The Greatest Commandment: Lesson Set - FUMC Ann Arbor, MI

The Greatest Commandment
Lesson Set

 

Overview of all workshops in this Rotation:

 


--for 4th-6th grade

  • Creative Motion: Focus on learning the key Bible verse in an unusual way (using Body Sox).
  • Games: Play games that teach learning to Love God with all you’ve got.

--for 1st- 3rd grade:

  • Cooking: Make heart-shaped sugar cookies and share half of each cookie. Talk about loving your neighbor as a way of showing love to God.
  • Video: Watch a video on the Heifer project. Discuss loving God & neighbor.


-for all grades:

  • Art: Make a clay mezuzah. Talk about the need to always remember to love God and to spread the love of the Lord to your neighbor.

This Set also include two "old" lessons used back in 2003 when we first did this rotation, but not used in 2008:

  • Art: Create woven hearts with a pocket for the key verse.
  • Drama: Enact a variety of skits.

 

Scripture Reference:

Matthew 22: 34-40


Key Verse:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:37,39 (NIV)


Rotation Objectives

--at the end of the Rotation, kids should be able to:

  • Name that the story is found in the New Testament in the Gospels.
  • Locate the story in the Bible. (For 3rd grade and up)
  • Re-tell in his/her own words the story of Jesus giving the greatest commandment.
  • Recognize that Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two, which emphasize love: love God with all you’ve got (your heart, soul, and mind) and love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Express ways in which the church today (including the children) carries out Jesus’ commandment to love.

Notes about this Rotation:
This is our second time to do this Rotation (we are in year 7). When we did this Rotation the first time we had 5 groups of kids. Now we have 6 groups, so an additional workshop was needed. You’d think that I as the curriculum coordinator would just add a workshop to the 5 that already existed. No, I have to do things the hard way (though it’s worked out for the best this time). I ended up re-writing everything!


The art workshop we did this time was totally different. The original art workshop is still included here because it was good. I just had a different idea that I wanted to do. Also we did not repeat the drama workshop (it also is included here). It was an ok lesson I just wanted to do something with our body sox. Crazy? Yes, I am.


Story Background:

 

Last month kids learned about the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament. Now that we’ve asked kids to learn all ten, this month they’ll learn that Jesus summarized those ten into two! Together these two are known as the “greatest commandment” and their emphasis is on love. How is it that love sums up the Ten Commandments? How does this greatest love commandment speak to us today? Let’s embark on our study with the hope of teaching children what we learn.

God loved us first. The Bible tells us God’s love story with the human race. Open the Bible for numerous examples of God’s love. Remember how God loved the Israelites, and gave them the Ten Commandments so they’d know how to live? Remember how God loved us, so he sent us Jesus who died for our salvation? All these examples of God’s love teach us how to love in return. Let’s look at our Bible passage, Matthew 22: 34-40.

Putting this in context- what’s the setting/situation?


As Jesus travels about teaching and healing, there are many people who come to believe in him. But there are also religious leaders who are critical of his ministry. In particular were groups such as the Pharisees who were upset that Jesus and his disciples seemed to not follow Jewish law to the letter. They saw Jesus as a threat to their religious system. They challenged Jesus several times, over questions of the “law”. Their challenges became efforts in a sense to “trap” Jesus, to discredit him, to turn people away from him. Our Bible passage tells of one of these attempts at entrapment.

What is it about these Pharisees?


The Pharisees were a strict Jewish sect. They closely kept the laws of God, but to the extreme. Their tendency was to add on to God’s law, believing that their additional rules helped people keep the actual law of God. Instead, this essentially made the law very difficult to follow. For example: The Ten Commandments include number four: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The Sabbath was intended to be a day of rest, recreation and worship. Perhaps God knew we’d need rest and a time to focus on him; that this would help us to love and serve him. But there is the question: What does it really mean to “remember the Sabbath day?”

Over time, there came to be 39 major kinds of work prohibited on the Sabbath (Patterson, 78). This included walking more than 3/5’s of a mile or carrying any kind of load. Farming was not allowed – thus no spitting because that could create a furrow in the soil, and that would be farming. Walking on grass was another no-no for the Sabbath. The bruising of the grass was considered harvest work. The list went on and on.

Many Pharisees were godly men but tended to DESPISE those who didn't share their beliefs. They called such people “sinners.” The Pharisees were so caught up in the details of their man-made laws that they lost sight of the spirit of God’s law. It’s almost as if they forgot why they were following the laws in the first places. The Pharisees were upset that Jesus' disciples picked grain on the Sabbath and that Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath. Jesus frequently argued with the Pharisees, condemning their self-righteous behavior and their strict interpretations of the laws. Prior to our story, Jesus has already had run-ins with the Pharisees. (For a few examples in Matthew that come prior to our story, see 12:1-12 and 15:1-20).

Back to the Bible verse…and more questions


Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question… (Matthew 22:34-35)

Who were the Sadducees?


Sadducees were another Jewish group during the time of Jesus. They weren’t quite as extreme as the Pharisees but shared with them, a hatred of Jesus. In the verses just prior to our story the Sadducees had also been testing Jesus with questions that were squashed by Jesus’ answers. (Matthew 16:1-3, 22:23-33)

Who was this “expert”?


