It is not Wise to Judge

Eight Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture: Sirach 27:4-7

These words come from the Apocrypha from Sirach also known as Ecclesiasticus. Written by Jeshua be Eleazar be Sira in Alexandria, Egypt in the second century BCE, Sirach gives us wise phrases much like the book of Proverbs. Today’s passage is about judging strangers by their words (and actions) rather than trusting them outright. Without developing xenophobia, we might choose to pay more attention to the wisdom of our words and the fruits of our actions.

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LPTW Epiphany 8, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 8, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Joseph is Reconciled

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture: Genesis 45: 3-11, 15

Today we depart from our prophet lineage to catch up with a story from the first book of the Bible at its climax. The long saga of Joseph and his brothers is about to come to an end. Joseph does share many traits with the prophets. In addition to foretelling the future, he attributes his crazy circumstances to God’s ultimate care. His faith in God changes how he views his situation. And it informs how he chooses to treat his family. Today’s focus is on forgiveness.

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LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Trust in the Lord

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture:  Jeremiah 17:5-10

This reading is a standard, blessing and curse type saying, an oracle of judgment against Judah. Although it reads like other wisdom literature, it is written after King Josiah’s reform has failed and before the Exile. Jeremiah is warning the people to put their trust back in the Lord, and to stop thinking anything or anyone else can save them. Our approach for this class will be to build trust among the students and to explore the concept of placing our trust in God.

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LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

The Call of Isaiah

Fifth Week after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture:  Isaiah 6:1-8

Two themes weave together in today’s reading: an experience of God and a commissioning to ministry. Isaiah has a mystical experience and is in a state of awe. In this state, he is called to be a prophet to God’s people, to speak on behalf of the Lord. He answers with the famous phrase, “Here I am.” Too often these themes are examined separately, losing the power of one leading directly to the other. We first experience God, then we serve God. Divorcing the two leads to empty worship without service or empty service without worship.

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LPTW Epiphany 5, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 5, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Blessing

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C
Scripture: Luke 6:17-26

Last week, we hear about Jesus calling the first disciples. Today, Jesus introduces new teachings to his disciples and those who are gathered around him. In Luke 6:12-16, Jesus chooses and names his 12 disciples, so this is his first teaching directly to them. A teaching of blessing the poor, a teaching of reversals.

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LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Adults

Love, Bless, Give

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C
Scripture: Luke 6:27-38

Jesus continues his teaching with disciples from last week. Instructing them on what this new way of life, this new way of being means. These are reversals and things that flip the current way of life on its head. As we near the end of Epiphany, I wonder what these reversals say to us.

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LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Adults

The Call of Isaiah

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture:  Isaiah 6:1-8

Two themes weave together in today’s reading: an experience of God and a commissioning to ministry. Isaiah has a mystical experience and is in a state of awe. In this state, he is called to be a prophet to God’s people, to speak on behalf of the Lord. He answers with the famous phrase, “Here I am.” Too often these themes are examined separately, losing the power of one leading directly to the other. We first experience God, then we serve God. Divorcing the two leads to empty worship without service or empty service without worship.

Download the Lesson Plans

LPTW Epiphany 5, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 5, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament

Trust in the Lord

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture:  Jeremiah 17:5-10

This reading is a standard, blessing and curse type saying, an oracle of judgment against Judah. Although it reads like other wisdom literature, it is written after King Josiah’s reform has failed and before the Exile. Jeremiah is warning the people to put their trust back in the Lord, and to stop thinking anything or anyone else can save them. Our approach for this class will be to build trust among the students and to explore the concept of placing our trust in God.

Download the Lesson Plans

LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

God Will Care for Us!

All Saints, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture: Isaiah 25:6-9

This is the promise! This is the dream! Today’s scripture passage features Isaiah’s prophesy that God will provide a feast for all people, remove the shroud of death, take away all of our sadness, and bring us to God, “for whom we have waited.” Whew! If that doesn’t warrant an “Alleluia!” I don’t know what does. As Christians, we believe that this prophesy is a foretelling of Jesus coming to walk amongst us, teach us, and carrying our sins to the cross for us – eliminating the finality of death with his resurrection. This image of the heavenly banquet assures us on this All Saints Day that the saints who lived and died telling the story of Jesus are now sitting on the right hand of God, “rejoic(ing) in his salvation.”

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LPTW All Saints, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW All Saints, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Power of Words

Proper 29, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture: 2 Samuel 23:1-3

Final words carry power. Think back over your life and see if you can call to mind the last thing someone important said to you before they were no longer a part of your life. You remember, don’t you? Last words are important because they are our last opportunity to shape things or make an impression. It’s only human to wish that we could know when we were going to speak our last words, so we could make sure to say something profound. We could make sure someone was there to record and share our words with others. David uses his last words to make sure that we are reminded of the promises of God. If you could choose, what would you want to say with your last words?

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LPTW Proper 29, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 29, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament