Shine Like the Sun

The Path of the Disciple: Imagining a New Reality

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

We never know who we might see shining like the sun. We are learning to imagine a new reality where even flawed humans, like ourselves, can be disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Genesis 28:10-19, NIRV

Jacob Has a Dream at Bethel

10Jacob left Beersheba and started out for Harran. 11He reached a certain place and stopped for the night. The sun had already set. He took one of the stones there and placed it under his head. Then he lay down to sleep. 12In a dream he saw a stairway standing on the earth. Its top reached to heaven. The angels of God were going up and coming down on it. 13The Lord stood beside the stairway. He said, “I am the Lord. I am the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your children after you the land you are lying on. 14They will be like the dust of the earth that can’t be counted. They will spread out to the west and to the east. They will spread out to the north and to the south. All nations on earth will be blessed because of you and your children after you. 15I am with you. I will watch over you everywhere you go. And I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

16Jacob woke up from his sleep. Then he thought, “The Lord is surely in this place. And I didn’t even know it.” 17Jacob was afraid. He said, “How holy this place is! This must be the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.”

18Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head. He set it up as a sacred stone. And he poured olive oil on top of it. 19 He named that place Bethel. But the city used to be called Luz.

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

Camping object:

  • Bible


Todays’ Bible story is about a man named Jacob. Jacob had a dream about a ladder that reached all the way up to heaven.

(Present today’s message like a bear hunt activity.) Can you follow my lead? I will share with you the story of Jacob. Have you ever played the game “going on a bear hunt”? I will tell you the story of Jacob, but I would like for each of you to stand up and do the motions as I teach them to you. (Invite the entire congregation to participate if you would like.)

Jacob is going on a camping trip.

It's been a beautiful day.
(Give thumbs up.)

The sun is setting.
(Place your lower hand/arm across your body to indicate the setting sun.)

The stars are bright.
(Place your hands around your eyes in circles to represent binoculars.)

Jacob’s going to the city of Haran.
(March in place.)

Jacob is tired and ready for bed.
(Stretch arms and yawn)

When Jacob reached a certain place, he stopped to spend the night.
(Stop marching in place.)

Jacob took a large stone and used it as a pillow (OUCH!) and went to sleep.
(Place your closed hands on the side of your cheek to represent sleeping.)

As he slept, Jacob had a dream.
(Open your eyes wide; go from eyes shut to wide-eyed.)

In Jacob’s dream, there was a ladder that reached from the ground all the way up to heaven.
(Bend down and touch the floor and then stand up stretching and pointing above your head.)

There were angels running up and down the ladder
(Pantomime climbing a ladder.)

Jacob looked and saw God standing at the top of the ladder.
(Place your hands over the top of your eyes like you are looking.)

God told Jacob he would bless and protect him.
(Cross your arms and give yourself a hug of protection.)

Jacob, are you afraid?
(Shake head “yes.”)

But when Jacob woke up, he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place."
(Nod head to affirm.)

Then Jacob took the stone he had used for a pillow and poured oil on it.
(Pantomime pouring oil on the ground.)

He named the place Bethel, which means the house of the Lord.
(Make the letter “L” with both hands to represent “Lord.”)

Thank you for helping me tell this story using motions. This is a wonderful story of how God blessed Jacob, but it is much more than that. It is also an example of how God offers protection and blessing not only to Jacob, but to you and me. This is a story that reminds each of us that all things are possible with God!

I have a little more to our story,

God’s blessings flow through me and you.
(Have children hold the hand of their neighbor.)

Yes Lord, we can do all things through you!
(Move hand from thumbs up, “yes” to “L” by rotating wrists and make the “L” sign again for “Lord.”)

Will you repeat after me?

Look up toward the sky.
Who created everything you see?
The Lord causes the stars to come out at night one by one.
God calls out each one of them by name (Isaiah 40:26 NIRV).

And I pray for each person in my family in the same way.

I see a star in the night sky, and I pray for ____

I see a star in the night sky, and I pray for ____


(Invite children to pray for every family member, individually naming them. You can encourage them to name extended family members or even church family members.)

In This Series...

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes