Ripe Fruit
The Lord and King gave me a vision. He showed me a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.
“A basket of ripe fruit,” I replied.
Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel. I will no longer spare them.
“The time is coming when the songs in the temple will turn to weeping,” announces the Lord and King. “Many, many bodies will be thrown everywhere! So be quiet!”
Listen to me, you who walk all over needy people.
You crush those who are poor in the land.
“When will the New Moon feast be over?
Then we can sell our grain.
When will the Sabbath day come to an end?
Then people can buy our wheat.”
But you measure out less than the right amount.
You raise your prices.
You cheat others by using dishonest scales.
You buy poor people to make slaves out of them.
You buy those who are in need for a mere pair of sandals.
You even sell the worthless parts of your wheat.
People of Jacob, you are proud that the Lord is your God. But he has made a promise in his own name. He says, “I will never forget anything Israel has done.
“The land will tremble because of what will happen.
Everyone who lives in it will mourn.
So, the whole land will rise like the Nile River.
It will be stirred up.
Then it will settle back down again
like that river in Egypt.”
The Lord and King announces,
“At that time, I will make the sun go down at noon.
The earth will become dark in the middle of the day.
I will turn your holy feasts into times for mourning.
I will turn all your songs into weeping.
You will have to wear the clothing of sadness.
You will shave your heads.
I will make you mourn as if your only son had died.
The end of that time will be like a bitter day.”
The Lord and King announces,
“The days are coming
when I will send hunger through the land.
But people will not be hungry for food.
They will not be thirsty for water.
Instead, they will be hungry
to hear a message from me.
People will wander from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean.
They will travel from north to east.
They will look for a message from me.
But they will not find it.
Pager, also known as beeper; also have a piece of fruit or fruit basket.
We are learning many ways to send messages to others. One way people used to communicate was with one of these. (Hold up pager.) Do any of you know what this is? (Allow children to respond.)
This is a pager. According to the internet definition, a pager is a wireless communication device that receives and displays a phone number. People would call the pager number and then enter their phone number. The person with the pager either hears a “beep” (that is why they are called beepers) or a vibration, alerting about the call from person who paged the individual. Pagers were used before cell phones. They were and continue to be used in hospitals by emergency services and doctors.
I have something else with me today as well. Do any of you know what this is? (Hold up fruit and allow children to answer.). Yes, I heard “a juicy piece of fruit,” “a tasty snack,” and other words related to food. Fruit is delicious, but it’s difficult to use as a tool to communicate to someone else.
In today’s Bible story, the prophet Amos —yes, the same one from last week—is asked by God what he saw when he was shown a basket of ripe fruit.
Amos’ answers sounded a lot like yours. God and Amos have a discussion. God uses a visual of the fruit basket to help get a message across to Amos. God knew that Amos was a bit of a farmer; he uses the fruit to help Amos understand the message. “What do you see?” Amos mentioned a fruit basket; possibly all the enjoyable things related to it came to his mind.
But God didn’t see just ripe fruit. God saw fruit that was on its way to becoming rotten. Have you ever seen a piece of rotten fruit? What if I held up rotten fruit and asked you what you saw? Would you describe it the same way as you did the fresh fruit? The fruit God saw didn’t have long before it began to be no good.
God wanted Amos to understand that fruit are like people. God doesn’t just see the good things that people do; God also sees the wrong choices that people make. He wants Amos to understand that there are both good and bad in people, and he uses fresh and rotten fruit as an example.
Amos has an enormous job. His job is to give a message that people don’t want to hear. Sometimes God’s message is difficult for people to hear when they are treating others unfairly.
Have you ever had to say something that might be difficult for someone else to hear? (Allow children to respond. Doctors and other health-care professionals such as nurses and chaplains sometimes must share difficult news. What about you? How can you share God’s message of hope, fairness, and love to others, even when it may be difficult? (Allow children to provide ideas.)
Wow! Those are all excellent ways to spread God’s message to the world. We can learn from Amos that God’s message is so important that we must do everything we can to help share it. We should begin right now!
God of communication. We give you thanks for seeing everything in all of us. Thank you for the story of Amos, as he understood that he had an enormous job to do sharing your message. Give us each the understanding that we too have the same enormous job to do. Amen.