Dear Jesus, we thank you for being our light in the darkness, our friend on the road, our leader and guide. Help us to come and follow you, all the way to the cross and beyond. In your name we pray, Amen.
1Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Have you ever been up on a mountain or gone camping? What was that experience like?
Why do you think Jesus chose these three friends to see this vision? Why do you think Jesus chose to reveal himself in this way?
Are you good at listening or not? Why or why not? Why do you think God asks the disciples to “Listen to him”? How do we listen for God?
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Why do you think Jesus compares us to salt? What is food like when you have too much salt? Too little? Too much?
Why do you think Jesus says that we are the light of the world? What happens when you turn on a light in a dark room?
Who, in your life, needs more salt or light? In what ways can you be with them?
One of the churches in our parish has begun having inter-generational Sunday School once per month. We call it “Children’s Devotion Time” or “CDT.” Each child in the class has an older adult who serves as an individual mentor during devotion time. It includes an opening prayer, a large group Bible Story, an age-appropriate leaflet about the day that they work on in child/adult pairs, a closing prayer, and a simple craft. It is based on Family God Time, but done at church and for a larger group. Join us in this new faith formation experiment!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, we thank you for being our light in the darkness, our friend on the road, our leader and guide. Help us to come and follow you, all the way to the cross and beyond. In your name we pray, Amen.
12Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 18As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. 23Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
Why do you think Jesus chose fishermen as his first disciples?
What do you think it means to “fish for people”?
What are some ways that you can to what you are good at while showing people how much God loves them?
1. As We Gather: What was your favorite thing that happened this year? Write or draw a picture on the paper provided. (scratch paper and markers provided)
2. Opening Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for sending the star to the wise men so that they could meet Jesus in person, and bring the good news of his coming to earth to all they met. Help us to learn more about this story during Sunday School today.
3. Explain how the day will work and divide students: On Epiphany, we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men to meet Jesus. They had to travel a very long way to get there, so we will be going on our own Epiphany journey today. After I divide you into small groups, you will travel with your small groups to several learning stations throughout the church. At each station, you will be told where to go next. Have a wonderful Epiphany journey today!
(Divide the group into small groups of three or four, depending on how many you have. I usually have all of the students line up from youngest to oldest. Then, I find the center of the line and break it in half, leading the second line parallel to the first line so that they youngest is paired with someone in the middle grades, and the middle grades are paired with confirmation students. After making sure that all of the pairs can get along, I put two pairs together, forming a foursome. Make sure each person gets a small bag to hold the treasures they will collect during their journey. Send each foursome to a different station; they will get to visit all of them by the end.)
1. Chalk the Doorposts: Meet at the back of the church.
One Epiphany tradition is to bless our houses for the New Year. Which better place to bless than our house of worship? Find a doorway in the church that has not yet been chalked. When you are done, it will look like this:
20 + C + M + B + 19
The oldest/tallest person in your group can make the marks while others read the blessing. It goes like this:
The Three Wise Men,
Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar (C M B),
followed the star to Bethlehem and the child Jesus
two thousande and nineteen years ago (20 19)
May Christ bless our home, (+ +)
and remain with us throughout the new year.
Each person can take a piece of chalk and a copy of this blessing with you as you continue your journey to the library/parlor room.
2. Movie: Meet in the library/parlor room.
–Screen and projector, DVD Player — (already in the DVD player) “The Journey of the Three Wise Men: https://youtu.be/CGmeh6CmDpE –paper crowns and two-sided tape
Do you know the story of the Wise Men? Can you picture yourself in the story? Watch this short video to learn more about the story of Epiphany.
Each person make & take a small paper crown with you as you continue your journey to the room behind the stage.
Follow the directions on the star outline sheet. You can color both sides! If you have time, complete the star maze. Each person take your star and maze with you as you continue your journey to the fellowship hall.
4. Song: We Are Marching in the Light of God: Meet in the Fellowship Hall
Take some time to explore the gifts which the Magi brought to Jesus.
Gold is a precious metal. It reminds us that Jesus is our king.
Frankincense is a kind of tree sap that, when burned, makes a other-worldly smell. It was used to worship God, because it was believed that the smoke helped to carry our prayers to God. It reminds us that Jesus is the Son of God.
Myrrh is a also a kind of tree sap. It was dried, and crushed, and added to lotion that people would put on bodies after they died. Its sharp smell was stronger than the smell of death. It reminds us that Jesus came to earth as a real human, and that he would die for us.
Give each person a card. Shake up the room spray and spray one squirt onto each card. Attach a Glue Dot to the center of the card, and then attach one chocolate coin to the Glue Dot. Take it with you as you continue your journey to the kitchen.
6. King Cake: Meet in the kitchen
–cupcakes (one with a dried bean baked inside)
Because it was hard to find Jesus with only a star to guide them, some countries celebrate Epiphany with King Cake. Decorate your cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles, and then eat them. If you find a dried bean in your cupcake, you found Jesus! You get to be the king or queen of our Epiphany party!
If you have time, you can decorate your bag with markers and stickers. Take it with you as you continue your journey to the back of the church.
Then Joseph said to his brothers,
‘Come closer to me.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am your brother Joseph,
whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with
yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve
life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five
more years in which there will be neither ploughing nor harvest. God sent me
before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you
many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a
father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of
Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph,
God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall
settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children
and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that
you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of
famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not
come to poverty.” And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see
that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly
I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father
down here.’ Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while
Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them;
and after that his brothers talked with him.
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
When have people hurt you in your life? How did you know it was time to forgive them? When have you shown mercy to someone even if you were not ready to forgive? When have you been shown mercy by family or friends?
Dear God, help us to see you in times when it might feel like you are not
there, especially when we are hurt, and when we do not have what we need. Amen
Bible Story of the Week: Luke 6:20-21
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Questions of the Week:
What are some things besides money that you could give to someone who is poor or hungry? What are some things you could do for people that do not have all that they need? When are times that you have felt poor or hungry? How did God bless you during those times? Who has been a blessing to you when you have been weeping? What did they do for you?
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep
water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we
have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will
let down the nets.’When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their
nets were beginning to break. So they signalled to their partners in the
other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that
they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’
knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and
all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken;and
so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching
people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything
and followed him.
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
If Jesus came to you at “work” where would you be?
What are you struggling with there that he would tell you to try again? What
are you likely to “catch.” What do you think Jesus means that his disciples
will catch people?
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of
Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus
and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When
the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And
Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has
not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants,
“Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there
were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding
twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them,
“Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He
said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they
took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that
had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who
had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and
said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine
after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until
now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in
Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in
him. 12 After
this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his
disciples; and they remained there a few days.
OF THE WEEK:
Have you ever been to a
wedding? What was that experience
like? Have you ever been at a party
where they ran out of food? What was
that experience like? Why do you think
Jesus decided to help when the wine ran out?
Where do you fit into this story?
Now after they had
left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up,
take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell
you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then
Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and
remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been
spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
Dear God, help me to listen to you, no
matter how you choose to speak to me.
Joseph is dreaming again! Have you been paying attention to your dreams
this season? What do they have to tell
Monday: Matthew 2:13b
Dear Jesus, my time is not always your
time. Help me to follow your lead, even
when it interrupts my plans. Amen.
Have you ever had to get up and go without
advance notice? What was that experience
Tuesday: Matthew 2:13c
Dear God, sometimes unexpected things
happen to me. When I am in the middle of
something unexpected, help me to you that you are present with me. Amen.
What do you think it would have been like
to unexpectedly have to move with a two-year-old for Mary and Joseph? What would it be like for you?
Wednesday: Matthew 2:14
Dear God, today I pray for those who are
traveling because of the threat of war or violence. Keep them safe on their journey, and help
them to know that they are always at home in you. Amen.
Have you ever traveled to a foreign
country? What was that experience like
for you? If you could travel somewhere,
where would you go?
Thursday: Matthew 2:15
Dear God, today I pray for those who live
far from home. Sustain them as they
learn new things, and comfort them when they miss what is familiar. Amen.
What would it have been like for Mary and
Joseph to learn a new language, customs, and even cuisine? What would it be like for you to do so?
Friday: Matthew 2:16
Dear Jesus, today I pray for all children
in the world, in our country, and in my community whose lives are threatened by
violence. Help me to see this danger and
act to bring peace. Amen.
King Herod’s actions against the children
in Bethlehem are similar to Pharaoh’s in Moses’ time. Why do you think he chose to do this? Where are there places in this world where
something similar is happening, even today?
Saturday: Matthew 2:17-18
(Pray in your own words for people you know
who are sad, mourning, or in pain today.)
Have you ever been so sad
that you didn’t know if you would ever stop crying? What was that experience like? What do you think it would have been like to
lose a child to violence? How can you
make a difference in the lives of those who are mourning loss?