We don’t know his name but he would have been a legal expert, a very sophisticated scholar schooled in interpreting the Jewish Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament, also called the Pentateuch, which included the Ten Commandments). This lawyer obviously has an underlying motive—to test Jesus, to see how he will answer a difficult theological question, to challenge Jesus on the law of the land. At Jesus’ time, there were hundreds and hundreds of commands in the law. This lawyer is thinking that if he can force Jesus to choose one command as the greatest, maybe he’ll leave out something important.

Wait a minute. This ‘law of the land’ stuff is confusing


Let’s back up to last month where our rotation focused on the Ten Commandments. God had brought his people safely out of slavery in Egypt. Once free, God gave the people his law; rules that would help the people know how to live; the rules we know as the Ten Commandments. We didn’t go into it with the kids, but there were also other God-given laws described in the book of Exodus – laws about dealing with property, justice, social and religious duties, and human rights. There are even instructions about how to celebrate feasts such as Passover. All of these were intended by God “to be a guide to good relationships – with God and with other people” (Alexander, 118). It was certainly necessary for Old Testament times. But by the time Jesus walked the Earth things had gotten pretty confusing. As mentioned, there were those who had forgotten the spirit of the law. It is to these people that Jesus speaks. But at the same time, his teaching is also directed towards more “ordinary folks” (and perhaps to us today). It’s about where to put our focus.

Today, all of these laws seem really confusing to us. How much of this ‘old’ law still applies? We can look to the New Testament for the answer. Jesus said:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

When Jesus refers to the “law and the prophets” he is speaking of the law, the Torah, and the prophets, a major portion of the other writings of the Old Testament. So in a sense, Jesus is saying that he has not come to abolish the Old Testament. The word ‘fulfill’ here means to “fill with fuller meaning” (Alexander, 118). Jesus is not saying that we should reject God’s laws. What “fuller meaning” will they have? We are about to see how Jesus is going to simplify things.

Back to the Bible passage – how did Jesus respond?

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Jesus responded by summarizing the entire Ten Commandments into two major categories: Loving God and Loving Others. Surely Jesus surprised the Pharisees by answering with two commandments, but he makes it clear that these two cannot be separated. This had always been at the heart of the commandments, yet the Pharisees had missed the point.

Jesus was quoting the Old Testament


In his answer to the Pharisees, Jesus used words that weren’t his own creation; they were from the Old Testament. The first segment was a quotation from Deuteronomy 6:5 – “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” The second portion was from Leviticus 19:18b – “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus often quoted what we know as the Old Testament. It shows that he really knew the Hebrew Bible! This connection to the Old Testament makes our Art workshop pertinent – taking an ancient art form and filling it with fuller meaning. The project will be to fashion a clay mezuzah (muh-ZOO-zuh). A mezuzah is a small, decorated container, which is attached to the doorframe of a Jewish home. This was a practice began by ancient Jews and continued today. Inside this container is placed a copy of what is called “the Shema.” The Shema includes Deuteronomy 6:5 – “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” The purpose of having a mezuzah is to remind everyone as they pass through the doorway, that they are to love God and spread God’s love to friends and family.

A summary


The Ten Commandments that God gave the Israelites long ago still apply to us today (just ask any of the kids who were here last month!) But we also have them summarized by Jesus into a command to love. Being loved first by God and loving back in all the ways that are possible, with all we’ve got – our heart, soul, and mind. We are commanded to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

How simple: Two commandments, --but really one:
Love.
Love God first.
By loving God first, one is empowered to love one’s neighbor.


One cannot love one’s neighbor, without loving God first
and
one cannot love God without seeking to share that love with others.


 

References: 

  • Alexander, Pat. The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible. Lion Publishing, 1986.
  • Desoto Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX. “The Greatest Commandment: Thoughts On What We Want The Kids To Know.” 2001. http://rotation.infopop.cc/eve...6088121/m/9656088121
  • Patterson, Bob. Discovering Matthew. Guideposts Books, 1985.
  • Simmons, Shraga. “Shema Yisrael.” 1995-2008. http://www.aish.com/literacy/m...hs/Shema_Yisrael.asp
  • Scripture quoted is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

 


A Lesson Set written by Carol Hulbert from: First United Methodist Church

Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

Original Post

The Greatest Commandment

Creative Movement Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities: 

Focus on learning the key Bible verse in an unusual way: create words in the Bible verse by using their bodies while wearing body sox. Photograph their efforts and display the photos on a TV. Discuss loving God with all they’ve got. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]

 

For scripture, objectives, and background - see above.


 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Easel and appropriate marker
  • Index cards (11); Marker
  • Adventure Bibles; One with tabs (Law, History, etc.)
  • Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen
  • Body Sox (tubes made of a very stretchy Lycra)
  • CD player; CD of appropriate music
  • Digital Camera and cords to connect the camera to a TV
  • TV
  • A noise maker

 

Before Start of Class:

  • Write the key Bible verse on the easel.
  • Write the following words on index cards (one word per card): Love, the, Lord, your, God, with, all, heart, and, soul, mind.
  • Have a body sock available to show, but keep it out of sight. (My experience has been that the kids see the body sox and you’ve lost them to their excitement!)
  • Practice hooking the camera to the TV. Make sure that you can display pictures on the TV.
  • Decide what area(s) of the room to “enact” the words.
 
 


Presentation

 

Opening- Welcome & Lesson Introduction:

 

Greet your students warmly. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: First, let’s begin with prayer.

