Today’s Christ Church Kids lesson was from the Gospel, Matthew 22:34-46.
A few weeks ago the Old Testament lesson was the Ten Commandments from Exodus 30:1-17. In today’s reading the Pharisees are trying to trick Jesus. When asked what is the greatest commandment Jesus summarizes the 1st - 4th commandments as “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, all your soul and all your mind.” These four commandments focus on our relationship with God. When Jesus adds, “The second is like it, ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’” he is summarizing commandments 5-10 which focus on our relationship with others. Because with Jesus it is not sufficient not to murder someone, but we are commanded to love all.
How cool is that? Jesus doesn’t contradict the Ten Commandments but rather expounds on them in a deeper way, taking our focus to love. Because “God so LOVED the world that he gave His one and only son, so that all who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Please let me know if I or any member of the ministry team can help you in any way.
Director of Ministry to Children, Youth and Families
884-9189 x 232
This is a great family activity where crescent rolls are baked with marshmallows inside. As the rolls bake the marshmallow melts and a hollow is created. This hollow represents the empty tomb on Easter morning. The crescent rolls are the tomb, the marshmallow represents Jesus, the butter represents the oil used to anoint a body before burial, and the cinnamon and sugar represents the linen cloths used to prepare the body of Jesus for burial.
While the rolls bake, read the following scripture:
John 20:1-9 (NIrV)
Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. It was still dark. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. So she ran to Simon Peter and another disciple, the one Jesus loved. She said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb! We don't know where they have put him!"
So Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. Both of them were running. The other disciple ran faster than Peter. He reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there. But he did not go in.
Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived. He went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there. He also saw the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself. It was separate from the linen.
The disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this reminder of the resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate on Easter. We are grateful that because the tomb was empty, Jesus remains alive in us today. Amen.”
When the rolls come out of the oven, share them as a family and savor the sweetness which is the love that God has for you.
This is more than a recipe because it includes a Bible study. So grab those Bibles and go to the kitchen! This is such a fun way to celebrate The Resurrection as a family and focus on the scripture reference at the same time.
1 cup whole, shelled pecans or other nuts
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Wooden spoon, rolling pin
You’re done! Explain that you cannot eat the cookies today, but that you have to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. That might not make anyone too happy. Explain that Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22
The next day, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the third day, Jesus followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9
Enjoy the cookies and relate to life’s daily blessings through God’s love and grace – noted especially on Easter, the holiest of days.
Did you know that the origin of pretzels came from Lent? Their shape was modeled on arms crossed over the chest in prayer. You can make easy pretzels at home by using refrigerated breadstick dough and adding either salt or cinnamon and sugar.
FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS
Do pretzels really have anything to do with Lent?
The pretzel indeed has its origins as an official food of Lent. However, much of the information available is based on tradition that has been handed down through the ages. Nevertheless, the Vatican library actually has a manuscript illustrating one of the earliest pictures and descriptions of the pretzel (Manuscript Code no. 3867).
In the early Church, the Lenten abstinence and fasting laws were stricter than what the faithful practice today. Many areas of the Church abstained from all forms of meat and animal products, while others made exceptions for food like fish. For example, Pope St. Gregory (d. 604), writing to St. Augustine of Canterbury, issued the following rule: "We abstain from flesh, meat, and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese and eggs." Second, the general rule was for a person to have one meal a day, in the evening or at three o’clock in the afternoon, and smaller snacks to maintain strength. So a need arose for a very simple food which would fulfill the abstinence and fasting laws.
According to pretzel maker Snyder’s of Hanover, a young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today. (To be fair, some traditions date the story to even the 300s.)
Because these breads were shaped into the form of crossed arms, they were called bracellae, the Latin word for "little arms." From this word, the Germans derived the word bretzel which has since mutated to the familiar word pretzel.
Another possibility for the origins of the word pretzel is that the young monk gave these breads to children as a reward when they could recite their prayers. The Latin word pretiola means "little reward," from which pretzel could also be reasonably derived.
Apparently, this simple Lenten food became very popular. Pretzels were enjoyed by all people. They became a symbol of good luck, long life and prosperity. Interestingly, they were also a common food given to the poor and hungry. Not only were pretzels easy to give to someone in need, but also they were both a substantial food to satisfy the hunger and a spiritual reminder of God knowing a person’s needs and answering our prayers.
Another interesting story involving pretzels arises in the late 1500s, when the Ottoman Moslem Turks were besieging the city of Vienna, Austria. The Turks could not break the city’s defenses, so they began to tunnel below ground. The monks in the basement of the monastery were baking pretzels and heard the sound of digging. They alerted the guard and saved the city.
The soft pretzels eventually evolved into hard baked pretzels. Another story is that a young apprentice baker dozed off while tending to the oven where the pretzels were baking. The oven fire began to die out, he awoke, and then stoked up the oven. In the end, he over-baked the pretzels. At first the master baker was upset, but soon discovered that the hard pretzels were also delicious. These hard pretzels were less perishable than the soft, and thereby easy to have available to give to the poor and hungry.
