We’re In This Together

Proper 26, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture: Ruth 1:1-18

As we head to our journey’s simultaneous ending and new beginning, Ruth and Naomi set out across the desert on their own path. The journey they are undertaking is the rebranding of their relationship: from mother and daughter-in-law to partners and friends. Ruth’s refusal to leave the side of her mother-in-law was social suicide. Ruth chose family and love over the chance for familiarity and comfort. It is important to note that Ruth is a Moab. In the Hebrew Scriptures there isn’t really a worse thing to be than a Moabite. In Deuteronomy we learn that the Moabites were not allowed to ever convert to Judaism. Marrying a Moabite was out of the question. The author of Ruth states over and over again that Ruth is a Moabite because it is essential to understand that when Ruth returns to Judah with Naomi, she is traveling to a place that despises her because of her heritage. In choosing Naomi, Ruth chooses the God of the Hebrews over the gods of her ancestors. Ruth chooses the unknown and possibly dangerous over the safe and predictable. This section of the text sets us up to begin the journey with these two women over the next couple of weeks and begs the question: would I have the strength to follow if God called me into the unknown?

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LPTW Proper 26, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 26, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Love God, Neighbor, and Self

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 26, Year B
Scripture: Mark 12:28-34

The question from the scribes this week is not meant to be one to challenge or trip Jesus up. Rather, it is common in Jewish tradition to ask if there is a way to summarize commandments. Jesus, in turn, gives a rather traditional answer, siting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might) and Leviticus 19:18 (You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord). Jesus uses these two passages as a foundation for becoming a whole person of God. For Jesus, these are the core texts of faith and belief.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 26

LPTW Proper 26, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 26, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 26, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 26, Year B, All

Faith and Following God

Proper 26, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Joshua 3:7-17 (4:1-7 optional)

After Moses’ death, God commissioned Joshua, Moses’ assistant, to continue to lead the people of Israel. God makes promises to Joshua just as promises had been made to Moses about the land they were to possess and how God was to protect them on their journey. Keep in mind that those on the journey are now the children, grandchildren, or maybe even great grandchildren of the Israelites that were freed. They have been journeying their whole lives, they have heard God’s promises, they have followed Moses’ lead and now Joshua is called upon to be the leader of God’s people and lead them into the promised land.

Today’s story tells us about Joshua readying and taking the Israelites across the Jordan.

Note: I would encourage you to read a few verses further than the lectionary gives us today. If you include the next seven verses (Joshua 4:1-7) you will hear about the setting of the 12 stones to help the future generations remember their crossing over through the Jordan, into the promised land. I’ve included it as optional below.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plans for Proper 26

LPTW Proper 26, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 26, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

Following God Humbly

Proper 26, Year A
Scripture: Matthew 23:1-12

We have heard lots of parables and teachings in the last few weeks addressed to the people who were testing Jesus, the religious leaders who were challenging him. Today, however, he outright addresses their behavior. He’s letting all those around him (not just Jews, but anyone in authority) that it is not right to order others around and lay your heavy burdens on them while you sit by showing how wonderful you are. Matthew has already touched on this a bit in Chapter 6 when he talks about practicing your piety in front of others. For Matthew, it is our true, actions that speak of who we are and how we follow Christ. It is not about showing others what we do or how we follow, but the action and the following that are important. We also see this in Matthew 20:25-26, “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant…”

This is a message that will greatly resonate with children, especially older children who have seen people in authority say one thing and do another or order others around while they do nothing.

Download the Lesson Plans for Proper 26

LPTW Proper 26, Year A, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 26, Year A, Older Children
LPTW Proper 26, Year A, Adults
LPTW Proper 26, Year A, All

Jesus Seeks to Find and Save the Lost

Ordinary Time, Proper 26, Year C
Scripture: Luke 19:1-10

“I must stay at your house tonight.” Would we climb down out of our safe trees if we heard Jesus call up to us, “Hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house tonight?”

Download the Lesson Plans for Proper 26

LPTW Proper 26, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 26, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Proper 26, Year C, Adults
LPTW Proper 26, Year C, All