 

Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for bringing us all here today. We are thankful for everything that you have created. You made all of us and you made the beautiful world in which we live. Thank you for your laws that teach us how we should live in your beautiful world. We know you want us to love and care for all of God’s people. Help us to see how best to do that. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

 

Dig - Main Content & Reflection

 

  • Ask: Has anyone ever heard the Bible story from the New Testament, where a Pharisee was trying to trick Jesus? Tell me what you know about that Bible story.

If the students know about the story from Matthew 22:34-40…
Be sure they include:

  • Pharisees testing or wanting to trick Jesus,
  • Who were the Pharisees? [Have them look it up in dictionary in back of purple Bibles],
  • Pharisees asking Jesus what’s the most important commandment, and Jesus’ reply.

Distribute Adventure Bibles.

 

  • Ask: How many books are there in the Bible? (66)
  • Besides being divided into books, what are some other ways the Bible is divided?

Say: The Bible is divided into two Testaments – the Old and the New Testament. The Bible is also divided into collections.

  • Ask: What do we call the collection where stories about Jesus are found? (the Gospels)

Say: Stories about Jesus are found in the Gospels. If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the Gospel section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd do tabs for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]

Have kids find Matthew, chapter 22, verse 34 in their Bibles. Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament. (Opening the Bible in middle lands you usually in Psalms. Taking just the back half and finding middle of that, gets you to beginning of NT.)

If the students did not know the story…
Have kids take turns reading verses 34-40.

  •  Ask: Who were the Pharisees?

If students don’t know, have them look up the word “Pharisee” in the dictionary in the back of the Bibles. [On page 1446.]

  • Ask: What is this story called? (the greatest commandment)

Say: You can find that out by looking at the heading just above verse 34.

  • Ask: Why do you suppose it’s called the greatest commandment?


Say: The Pharisee was trying to trick Jesus into picking one commandment that was more important of all of the Ten Commandments. And, at Jesus’ time, there were hundreds and hundreds of other commands that the Pharisees had come up with. This expert in the law is thinking that if he can force Jesus to choose one command as the greatest, maybe Jesus will leave out something important. This Pharisee who was questioning Jesus wanted to know what the most important commandment was.

  • Ask: What were we learning about last month? (the Ten Commandments)

What was Jesus’ reply – what did he say was the greatest commandment?

Point out the “Words to Treasure” in the box on page 1081. Have everyone read these words together. Tell them that this is our key Bible verse for the month.

Have everyone say the verse again.

 

The Activity:

 

Say: So far we have used our ears and our mouths to learn about our story – our mouths because talking about a story is an excellent way to learn about it. Now I would like us to use our whole body. We are going to use our whole bodies to spell out the words to our key Bible verse. And to make it more interesting…we’ll be wearing what are called body sox. [Show a body sock.]

Sound the noisemaker. Tell the students that when they hear that sound they must stop talking and be still.

picture showing a portion of the word LOVEForm groups for the first two or three words (Love, the, Lord). Tell each group what word they will be performing. Encourage them to plan out how they will present this word – laying on the floor, or standing up? [Do this before passing out body sox!]
Say: I will be taking digital photos of their efforts that we can look at on the TV.

Tell everyone to take off their shoes.
Pass out body sox and have everyone put them on.

 

[Expect chaos for several minutes because of the excitement of the body sox. After a couple of minutes, sound the noisemaker.]

Ask the groups to form their words. Photograph each word. Give them the next word to create. Continue until 7 minutes are left in class.

Discussion:

 

Have everyone take off the body sox and sit down over by the TV.
Show the pictures on the TV.

Say: Jesus told us to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew, chapter 22, verses 37 and 39.

  • Ask: What does Jesus mean – to love our neighbors? (means we help people who are in need)
  • Ask: What are different ways to love our neighbor? (include programs that your church is involved in such as Habitat for Humanity, local programs, etc.)

Closing:

 

Say: Today we used all of ourselves to study God’s word from the Bible. We have learned that Jesus gave us a summary of what we should do –
It is amazingly simple. Love.
Love God first.
Then by loving God first, we are empowered to love our neighbor.
One cannot love one’s neighbor, without loving God first
and
one cannot love God without seeking to share that love with others.
This week try to remember to use all of yourself in loving God and others.



A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from: First United Methodist Church

Ann Arbor, MI 
 
Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI. Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.
 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

 

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The Greatest Commandment

Games Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Play a variety of games to learn the story concepts, especially about loving God with all you’ve got. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]

 

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • A large piece of construction paper; a marker
  • Masking tape
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Bibles
  • Bible dictionary/concordances – use available copies of KidCordance
  • Easel with paper; appropriate marker
  • Blindfolds (two)


Before Start of Class:

  • Make “Love Note Scrolls” - Draw a large heart on a piece of construction paper. Write the key Bible verse on the heart, covering as much of the heart as possible. Include the Bible reference. Cut the heart into 10 pieces so it becomes like a puzzle.
  • Roll each of the pieces into a scroll and tie with yarn. Hide the scrolls around the room before kids arrive. [The room is pretty empty, so obvious and in the open is ok. The hunt isn’t what’s important.]
  • Write the key Bible verse on the easel.


 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction: 


Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: Let’s start with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: Lord, we are so thankful for your love for us. Help us to always remember to love you back, not half-heartedly but with all of our heart, and with all of our soul, and with all of our mind. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

  • Ask: Have you ever received a letter in the mail from someone special?

Was it signed “Love” and then the name of the person it was from? (like “love, Grandma"
).

Hold up a Bible.
Say: The Bible is like a letter God has sent to us. At the end it doesn’t say, “Love God” but the whole Bible is like a love letter from God. That’s because the Bible tells us stories of how much God loves us.

