Bible Stories, meditations, activities, crafts, games, outreach projects and more to do together. Three weeks at a time are posted.

Week of September 27

As we get ready to watch the leaves changing color, our liturgical color and season remains the same.  It is the seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost in year A.  We continue with the Parable of Two Sons.   Parables are stories Jesus told to teach lessons.  Jesus often would tell a story to answer a question.  This allowed the listeners then and the listeners now to enter in the story and see the different perspectives.  The lessons of the story are still true today.  Parables invite us to think about the answer.  I tell the children that parables are gifts given to us and are very valuable.  Sometimes, parables can be hard to enter, but if we keep coming back, we will be able to enter into the story.

Bible Story: The Parable of the Sons (Matthew 21:23-32)

Jesus was being questioned by the chief priests and the elders.  He was not being questioned, because they wanted to learn.  He was being questioned because they wanted to trick him and show he was a fraud.  So, they asked him who gave him the authority to do the things he does and say the things he does.  Jesus answered them with a parable.  “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’  “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on, he thought better of it and went. He did the work in the vineyard. “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But the son did what he wanted and never went into the vineyard nor worked in the vineyard.  Which of the two sons did what the father asked?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and sinners are going to enter before you into God’s kingdom. John (the Baptist) came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and sinners believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you did not care enough to change and believe what John told you.”

Meditation:  This parable was told to really upset the chief priests and elder.  Jesus was comparing them to the second son, the ones who said they were doing all the right things, but then did what they wanted ignoring the work and life they told God they would do.  Jesus often called the heads of the religion at that time hypocrites.  They were all words and all show, but did not live what they said.  Their faith was about being noticed, being in authority, and having others to control.  They liked the attention of being thought of as special.  They got confused and started to believe God wanted what they wanted.  God does not want us to fake anything.  God wants a relationship and when we have a relationship with God, our actions begin to live our faith for us.  We see others through the lens of love because we have a loving relationship with God.

Prayer: Most Patient and Loving God, help us to live our faith, to love you and others, to listen and to not be focused on how others see us.  We ask for the Holy Spirit to guide us.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Activities (choose one or more to do during the week.  For links, copy and paste):

  1. Discussion questions- Parables ask us to enter in and sometimes we are different characters or parts of the story.  Where are you in this story?  Tell about that.  What do you think the father was feeling in this story?  What about the first son?  What about the second?  Have you ever not wanted to go to church, but then did and was glad you came?  Have you ever said you would do something and then did not do it?  What happened?  How did the person that was expecting you to do it feel?  How did you feel after?  Has someone ever told you they would do something and then did not?  How did you feel?  At our Baptism, we make promises or our family makes promises to God, do you keep those promises?  What are some ways you can?
  2. Musical response- Joy. Joy. Joy
  3. Craft response: Try a Color by Number experience for younger children.  It is about following instructions to get a beautiful picture.  For older children, try Praying while coloring.  Color by number page ideas: .  For information on praying while coloring:
  4. Outreach/community service response: Look around and find the people who do things that make your life better, but get little thanks (sometimes because you do not see their hard work.)Are they janitors, garbage pick up, mail carrier, secretary’s at a place you go frequently, receptionists at doctor offices, fireman, etc.  Write a thank you note for what they do and put some wrapped candy in the envelope.
  5.  Activity response:  Rewrite, retell or make a comic of the story, changing the vineyard into a situation that fits in today’s world.  Share your creation with another person.
  6.  In-reach response: Help children write and draw coupons to give to family members, redeemable for caring, helpful things like: a hug, setting the table, folding laundry, reading a story, etc.  It may be helpful to brainstorm ideas for the coupons as a group before you begin the project.  While working on the project, discuss how these coupons could be walking his ways.  Ask whether the children think it’s more important to give someone a coupon or to actually fulfill what the coupon offers.
  7.  Game response:  Reverse Hide-N-Seek-All but one person goes and hides.  The person who is it, says quietly “All who her, me come give me (high five, clap, foot bump-choose something different each time) then those who hear run and do the action.  Keep playing switching the person who is it.  For older children, the last person or a person who does the wrong action has to sit out one turn.
  8.  Watching the story: