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.

This lesson explores unexpected messages of hope from God. The icebreaker reveals a hidden message of hope. The discussion explores Jacob’s dream and invites reflection on ways that our minds have been changed. The activity options invite youth to actively transform a space or items and create something beautiful. Times are based on a fifty-five-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.

Icebreaker (10 minutes)

Unexpected Messages

Prepare in advance: a small watercolor page for each youth; a watercolor paint set and cups of water; write on the watercolor paper in white crayon a message of hope, such as God’s message to Jacob: [“I am with you.”-God] or simply, “You are loved.” Invite the youth to paint with watercolor over the crayon to reveal the message. Explain that in our scripture today, Jacob is given an unexpected message of hope.

Read (5 minutes)

Discuss (15 minutes)

Read Genesis 28: 10-19a

  • How would you describe Jacob’s dream?
  • The message of hope that Jacob received from God wasn’t what he expected. When have you received an unexpected message that gave you hope?
  • Imagine how Jacob’s life changed after this encounter with God. When have you had a transformational experience that changed your mind about something?

Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

  • Put this parable in your own words.
  • For the purpose of discussion, let’s call the “wheat” flowers - something good and beautiful, and perhaps more familiar to us than growing wheat (depending on where we live). When have you experienced life as being both weeds and flowers, like in the parable?
  • Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “The only difference between a flower and a weed is judgment.” What do you think about that statement? Who is doing the “judging” in this parable? What does that mean for us?
  • As we let go of judgment and shame, we are free to experience the joy of God’s invitation to discipleship. What else may we need to let go of to follow God faithfully?

Active Learning Activity (20 minutes)

Option 1: Sunshine Collage

The ending of the parable is a message of hope: the righteous will shine like the sun! Create a sunshine collage as a reminder that God will always be with us, even through the weeds of life.

Go through magazines and pick out the parts that you want (like picking out the wheat from the weeds) to create a sunshine collage. Glue them onto a canvas or posterboard or cardstock. Share why you chose the pieces you chose. Write or include words from the magazines on the collage— Matthew 13:43, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun.”

Option 2: Transformed Life

For a more active experience, choose a room in the church that needs to be cleaned out. (Check with the person in charge of the craft closet, etc. to see if that would be helpful.) Sort the markers and organize supplies. Rearrange furniture. Whatever you have permission to do to transform the space. As you do this, share stories of transformation.

Close the lesson by sharing joys and concerns and praying together.

Needed Resources:

  • A small watercolor page for each youth with the hidden message of hope written on it with white crayon;
  • A watercolor paint set and cups of water
  • Magazines or miscellaneous art supplies for the sunshine collage

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