Say: Today, we use the Bible in the form of a book but when the Bible was first written a long time ago, it was written on scrolls. See if you can find any little scrolls hidden in the room. When you find one scroll, bring it back here and place it on the table and sit down.
[There will be 10 scrolls.]

Allow kids to search for scrolls.
When all the pieces have been found, gather kids together again.

  • Ask: What does your scroll say?

Say: These scrolls look like pieces of a puzzle. Let’s see if by putting them together, they make sense.
Have kids put the pieces together to form the heart. (You may need to tape them to the table with loops of masking tape.)

When the puzzle is complete read the verse and reference aloud with the students.

  • Ask: Where would we find this verse in our Bibles? (in the book of Matthew)
  • Is that in the Old Testament or the New Testament? (1st book of New Testament)
  • What are the first four books of the New Testament (matthew, mark, luke, john)

Have kids find the Bible verse in their Bibles.
Check to make sure that kids know how to interpret the reference written on the heart puzzle – Matthew 22:37-39 – that the number before the colon is the chapter number and the numbers after the colon are the verses.

Say: When we are done reading our Bible story we are going to say what is said in church after the scripture is read. Be ready to say “thanks be to God!”

Have kids take turns reading verses 34-40.
In later weeks of the Rotation, ask the students to tell you the story. Have them check their Bibles for accuracy.

Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us,
The class says: Thanks be to God!

  • Ask: At the beginning in verse 34 there are two unusual words, does anyone know what these words mean: “Pharisees” and “Sadducees”? (allow all answers)
  • Ask: When you come across words in your Bible and you don’t know what they mean, what can you do?

Say: One resource you can use is a Bible dictionary. It works just like a regular dictionary except it has words found in the Bible.

  • Ask: If you brought your own Bible, do you know if it has a Bible dictionary in it?

Have kids look in the back of their Bible to see if it includes a dictionary. (Some may include a concordance or a dictionary/concordance.)

If their Bibles have a dictionary, have some look up Pharisee and some look up Sadducee. Give out copies of KidCordance to those without a Bible dictionary.

 

Using these resources, discuss the definitions of Pharisee and Sadducee.

Say: The Pharisees and Sadducees were groups of Jewish people who did not accept Jesus’ teachings. In fact they argued with Jesus. In our story today, a Pharisee who is identified as a lawyer, is trying to trick Jesus by asking a tough question.

  • Ask: What question did he ask Jesus? (verse 36)

Say: So the Pharisees were testing Jesus because they weren’t happy with what Jesus was teaching. They actually felt threatened by Jesus. They were trying to challenge Jesus in hopes that he would make a mistake and then people wouldn’t follow him anymore.

  • Ask: How did Jesus answer the question? (verses 37-39)

Say: Let’s play a game that will help us think about Jesus’ answer, especially about the first part of his answer.

 

Verse Relay game:


Break the class into two teams. Move to the open portion of the room. Have the teams line up at one end of the room, and you and the Shepherd at other end of room. (Have the easel set up by your end of room.)

Say: We’ll have three different relay races, in each one you come from your end of the room over to our end, say the Bible verse, and go back to your team. Then the next person can come over. Each leg of the relay will be slightly different. In the first leg, you will hop on one foot over to this side of the room, recite the key verse, and hop on one foot back.

Run this leg of the relay. Don’t dwell too much on which team wins.

Say: For this second leg of the relay, you’ll put on a blindfold, find your way over to us, recite the verse as best you can, take the blindfold off and run back to your team.

Run the second leg. (You may guide students by giving verbal directions).

Say: For this last leg of the relay, run over to our side, recite the verse and run back.

Run the third leg. Have everyone sit down when done.

  • Ask: Which relay was the hardest?
  • Which was the easiest?
  • Why?

Say: We do our best at a game like this when we can use all our body parts; using both legs or being able to see. That way we can give it our all.

  • Ask: Do you suppose that is what Jesus meant in our story today when he said, “love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind?

Spend some time discussing this idea of loving God with “all you’ve got.”

  • Ask: What does this mean for us today?
  • What would it look like if we only loved God with half of our heart?
  • Ask: What would happen if other things got a bigger part of our heart than God?
  • What do you suppose would happen if other things got a bigger portion of our mind than God?

Shoe Mix-up

Break the class into two different teams, but this time make one team much larger than the other. Have all the kids take off their shoes and mix them up in a pile across the room.

Say: We’re going to do another relay race. This time the object is to get over here, find your shoes, put them on and go back. The object is to see which team gets the most kids through the relay in 3 minutes time .

Ignore the probable protest that the teams aren’t fairly divided.
Say: Oh yes, the rules are that this team (point to bigger team) must use only one hand and they must hop back and forth on one foot.

Run the relay.

  • Ask: What happened in this race? (the team with fewer kids got more kids through the relay because they were using everything they had to accomplish the task)
  • Ask: How is running a race with one foot or putting on shoes with one hand like serving God using only part of yourself?
  • Do you suppose we could accomplish more for God if we used all of ourselves?

 

Closing:
Say: God loves you. God wants you, (God wants all of us) to love him with EVERYTHING we’ve got. This week think about loving God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.

If you have extra time:
Do “glads and sads” – go around the room and each student tells one good thing that happened to them this past week and one bad thing.


Resources:


 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Greatest Commandment

Cooking Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Make heart-shaped sugar cookies and share half of each cookie. Talk about loving your neighbor as a way of showing love to God. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]

 

For scripture, objectives, and background - see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Cookie sheets
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • table knives
  • Slice-and-bake type sugar cookie dough, keep refrigerated until ready to use (one “roll” makes 12 large cookies- kids will be able to eat half and share half of one cookie)
  • Aprons
  • Bibles (for use with 3rd grade); one purple Adventure Bible
  • “Props”: items that won’t actually get opened and used, but will be talked about: a box of baking soda, a bag of sugar, an egg carton (can be empty, no eggs are needed), and a bag of flour
  • Frosting
  • multi-colored decorating sprinkles
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • Pencil

    Before Start of Class:
  • Preheat convection oven to 350. Turn on vent fan (switch to right of refrigerator).
  • Wash one metal table.
  • Put “props” on the metal table.
  • Pre-slice the cookie dough into 24 slices per roll – slices of about 3/8”. (Works best to “square up” the roll before slicing— so end up with squares rather than circles.) Put slices back in refrigerator.
  • On the cooking cart in the Social Hall place a stack of plates, the frosting, the sprinkles and the table knives.
  • Bookmark the story in a purple Adventure Bible.


 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:


Gather everyone around the tables in the Social Hall. Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Cooking Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: Today we’ll be making cookies but first let’s begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for bringing us all here today. We are thankful for everything that you have created. You made all of us. Help us to understand that we are connected to each other. We know you want us to love and care for all of God’s people. Help us to see how best to do that. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:

  • Ask: How many of you have learned all of the Ten Commandments?
  • Did everyone earn their coupon for a free beverage at The World Peace Café by learning the Ten Commandments?

Say: We are continuing this challenge for you to earn a coupon by saying (or singing) the Ten Commandments to your Shepherd.

  • Ask: Do you suppose that Jesus followed the Ten Commandments?

Say: Since they were God’s laws we can be pretty sure that Jesus followed the Ten Commandments.

  • Ask: Who knows the story in the Bible where Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two commandments?

Say: Let’s look this story up.

  • Ask: The Bible is divided into two sections, what are they? (Old & New Testament)
  • If we want to read a story about Jesus, where would we find it – in the Old Testament or the New Testament of the Bible? (new testament)
  • What do we call the first four books of the New Testament? (the Gospels)

Say: The word Gospel means “good news.” Jesus teaches us the good news about God’s love for us.

For 3rd graders (who visit in week 2):
Distribute Bibles.
Have kids find Matthew, chapter 22, verse 34 in their Bibles. [Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament. Opening the Bible in middle lands you usually in Psalms. Taking just the back half and finding middle of that, gets you to beginning of NT.]
Ask students to tell you this story. Have them read verses 34-40 if they need to.

For 1st and 2nd graders:
Hold a Bible open to Matthew.
Say: This story is from the New Testament of the Bible. It is from the book of Matthew. Jesus was teaching the people. There were certain Jewish religious leaders called Pharisees, who were more concerned with their own laws than God’s laws – the Ten Commandments. The Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus, so they asked him what they thought would be a hard question. One of them asked: What is the most important law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’

For all students:
Say: We are going to practice what is said in church after the scripture is read. Be ready to say “thanks be to God!” For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us,
The class says: Thanks be to God!

  • Ask: What was the question that the Pharisee asked Jesus?

Say: Jesus was being questioned about what the most important commandment was. Jesus was simplifying God’s ten laws. He summed it all up into two commandments. The first one was: Love God, loving him with all you’ve got (your heart and soul and mind). The second one was: love your neighbor as you love yourself. We call these two commandments the “Greatest Commandment”, because they are both about love.

Say: Let’s make cookies now and we can talk more while we bake.

 

Move into the kitchen.

Have everyone put on aprons, wash their hands, and gather around the metal table in the kitchen.

In the Kitchen:
Say: We’ve got all the ingredients here to make cookies (indicate the props).
Ask: What would happen if we didn’t have any baking soda? (the cookies wouldn’t rise)
What would happen if we didn’t have any eggs? (are the “glue” in the recipe)
Could we bake cookies without sugar? (wouldn’t be sweet)
Say: We need all these ingredients to make good cookies don’t we. Sometimes people say they love God but then there are other times when they act like they don’t love God. That’s kind of like missing an ingredient in cookie dough.

Say: We’re going to make cookies today from dough that’s already mixed and has all the ingredients we need. We’re going to put all of our love into our cookies.
Bring out the refrigerated, sliced cookie dough.

Say: Because we are talking about love, you may each make one large heart-shaped cookie.

Take 2 slices of dough. Demonstrate how to cut one slice in half using a table knife. Take the 2 halves and put them on two adjacent edges of the other slice. Mold the dough pieces together, making a heart shape.

Say: You are using two slices of dough to make one large cookie. That’s just like Jesus taking the two commandments (love God, and love your neighbor) and saying that they together were the greatest commandment.

Distribute table knifes and dough slices. Have kids work right on metal table.
Place the cookies on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Write the students name on the parchment paper next to their cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees about 7 minutes. Place the Shepherd in charge of watching the cookies. Have the Shepherd bring the cookies out to the Social Hall when done.

While cookies are baking, have students wash hands and return to the tables in the Social Hall.

 

Discussion:

  • Ask: What do you suppose Jesus meant by “love your neighbor as you love yourself?
  • Did Jesus mean “neighbor” as the person who lives in the house or apartment next to yours?
  • Who is our neighbor and how do we show them love? (allow all answers)

Say: So it’s important to love God and to love our neighbor. Jesus told us to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… love your neighbor as you love yourself.” We find that Bible verse in Matthew, chapter 22, verses 37 and 39.

Say: Our neighbor could be anyone. To love our neighbors, means we help people who are in need.

  • Ask: What are different ways to love our neighbor? (include various programs that the church is involved in both locally and globally)

Say: Now that our cookies are cooled, lets decorate them with frosting and sprinkles.

Pass out plates, table knives, frosting and supplies.
Have kids use clean table knives, frosting, and sprinkles to decorate their cookie.

If you need more time to wait for the cookies to cool:
Ask children to create a recipe for loving God. (For example: take 1 hour of worship, and mix in 1 hour of Sunday’s Cool. In a separate bowl add 3 tasks of kindness.

When the cookies are decorated:
Say: When you are all done, I want you to cut your cookie in half. You may eat half, but I want you to share the other half with someone else, preferably someone who is not in your family.
Offer sandwich bags for storing shared cookie halves.

Closing:
Say: God loves you! In return, God asks us to love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We show our love for God by showing love to our neighbors. This week, think about who your neighbor is, and how you can love them. Remember to share half your cookie with someone; share with them the story of the Greatest Commandment.


Resources:


 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Greatest Commandment

Video Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

View a video on Heifer Project International. Discuss loving God and your neighbor. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]

 

Note: You may substitute the video of a mission agency your church works with. Just make sure it is age-appropriate.



Video Reference: The Promise, Heifer International, 1995.
Total viewing time: 9 minutes

 

For scripture, objectives, and background - see above.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • The video listed above
  • TV/VCR
  • One purple Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.)
  • For 1st & 2nd grade: a copy of the story to read to them, cut to fit inside a Bible
  • For 3rd grade: Purple Adventure Bibles and a Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen
  • Snack items: goldfish crackers, plastic cups, napkins, water pitcher
  • Strips of cardstock (10)
  • Marker
  • Two different colors of construction paper cut into large heart shapes
  • Scissors
  • An envelope



Before Start of Class:

 

  1. Preview the video. Note how to pronounce the boys name.
  2. In the kitchen, fill a pitcher with ice and water. Gather enough plastic cups – the washable type – to serve water and Goldfish crackers.
  3. Upstairs, prepare snack by pouring Goldfish crackers into cups. Pour cups of water.
  4. Make sure you know how to use the VCR. Insert the video and have it cued to the start.
  5. Write the key verse on the 10 strips of paper breaking it into short phrases. Include the Bible reference as one strip. | Love the | Lord your God | with all your | heart and | with all your | soul and | with all your mind. | Love your neighbor | as you love yourself | Matthew 22:37,39 |
  6. On one of the heart shapes write (in large letters) “Love God” and on the other, write “Love Others.” Cut each heart into six pieces (so they fit together like a puzzle). Mix up all the pieces and place them in the envelope.
  7. Place the copy of the story to read to 1st & 2nd graders inside a purple Adventure Bible.


 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:


Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the video workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: Let’s begin with prayer. Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, we are so thankful for your love for us. Help us to always remember to love you back, not half-heartedly but with all of our heart, and with all of our soul, and with all of our mind. In the name of Jesus, who taught us about love… (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:

  • Ask: What sort of chores do you do around the house to help your family?
  • Do you think in other countries that kids have the same chores you do?

Say: In our video we’re going to learn about a child who lives in India and a child who lives in Africa. You’ll see that they have some very different chores in their families. Before we start, lets talk about one more thing: tell me what school you go to, and how you get to school?
Spend a few minutes having each child share what school they go to and how they get to school (bus, walk, etc).

Say: This video is about two children. First we’ll watch about an 8-year-old boy named Parmatma who lives in India. Let’s watch and see what Parmatma does for chores and how he gets to school.

Show 1st part of video:


Have the Shepherd distribute the snack.

 

START the video at the beginning.
VIEW scene of about 4 and a half minutes.
PAUSE after Parmatma says, “I want to thank the children who sent me the buffalo. I love my calf.”

  • Ask: What do you think of Parmatma’s chores?
  • How about getting up when it was cold to milk a water buffalo?
  • Could you do that?
  • What about collecting dung?
  • Ask: How does having this water buffalo help his family? (provides food, fuel, milk to sell which gives them money so Parmatma can go to school)
  • What do you suppose it would be like to not be able to go to school just because your family was too poor?
  • Do you remember Parmatma saying how they got their water buffalo? (it was a gift from Heifer Project International)

Say: Heifer Project is an organization that our church has given money to. They use money that people donate, to buy animals for someone who really needs one.

  • Ask: Do you think it’s a good idea to collect money to use it to buy animals for poorer people?
  • Why? (Allow all answers)

Say: When we get together to help other people it is called doing “mission work.” One of the reasons why our church does mission work is because Jesus asked us to take care of our neighbors. Let’s read about where Jesus said this in the Bible, to learn about what he meant.

  • Ask: Where do we find stories about Jesus, in the Old Testament or the New Testament?

Say: Our story, being a story about Jesus, is from the New Testament of the Bible.

For 1st and 2nd graders:


Hold a purple Adventure Bible.

