February 19, 2017
Bible Reference: Matthew 5:38-48
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. We remember that God is always with us, that Jesus lives in our hearts and that we are inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit. 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 seventh green square which is the same color as the cloth that we have on our altar. We are in the seventh 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: Last week we talked about how to love God. Remember that Moses said to the Israelites that to love God is to follow his commandments. We also talked about how we are never able to perfectly follow all of God’s commandments. God saw this and loved us so much that he sent his son Jesus to live among us. Jesus showed us all how to love God and how to love one another. Jesus was the only person to perfectly follow all of God’s commandments and because he loved us so much, he died on the cross for us so that through him, we would have everlasting life with him. Isn’t that amazing to think that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to live among us and then to die for us so that we could live with God even though we are unable to love him perfectly? Jesus taught us that there is hope in God as we trust him in our weakness. Even though we are weak, God is strong and through him, we we are made perfect. In today’s Bible lesson, Jesus talks about following God’s commandments in a different way than what the world expects. Let’s listen to the Gospel of Matthew to Jesus’ words to his followers.
V. Bible Story: Matthew 5:38-48
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
VI. Response: Jesus gave us a different view of God’s love than what we as humans think is love. Even if we followed all of God’s commandments perfectly as they are written, we still would not be loving one another as God calls us to love. We already know that we can not ever follow God’s laws perfectly, but we still try to place our own ways of loving others above God’s ways of loving the world. Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven.” That is a really hard thing to do! To love another person who harms us, or who cheats and steals, or who calls us a name is not easy. And it is not easy for another person to love us even as we do things that may hurt someone. But Jesus gives us hope and says “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Does Jesus mean that we rely on our own selves to be perfect? No. None of us are perfect and we will never be perfect or perfectly love another person. The good news and the hope that Jesus gives to us is that even though we are weak and imperfect, God is perfect and strengthens us in our weakness as we trust in him. Through God’s power, we may be able to love others even when it is difficult.
Let us pray:
VII. Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of your love and the gift of your Son Jesus who came to show us how to love one another and to love you. Father we are weak and can never perfectly follow your commandments. Strengthen us as we trust in you that we may draw nearer to you and love one another. Amen.
VIII. Response Activity (Crafts, Singing, or another activity will be provided.)