Here we find another "fun" tradition of our faith, just like Easter eggs or hot cross buns. Actually, a good Lenten family activity would be to make pretzels, explaining to the children their significance. The real challenge for this author is to find some justification for adding beer to the Lenten pretzel tradition.
Wearing the Crown of Thorns on the cross, Jesus sacrificed and suffered physical pain for our sins. The thorns represent the many pains Jesus suffered for our salvation. Place the crown somewhere visible in your home and over the course of the 40 days of Lent each member of the family will think of sacrifices to be made, ways to help others or spend extra time in prayer or doing a devotion. Each time something is done or a sacrifice is made, a thorn is removed from the crown and placed in the middle.
The hope is that when Easter Eve arrives all of the thorns have been removed and the wreath can be decorated with Easter flowers to celebrate that the suffering is over and Christ is Risen!
1 grapevine wreath, any size
1 box toothpicks (square toothpicks pictured)
1 bottle black RIT dye (or strong, black coffee)
1 disposable bowl
newspaper to protect surface from dye
rubber gloves to protect hands (optional)
Place newspaper down on your work area, Place the toothpicks into the bowl and pour in enough dye (or coffee) to cover them. Let them sit in the dye for about an hour. Pull one out and dry it off with a paper towel. If it is black enough for your liking, pull the others out and let them dry on paper towels. If not, leave them in for another half hour or so.
Once the toothpicks are all dry you are ready to place them in the grapevine wreath. As a family, gather around the wreath and wedge the toothpicks in all over. You will find that certain slots are just perfect for wedging a toothpick in and the tension of the vines will hold it in place. If a toothpick happens to slide through completely, put it in a new spot.
“Dear Heavenly Father, we invite you into our home and we offer you this Lenten wreath. We want to increase our focus on what Christ sacrificed for us on the Cross and lessen our focus on ourselves and our earthly desires. Strengthen our family, O Lord, so that we may put others first with humble hearts and so that our identities can be found in you. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen”
A Candle in the Sand for Jesus in the Desert
The Lesson: The Gospel lesson for the first Sunday in Lent, February 14, 2016, is the lesson of Jesus being tempted in the desert:
Luke 4:1-13 (NIRV)
Jesus Is Tempted in the Desert
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan River. The Spirit led him into the desert. There the devil tempted him for 40 days. Jesus ate nothing during that time. At the end of the 40 days, he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man must not live only on bread.’ ” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Then the devil led Jesus up to a high place. In an instant, he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. He said to Jesus, “I will give you all their authority and glory. It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:13)
Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem. He had Jesus stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. It is written,
“ ‘The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you.
They will lift you up in their hands.
Then you won’t trip over a stone.’ ” (Psalm 91:11,12)
Jesus answered, “Scripture says, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:16)
When the devil finished all this tempting, he left Jesus until a better time.
Discuss the Lesson:
Jesus is “full of the Spirit” after his baptism by John. Remember, when Jesus came up out of the water the Spirit of God appeared in the form of a dove and the voice of God said, “this is my son and I love him” signaling the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. But before anything else, the spirit leads Jesus into the desert to fast (not eat) and pray and to be tempted by Satan in preparation for his ministry and his ultimate crucifixion.
Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, and that must have been hard. He must have been hot and thirsty, hungry and tired. But because it says “the Spirit led him” we know that he was not alone. Jesus was tempted the entire 40 days in the desert, but the 3 temptations we read about in Luke are the culmination.
Jesus has used God’s Word to defeat Satan, and sets an example for us to turn to the Bible when there are struggles in the world.
Activity: Candle in the Sand
After you have read and discussed the temptation of Jesus by Satan, make a centerpiece for the table to remind you of this during the season of Lent.
“Lord, we light this candle in the sand to remember the 40 days you were alone in the desert hungry, weak and yet victorious. Thank you, Jesus, for the nourishment of our meals and all of the comforts we take for granted. Amen”
Adapted from http://thedickensonfamilyblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/ash-wednesday.html
In 2005 Brady had his first surgery, to remove a tumor encapsulating a baby tooth that hadn’t come in. We were expecting a long surgery of many hours to remove the tumor and place a metal plate or bone graft, and a 2-3 night stay in the hospital. The wonderful women in my Bible study put together a care package for Joe and me and one of my friends brought it to the hospital while we were in the waiting room. In addition to the snacks, magazines and drinks, one of my Bible study sisters had written out a prayer. Her daily devotional had Isaiah 43 that day, and she had inserted Brady’s name. It was so powerful and such a comfort that I have prayed Isaiah 43 and inserted the names of many, many people over the last 10 years.
Isaiah 43 is the Old Testament reading appointed for today, and while we didn’t teach on this in Christ Church Kids worship, I wanted to share it with you. I hope that it blesses you and gives you comfort to insert the names of the people for whom you are praying.
Director of Ministry to Children, Youth and Families
1 But now, this is what the Lord says--
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, Luke;
I have summoned you by name, Luke; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, Luke,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, Luke,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, Luke,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom, Luke,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you, Luke,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, Luke, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth--
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”