  • Ask: What do we call the first four books of the New Testament? (the Gospels)

Say: The word gospel means “good news”. The first four books of the New Testament tell the story of the good news that Jesus told us, about God’s love. The four Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are named after their authors. Our story can be found in the Gospel of Matthew. Listen while I read our Bible story.
Read the students the following story, using the copy that was cut to fit inside a Bible. [This might seem like it’s hokey but it helps students to know that you are reading a story from the Bible.]


The story:
“Jesus was teaching the people. There were certain Jewish religious leaders called Pharisees, who were more concerned with their own laws than God’s laws. The Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus so they asked him what they thought would be a hard question. One of them asked: What is the most important law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”



For 3rd graders (who visit later in the month):


Distribute Bibles.

  • Ask: How many books are there in the Bible? (66)
  • Besides being divided into books, what are some other ways the Bible is divided?

Say: The Bible is divided into two Testaments – the Old and the New Testament. The Bible is also divided into collections.

  • Ask: What do we call the collection where stories about Jesus are found? (the Gospels)

Say: Stories about Jesus are found in the Gospels. Our story is actually told in two of the Gospels. If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the Gospel section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd do tabs for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]

Have students find Matthew, chapter 22, verse 34 in their Bibles. Ask students to tell you the story. Read verses 34-40 only if needed to fill in details.
Point out the “Words to Treasure” in the box on page 1081. Have everyone read these words together. Tell them that this is our key Bible verse for the month.
Ask: Who were the Pharisees?
If students don’t know, have them look up the word “Pharisee” in the dictionary in the back of the purple Bibles. [On page 1446.]

For all students:


Say: We are going to practice what is said in church after the scripture is read. Be ready to say “thanks be to God!”
For the Word of God in scripture,
for the Word of God among us,
for the Word of God within us,
The class says: Thanks be to God!

Say: This Pharisee who was questioning Jesus wanted to know what the most important commandment was.

  • Ask: Remember how last month you learned about the Ten Commandments?
  • Did everyone earn their coupon for a free beverage at The World Peace Café by learning the Ten Commandments?

Say: We are continuing into March this challenge to learn the Ten Commandments.

Say: Now, here’s Jesus, who simplified those laws. He summed it all up into two commandments! The first one was: Love God, loving him with all you’ve got (your heart and soul and mind). The second one was: love your neighbor as you love yourself.

  • Ask: What do you suppose Jesus meant by “love your neighbor as you love yourself?

(allow all answers)
Say: Jesus didn’t just mean “neighbor” as the person who lives in the house or apartment next to yours. I would like us to do a little project where we think about love.

 

Bring out the envelope with the heart pieces. Distribute a piece to every student.
If you have more than 12 students, cut apart a piece or two until you have enough pieces so that each child gets one. If you have less than 12 students, distribute more than one piece to each student as long as they receive pieces of the same color.
Say: I have passed out puzzle pieces. Find everyone who has a puzzle piece that is the same color as yours and see if together you can assemble your puzzle.

When everyone has found each other there should now be two groups. Have them sit down and each form two circles.
Ask: What do your puzzles say? (love God, and love others)
Say: In your group, discuss ways that you can show that kind of love.
[Have the Shepherd stay with “Love Others” group, and you stay with the “Love God” group.]

Allow groups a few minutes to discuss ways to show love to God or to others. Then call for everyone’s attention and have the two groups briefly report what they discussed.

Some examples:


Ways to love God – attend worship, sing a praise song while taking a shower, pray before going to bed, read the Bible every day, be sure to point out that loving others is a way to show love to God.
Ways to love others - bringing someone food when they are sick, being nice to a new kid in school, walking on the sidewalk instead of trampling through the neighbors yard, donating an item to the FISH project. (FISH: “Families in Service – Here.” A program, which provides opportunities for families of our church to make a difference to children living here in Ann Arbor.)


Say: It’s important to love God, to love ourselves, and to love our neighbor. Our neighbor could be anyone. To love our neighbors, means we help people who are in need. Heifer Project is one way that people from all over the world can show love to people in need. In our video the boy was from India. The rest of the video is about a 9-year-old girl named Beatrice who lives in Uganda, which is in East Africa. Let’s watch the rest of the movie.



Show 2nd part of video:
VIEW scene of about 4 and a half minutes.
STOP at the end.

Ask: Does anyone have any ideas about why this movie is called “The Promise”? (there is the promise of hope for a better life that comes from receiving an animal from Heifer)

Play a key Bible verse memory game:


Say: Let’s play a game to practice our key Bible verse.
Choose two students to be “it.” Distribute the strips of cardstock to the rest of the students. [If you have more than 12 students, choose more students to be “it.”]
Have the students with cardstock hold it up so that it can be seen. Have the “it” students try to arrange the students in the correct order. When they have succeeded, have everyone say the verse together.
Then ask the “it” students to close their eyes, while you ask one student from the “verse line” to step out of line and turn their card in to you. Have the “verse line” fill in the gap – the object is to have the “it” students say which part of the verse is missing. Have everyone say the verse when it is figured out which part is missing.

Continue playing this game choosing different students to be “it” and choosing different students to step out of line. You may consider making it harder and asking more than one student to step out of line.

Closing:
Say: God loves you! In return we are commanded to love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
We show our love for God by showing love to our neighbors. This week, think about who your neighbor is, and ways you can show God’s love.


Resources:

  • The Big Book of Bible Games. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light, 1996. (Game was adapted from “Hiker Search” on page 22)

 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

The Greatest Commandmentmezuzahs

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Make a clay mezuzah. Talk about the need to always remember to love God and to spread the love of the Lord to your neighbor. [Note: All graders visited this workshop.]

