Turn Toward God

Proper 20, Year C, Old Testament Lesson

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

Today we continue to hear Jeremiah speaking with the people on behalf of God. It seems today that Jeremiah’s voice and God’s voice merge into one as we hear lament over the actions of the people. Jeremiah is overwhelmed with grief because they are not responding to the call to change their ways. In a world that is torn by war, violence, a changing climate and division, it calls us to think what is our role in voicing God’s love and wishes to the people around us who need to hear it and turn toward God.

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LPTW Proper 20, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 20, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

The Wind Blows

Scripture: Jeremiah 4:11-12, [22-28]

 The nature of today’s reading does not lend itself well to study by children because we do not get the whole picture of why God is promising this destruction and judgement. This will be difficult for the children to grasp. Instead, we will focus on the first two versus and the image of the wind. Jeremiah used this image because it would have been something familiar to those he was speaking to as they understand the benefits and destructiveness of wind.

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LPTW Proper 19, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 19, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Build and Plant

Proper 18, Year C, Old Testament Lesson

Scripture: Jeremiah 18:1-11

 We are still in the midst of hearing many lessons from the prophet Jeremiah. Today’s reading is from God’s instruction to Jeremiah to ‘pluck up, break down, and destroy’ and to then ‘build up and plant.’ This is an interpretation of God’s call to Jeremiah. This is what God has sent him to do in this world. We will explore what it means for us.

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LPTW Proper 18, Year C, Younger Children Old Testament
LPTW Proper 18, Year C, Older Children Old Testament

Healing and Wholeness

Proper 9, Year C, Old Testament Lesson

Scripture: 2 Kings 5:1-14

There is a lot going on in this story, but it is enough for children for it to be a story of healing, brought about by a messenger of God. As we continue to hear stories of prophets, it is good to remember they did much more than simply go around announcing doom or hope. They were agents of God’s healing mercies, as indicated in this story. And God’s healing extends beyond the boundaries we usually put up between people. Another lesson of the story is in Naaman’s response to his instructions. We also often want grand gestures and big obvious signs. Sometimes healing comes from the simplest of acts.

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LPTW Proper 9, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 9, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

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