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Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Of course, this week’s psalm invites us to recognize that we are also a mystery to ourselves. So, how do we invite people to enter into the mystery of themselves as well as the mystery of God? Perhaps begin with singing and reading the assigned verses from Psalm 139 together.

Note to the Teacher:

The scripture this week is the story of Jesus’ family as well as the scribes accusing Jesus of either insanity or possession. The discussion and activities focus on the concept of home and our place and acceptance. With that in mind, it is important to consider the words that are used by students and leaders about mental health, demons, and nontraditional homes in the activities and discussions. The goal is to express our safety and security in Christ, not to frighten or express judgment.

Ice Breaker: Paper Plate Drawing

Each participant places a paper plate (you can substitute cardstock, or a piece of cardboard) on his/her head with one hand, holding a marker in the other. There is no peeking until the drawing is complete!

The leader gives the following instructions:

  • Draw a line for the ground
  • Draw a square house
  • Add a triangular roof
  • Draw a rectangular door
  • Draw a small circle for the doorknob
  • Add a chimney on top
  • Draw a window
  • Draw a tree next to the house
  • Add a small flower
  • Finally, draw a cloud in the sky above your house.

Once everyone has finished, share your drawings. If you want to assign points you can use the following system:

  • 2 points if the house is touching the ground
  • 2 points if the roof is actually on the house
  • 3 points if the window is inside the house
  • 3 points if the cloud is above the house
  • 3 points if the tree is not inside the house
  • 5 points if the chimney is on the roof
  • 5 points if the doorknob is actually on the door
  • 5 points if the flower is outside the house

Virtual: Communicate ahead of time to students that they will require a paper plate, cardstock, or piece of cardboard and marker. Ask that everyone’s video stay on; those on mobile devices will need to prop their device on a flat surface within view.


How did your house turn out? How did you feel challenged in this activity? Would you want to live in the place you drew? If somebody was judging your art, and didn’t know how it was created, what do you think they would say about you (the artist), who created it?

Say something like: In our scripture today Jesus finds judgment from within and outside his own house (family).

Bible reading

Mark 3:20-35

Say something like: Jesus enters a house, and is apparently super-popular already because he and the disciples get surrounded by a crowd. Why would Jesus’ own family seek him out and call him “out of his mind”? Is it because they know that some scribes or legal experts have declared him ‘possessed’ and they don’t want him out in public? Or are they saying he is “out of his mind” because of what he is teaching or the actions he is undertaking? Or is it something else altogether? As we read Jesus' words, listen closely to his response. The parable and the ability of actions and choices to create a family hint at Jesus’ role beyond his hometown and outside his genealogical family.


Say something like: To put this scripture in context, let’s rewind. Just before this passage Jesus has: healed a man on the Sabbath, healed an entire crowd of people, and appointed the twelve disciples. He’s been busy before getting himself into this crowded house.

Knowing those things, why do you think the legal experts may have made an appearance? (To discredit Jesus, stop him, arrest him?)

Does the scripture say they actually physically approached Jesus? (They ‘call-out’ and charge their claims that Jesus must be possessed, but we are unsure of their proximity)

With Jesus being shouted at by some of the crowd, and his family joining the fray to try and help, rescue, or shield Jesus – how do you think Jesus is feeling? After all, this scripture takes place near Jesus’ hometown.

How do you think you might have responded if you were in Jesus’ shoes?

Jesus first responds to the crowd with a logical argument and then a parable.

Verses 23-27 outline the logic that Jesus offers before the parable. Do you have questions about the logic Jesus uses? Why do you think Jesus uses the imagery of the best way to steal something as he argues that he is not, in fact, Beelzebub (Satan, depending on your translation)?

If needed, prompt with thoughts like: Perhaps it’s because we are each precious members of God’s family? We are valuable to each other and to God. To tie up the strong person living/guarding the house so that a thief could get valuables could equate to these priests/legal scholars trying to tie up and confine God so much that valuable people are getting lost or taken away from being in God’s house, etc.)

When Jesus’ mother and brothers arrive, the crowd (probably including some of his disciples) are actually the ones to let Jesus know that his family has showed up. How does Jesus respond? (verses 33-35)

How would Jesus’ mother and brothers feel if they heard Jesus say something like that?

What does being a part of a family really mean?

Would you view Jesus’ observation about who his is family more of an invitation or a challenge? Why?

Say something like: In the end, is Jesus dismissing his own family by saying that his family was already seated around him? Absolutely not! Jesus models how he will expand the ability to be a part of God’s family to everyone who is willing to sit down together and commune with Jesus. This pattern of Jesus expanding definitions and expectations of who God’s love and forgiveness for repeat over his lifetime of ministry.


Noodle Tag (Social Distance Adapted Amoeba Tag)

Each participant holds a pool noodle. Two participants start as the “taggers,” holding on to each end of a pool noodle between them with one hand. Each of the taggers has another noodle in the free hand he/she will use for tagging. Everyone else should also be given a noodle.

Each person that is tagged by the tagger is added to the tagging team by grabbing on to the noodle that tagged them. That person will use the noodle to try to tag others. The goal for the taggers is, of course, to tag and incorporate all the participants into their team. The goal for the untagged is to remain so.

Wrap up:

  • For the beginning taggers, how did it feel as you added to the noodle chain?
  • For the runners, was there a point where it felt inevitable that you would become attached?

Say something like: In our scripture today we explored Jesus’ definition of family. Our first inclination might be to think Jesus is dissing his own mothers and brothers. Instead, his message is one of complete inclusion, not exclusion.

What are some ways this week that you think you might offer inclusion to others?

Virtual: Home Bout (Similar to Family Feud)

The leader assigns a letter of the alphabet to the common rooms in a house. (Examples: Kitchen – Letter S; Living Room – Letter R; Dining Room – Letter L; Garage – Letter B.)

The leader will call out the room and the letter; students have one minute to write down as many items that begin with that letter that can normally be found in that room of the house. The goal is to come up with answers that no one else writes down.

When time is up, go around the group, asking each person to read out his/her answers. If someone else has the same answer written down, everyone who has that answer has to cross it off the list. Everyone gets a point for each unique answer.

Wrap up:

  • For those that found unique answers, how did it feel to stand out?
  • For those that found their answers repeated, how did that feel?

Say something like: So often, we are praised for the ways that we stand out, the ways that we set ourselves apart from a group or our family. While our first inclination can be to think Jesus is dissing his own mother and brothers by being standoffish or standing out, instead his message and actions actually offer complete inclusion, not exclusion.

What are some ways this week that you think you might offer inclusion to others?

Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

Needed Resources

  • Bible
  • In-person: Enough pool noodles for each participant. If you do not have enough, consider breaking the group into teams to take turns.
  • Virtual: Paper and pen

In This Series...

Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Trinity Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes