Week of August 2

This Sunday is the Eighth Sunday in the Season After Pentecost.  The liturgical color of green still fills our churches.

Last week, we hear how God choose a boy, the youngest, who was a shepherd to do his mighty work.  This week, we will hear how God chose a man who was old and wandered through the desert for his home. 

Bible Story: God Chooses an Old Man, Abram

Once there was a man named Abram.  He wandered in the desert, moving his tent from place to place.  He loved God and believed in God.  One day the Lord came to talk to Abram, and Abram asked, “Who will have all my things when I die”.  Abram was sad because he did not have any children to share his life with.  God promised Abram and his wife Sarai that one day they would be parents, even though they were old and had no children.  God wasn’t sure that Abram understood.  So that night He took him outside, and said, “Do you see all the stars that are in the sky”?  When Abram looked up, the whole night sky was full of stars, so many in fact that he would never be able to count them.  Then God said, “That is how many children you will have”.  Abram was happy that God would bless him with children! Quite a few years later when Abram was ninety-nine years old (older than even your grandparents) the Lord decided to change Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of many.”  He also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah.  God told them again that they would be parents and that they would have a boy.  This time Abraham laughed so hard he fell on his face!  It was hard to believe that he and Sarah would have a child in their old age.  They had waited so long and still did not have children.  They both thought they were too old. One day three visitors came to Abraham’s house.  He hurried to meet them.  “May I get you something to eat and drink?”  Abraham asked.  “Please come in and join us, and have a rest on our pillows.” The visitors agreed, so Abraham brought them some fresh bread, milk, and yummy food. While the visitors were eating, they asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”  Abraham thought this was a little strange, but he replied, “She’s in the other room”.  He had not told them his wife’s name. Then one of the men spoke and said, “I will come back to see you at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening behind the tent flap.  She started to laugh, but covered her mouth and laughed to herself because she didn’t want to be heard.  Then she said to herself, “How can I have a child, I’m almost one hundred years old?” Later when the visitors had left, Abraham and Sarah realized that the man who had told them this was indeed God.  They hoped and trusted God.  But it was hard and sometimes they made had trouble trusting that God would make it happen.  They wanted it on their time and not God’s time. Later Sarah did have a son.  She and Abraham named him Isaac, which means “he laughs.”  They were very excited, and remembered to thank God for Isaac.

Meditation:  Abraham was not the smartest or the strongest man.  Abraham was not perfect.  He goes on to make lots of mistakes and even to sin, yet God chose him above all others to set in motion a plan that would change the world.  God could have set this plan in motion when Abraham and Sarah were at their prime for having children, but God waited until they were much older.  It is sometimes easy for us to forget that God’s measure of what makes a person great does not always come close to our expectations.  Our expectations come from a measure of the things we have been taught to value.  God has said along and throughout the Bible, that is a person’s heart that God values.  What is great is that heart does not have to perfect or do all the right things, just a heart that does not forget God. God sees your heart, too and loves you for who you are inside.  What if we tried to look at others in the way God does.  How would we see others different?  It is, also, easy to think that things should happen on our schedule, but the story tells us, it is not about Abraham and Sarah’s timing, it is about God’s timing.  Patience is waiting and waiting.  Faith is believing and trusting in God’s timing.

Prayer: Almighty Father, you see us as no other can.  Help us to see others through the love you have for each of us.  Help us to see each other through the eyes of our heart.  Also, help us to be patient and know that your timing is always the best.  Through Jesus Christ, your Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Activities (choose one or more to do during the week. Copy and paste links to use them):

  1. Discussion questions- Last week, we heard a story about a boy who was told he was too young and this week, we hear a story about a man who was too old.  What do you think this tells us about God?  What does it say about the age of our physical bodies?  How can you look at others?  What do you think it would mean to try to see others through the lens of God’s love?  Is there anyone that it would be hard to look at that way?  What are some things you are too old for, but wish you could still do?
  2. Musical response: Father Abraham Had Many Sons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o_J30x6E6s , with dance moves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASXowiv3FAc
  3. Craft response: origami and different star crafts: http://www.dltk-bible.com/genesis/star_crafts-index.htm  Stars for preschool craft: https://www.toddler-activities-at-home.com/abraham-and-sarah-crafts.html
  4. Outreach/community service response: Older people in our community often feel isolated.  Draw pictures and mail with a letter to as many members of the church you can think of.  They will love knowing you care.
  5. Activity response: For younger children, here is a coloring page of Sarah & Abraham traveling: https://www.biblewise.com/kids/fun/coloring/abraham-sarah-traveling.php, for older children, have them build a tent and take turns welcoming in other family members with a snack.  Then pack up the tent and move to another room.  What would it be like to live all the time in a tent?   Another idea, go lay out and try to count the stars.
  6. In-reach response:  Take turns for each meal throughout the week being the hospitality person.  The child welcomes each person as they come to the meal (not sitting down until the last one is there) and then acts as a server.  At end of week, how did it feel to be the hospitality person?  How was it to receive the hospitality?  What are ways we can show others hospitality?
  7. Game response: Play “Red Light, Green Light” but use the words “Wait and Go!”  or hide star throughout a play area.  All go in and see how many stars each can find.  The one with the most get to hide all the stars and play begins again. 
  8. Watching the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnq6aB3Dklk, for older children:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdqrwGJYePQ
  9. Flat Jesus activity: Find a picture of your grandparents and take a picture of Flat Jesus with them or take a picture of any of the activities from this week.