David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan

Season after Pentecost, Proper 8, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture:2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27

Saul and David have a long and complicated history together. Saul became increasingly ineffective and paranoid and even chased David around the countryside trying to kill him at several points. David and Jonathan have been best friends, and Jonathan has given up so much for his friend, David.

Grief is always complicated, but here David simply laments the loss of two very important people. He also curses the circumstances and warns that this bodes poorly for the country. David shows his honesty with God and puts his emotions right out in public.

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LPTW Proper 8, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 8, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Elijah Goes Up in a Whirlwind

Ordinary Time, Proper 8, Year C, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14

This week we skip further ahead to the end of Elijah’s ministry. Elisha is a disciple of Elijah who has been following and learning from the prophet. In today’s passage we follow Elisha and Elijah as Elijah reluctantly passes the torch to Elisha and goes to Heaven in a whirlwind. Why Elijah is reluctant, we do not know. Is it too great a burden to pass? Does Elijah feel he still has more work to do? The text doesn’t say. However, like Ruth following her mother Naomi, Elisha refuses to leave Elijah’s side. When asked what Elisha would like to inherit (like a son) Elisha asks only for a “double share” of Elijah’s “spirit.” This seems to be what calms Elijah before he is carried away with chariots, fire, and a whirlwind.

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

Healing

Season After Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 9, Year B
Scripture: Mark 5:21-43

Jesus heals two people, an elderly woman, and a young girl, neither of whom had any status in their community. The power that was flowing out from Jesus into them can also flow into the things that need healing in our lives, but we must risk opening up to receive it. Jesus seems to insist that the most important work happens in the ordinary and that our faith makes us well.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 9

LPTW Proper 8, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 8, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 8, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 8, Year B, All

This is Only a Test

Proper 8, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14

There are many difficult stories in the Bible that are the stories of the relationship with God and a growing self understanding as God’s people. And we read this one with the perception and understanding of the faithful who remembered and told the story throughout the ages. These Biblical truths are not unlike the hard lessons we sometimes learn in fables or morality plays: Life is not always fair. Things are not always easy – even when we do what is right – and God can seem like a hard taskmaster or judge. And what the writers of Genesis saw as God’s testing of Abraham is not easy to digest.  Adults can often use metaphor to see the lesson for us.  For children this is harder. Be sensitive to these issues and shape the lesson for your own context.

The Book of Genesis provides foundational stories of our faith, God’s calling of a people, their often-failed responses to God, and God’s steadfast love throughout. The Abraham saga tells of the formation of Israel, beginning with the faithfulness of its patriarch Abraham. Although disillusioned with the wickedness of human beings, God separates out one family line to bring divine blessing to all subsequent families of the world. Abraham, the model of absolute faithfulness, trust and obedience, is symbolic of Israel’s idealized self. At the request of God Abraham has left his homeland to travel to a promised land. He has entertained angels unaware and trusted God’s promise of an heir even at an advanced age.

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LPTW Proper 8, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 8, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

Welcoming Christ

Proper 8, Ordinary Time, Year A
Scripture: Matthew 10:40-42

Whoever welcomes you, welcomes Christ. Whoever welcomes Christ, welcomes God. Seems simple, but it is rather profound if you stop to think about it. As these words were being written, there weren’t phones or computers or even the postal service. Welcoming someone who came bearing a message meant welcoming not just the messenger, but also the one who sent the message. God sent Christ as a messenger, as one who came to show us and speak to us about God and living as people of God. For us today, what does welcoming the other look like and how do we welcome Christ into our lives? Who or what are our messengers today?

Download the Lesson Plan for Proper 8

LPTW Proper 8, Year A, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 8, Year A, Older Children
LPTW Proper 8, Year A, Adult
LPTW Proper 8, Year A, All

Following Jesus

Ordinary Time, Proper 8, Year C
Scripture: Luke 9:51-62

Rejection. To the disciples’ horror, the people of the village did not receive Jesus. Retribution, they insisted!  “No,” said Jesus, moving on. Follow, they decided. But what would follow mean? Maybe to follow is to hold focus. Staying on focus involves choosing the important and not getting bogged down in the urgent. What is the important that we follow?

Download the Lesson Plans for Proper 8

LPTW Proper 8, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 8, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Proper 8, Year C, Adult
LPTW Proper 8, Year C, All