January 29, 2017
Bible Reference: Matthew 5: 1-12
I. Welcome: Good Morning girls and boys! I am so happy to see you all this morning! Do we have any new friends with us? (Welcome new friends.)
II. Church Practice: (light altar candles)
We light these candles to remind us that Christ is the light of the world, and we are Christ’s light in the world. On our altar table today, we have a green cloth. Who would like to move the arrow on our liturgical calendar? (Allow one child to come up to the calendar to move the arrow forward one week.) The arrow is now pointing to the fourth green square which is the same color as the cloth that we have on our altar. We are in the fourth week of Epiphany in our church calendar year. You will notice in big church that the altar frontal is green and the clergy are also wearing green stoles. Before we begin our Bible lesson today, let us pray.
III. Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are here to worship and praise you. Open our hearts and minds so that we may hear your words spoken to us through the Bible story today. Give us strength that we may serve you through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
IV. Introduction: Do you know the song, "If You're Happy and You Know It, clap your hands?” Let’s sing it together, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it clap your hands. If you're happy an you know it, then your face will surely show it. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands."
I wonder how that song would go if it were sung by a bunch of birds? Maybe it would go like this, "If you're happy and you know it, flap your wings. (flap, flap) " What do you think a dog would do to show that he was happy? Wag his tail? "If you're happy and you know it, wag your tail. (swish-swish) If you're happy and you know it wag your tail. (swish-swish) If you're happy and you know it, then your tail will surely show it. If you're happy and you know it, wag your tail. (swish-swish)"
There is a story story about a little puppy that noticed that whenever he was happy, his tail wagged. The puppy thought he had found the secret to happiness. One day he shared the secret of happiness with an older dog. He said, "I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is in my tail. So I am going to chase my tail; and when I catch it, I shall have happiness!" The old dog replied, "I too, believe that happiness is a marvelous thing for a dog, and that happiness is in my tail. But I have noticed that when I chase it, my tail keeps running away from me; but when I just leave it alone, it follows me wherever I go."
In the Bible, Jesus spoke to a large crowd one day about true happiness or what is freely given by God, which is joy. Let’s listen to Jesus’ words in the Bible story today:
V. Bible Story: (Read aloud.)
5When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3“Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4“Happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5“Happy are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6“Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7“Happy are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8“Happy are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9“Happy are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10“Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Happy are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
VI. Response: Jesus has a lot to say about being happy. He doesn't say, "Happy are they who have a lot of money" or "Happy are they who live in big houses and drive fancy cars." It doesn't even say, "Happy are they who only have good things happen to them." What the Bible does say is, "Happy are the merciful, happy are the peacemakers, and happy are the pure in heart." The Bible also says, Happy is he who trusts in the Lord. Sometimes we may try to be like the little puppy of the story are like chasing his tail trying to find true happiness. The good news for all of us is that joy or true happiness is always a gift that God readily gives us as we trust in him.
VII. Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to place our trust in you so that wherever we are in our lives we may feel your gift of joy that you give us freely. Amen
VIII. Response Activity (Crafts, Singing, or another activity will be provided.)