God Listens to Us

Ordinary Time, Proper 4, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture: 1 Kings 18:20-21 (22-29), 30-39

This week’s Scripture passage is a story about the prophet Elijah, as told in 1 Kings. In this story, Elijah encounters the Prophets of Baal, who worship a God other than the God of Elijah. The prophets and Elijah have a contest to see whose god is more powerful. Though they pray and call on their god all morning, the prophets are unsuccessful. Then, Elijah calls on his God, and God burns Elijah’s sacrifice, even drying up the water that is poured over the altar. Through this act, people see the awesome and mighty power of God. Elijah’s prayer was answered.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 4

LPTW Proper 4, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 4, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Gratitude and Giving

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 27, Year B
Scripture: Mark 12:38-44

The season of Ordinary Time continues for two more Sundays. The Gospel brings us back to noticing what we are being called to do. Clearly it is not to put on a big show or call attention to ourselves. Beware of those whose actions are not compatible with their talk! And perhaps it’s not about the size of the contribution, but the depth of the gratitude.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 27

LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 27, Year B, All

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

Blindness and Faith

Season after Pentecost, Proper 25, Year B
Scripture: Mark 10:46-52

No ceremony, no pomposity, no swooping in with fuss and feathers. No needs assessments, no programs. Jesus simply stands before the pleading blind man and asks: “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus can see that this man has gathered all his courage to ask: “My sight.” Jesus affirms the man’s courage and assures him his faith will make him well.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 25

LPTW Proper 25, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 25, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 25, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 25, Year B, All

Servanthood

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 24, Year B
Scripture: Mark 10:35-45

 

How in the world will we find our place, our position, our status, if we are already “in”? What if there is no top spot – no seat of honor? What if we do not have to compete for a place at the table – the place is already set, the dinner served, the wine poured? The disciples have been scrambling for position. Jesus tells them that the sign of being “in” is not about being served but in looking for whom to serve.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 24

LPTW Proper 24, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 24, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 24, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 24, Year B, All

What Does it Take to Get Into the Kingdom?

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 23, Year B
Scripture: Mark 10:17-31

What does it take to get in? That’s the question that Jesus is asked. Jesus answers the question that is not asked and offers a very different way of being. The commandments of old are valid but insufficient. The way we’ve always done it is not working. What in the world would be an entrance requirement for a way of life you have already begun? What if it is not about getting in but about noticing that you are already in?

Download the lesson plans for Proper 23

LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 23, Year B, All

Jesus Blessed Them

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 22, Year B
Scripture: Mark 10:2-16

 

The Pharisees continue to try to trap Jesus. Divorce: “Is it lawful?” the Pharisees ask. Jesus moves the question to higher ground. Meanwhile, people were bringing their children to Jesus. The disciples still did not “get it” and were trying to turn the children away. Jesus takes the children, lays his hands on them, and blesses them. Do we “get it”?

Download the lesson plans for  Proper 22

LPTW Proper 22, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 22, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 22, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 22, Year B, All

Saltiness

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 21, Year B
Scripture: Mark 9:38-50

Jesus continues to teach, while gently holding a small child on his lap. “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Then, do what you have to do to make sure you place no stumbling block before one of these little ones. If your foot causes you to stumble – cut it off! Hyperbole, perhaps, but the point is clear: pay attention. We are called to be salty people and at peace with one another.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 21

LPTW Proper 21, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 21, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 21, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 21, Year B, All

If You Want to Become My Followers

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 19, Year B
Scripture: Mark 8:27-38

“Who do people say that I am?” Jesus asks his disciples. And they offer the various responses they have heard. “But who do YOU say that I am?” asks Jesus. Ah, the central question. Central for the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. Central for us. Who do WE say that Jesus is?

Download the lesson plans for Proper 19

LPTW Proper 19, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 19, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 19, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 19, Year B, All

Prayers of Healing

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 18, Year B
Scripture: Mark 7:24-37

Two healings. One may have come as a surprise even to Jesus. A woman, not of his flock and not of his tradition, begs Jesus to heal her daughter. Because of her persistence he agrees to heal her daughter. A man, deaf and unable to speak clearly, is brought to Jesus. Jesus takes him, gently, off to one side away from prying eyes and heals him. “Don’t tell anyone about this,” he cautions. But of course, people find out.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 18

LPTW Proper 18, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 18, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 18, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 18, Year B, All