For scripture, objectives, and background - see above.



Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.


Supplies List:

  • Easel; appropriate marker
  • For 3rd grade and up: Bibles
  • Table covers
  • Dowels (3/8", cut into 5” lengths, one per child or use larger markers)
  • Scissors
  • Foil
  • Petroleum Jelly; Disposable gloves (one pair)
  • Wax paper; Ruler
  • White Sculpey™ clay – 1.5 oz. per student  [A 1.75 pound box yields 18 mezuzahs]
  • Various colors of Sculpey™ (small quantities)
  • Paper muffin cups
  • Zipper sandwich bags
  • Tools for working clay (optional)
  • Wet wipes
  • Pointed object for poking hole in clay (so that mezuzah can be hung)
  • Parchment-color paper (8.5 x 11") cut in thirds (about 3.5 x 8.5").
  • Sharpie marker
  • Colored Pencils; Pens


Before Start of Class:

  • Cover tables.
  • Take a look at the sample clay mezuzah. Then put it away. Don’t show the kids! [I don’t like to show samples to kids. It tends to make them think that they have to make one that looked like the sample. Allow them to be creative.]
  • Cut approximately 8” squares of wax paper, one per student.
  • Place several colors of Sculpey clay in small blobs (for decorating mezuzahs). Place these blobs of clay on the paper muffin cups.
  • Cut aluminum foil into strips about 2” wide by 6-7” long. Wrap the dowels with the foil.
  • Wear the disposable gloves and lightly rub Petroleum jelly over the dowels so they will slide out easily from the clay.
  • For 3rd grade and up: write the words “Pharisees” and Sadducees” on the easel.
  • Manipulate the Sculpey until it is soft. Shape into balls about 1.5” in diameter, one per child.


Lesson Plan

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Art Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

Begin with prayer. Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending.
A suggestion: “Holy One, in this time of Lent we think towards Easter. We think about how your son gave up his life for us. We think about all that Jesus taught us, especially about love. Help us to love you and to love others with all of our heart, and soul and mind. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

Dig - Main Content and Reflection

Ask:  Do you know your neighbors?
Who are our neighbors?
Just the people who live in the next-door house or apartment?

Say: Jesus asked us to take care of our neighbors. Let’s read about where Jesus said this in the Bible, to learn about what he meant.

Ask: Where in the Bible would we read about Jesus?
What are the first four books of the New Testament?
What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
What does the word “Gospel” mean?

Say: The word Gospel means “good news.” Jesus teaches us the good news about God’s love for us.

For 3rd grade and up:
Distribute Bibles.
Have everyone find Matthew 22:34. Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament. [Opening the Bible in middle lands you usually in Psalms. Taking just the back half and finding middle of that, gets you to beginning of NT.]
Have kids take turns reading verses 34-40.
[In later weeks of the Rotation, have everyone find the verse, then ask kids to tell you the story. Read verses only if needed to fill in details.]

A note about the Bibles in use for 4th- 6th graders: The Bibles in this room are all different versions. If reading takes place out of the Bibles allow the kids to notice that there are differences.
Show them that they can tell what version they are reading by looking at the spine:
NRSV – New Revised Standard Version
NIV – New International Version
TEV – Today’s English Version (also called the Good News Bible)
CEV – Contemporary English Version
NLT – New Living Translation
For 1st and 2nd graders:

Read the students the following story while holding open an Adventure Bible

Jesus was teaching the people. In this group of people were certain Jewish religious leaders called Pharisees. The Pharisees knew all Ten Commandments but they also made up more laws. They thought that their laws helped people to not break God’s laws. But instead their laws made it very hard to keep God’s law. The Pharisees didn’t like Jesus. They wanted to trick Jesus so they asked him what they thought would be a hard question.
One of them asked Jesus: What is the most important law?
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.”


For all students:
Say: So Jesus was being questioned as to what the most important commandment was. Today we are going to make a special box that can hold a written copy of that most important commandment.

Ask: Remember how last month you learned about the Ten Commandments? Do you suppose it would be hard to decide which was the most important of those ten?

Say: Jesus was simplifying the Ten Commandments. He summed them all up into two commandments.
Ask: What were those two commandments? (verse 37, and verse 39)
Say: The first one was: Love God with all you’ve got— your heart, and your soul, and your mind. The second commandment was: love your neighbor as you love yourself. These two commandments, which are both about love, we call the Greatest Commandment: Love God and love your neighbor.

Start the art project
:

Say: Let’s start on our project – making mezuzahs (muh-ZOO-zuhs) out of clay.
Distribute rolling pins and pieces of wax paper.
Demonstrate rolling out a ball of clay into a rectangular shape, no more than ¼ inch thick; Stress putting pressure on the rolling pin; that the rectangle should be even in thickness, and about 5-6” long. [You and the Shepherd will have to help the younger students. You may decide to roll out the clay ahead of time for this group?]

Distribute balls of clay.

When sheets of clay have been rolled…
Demonstrate how to wrap your sheet of clay around the foil-covered dowel. The dowel will not stay in the mezuzah. It just gives the mezuzah shape while working on it. Close the bottom of the mezuzah but leave the top open. The mezuzah may have a tapered bottom or be square.

Discussion: (while the students are working)
Say: Mezuzahs are containers; they contain a special scripture. This scripture is written on a scroll – a rolled up piece of paper. This small scroll contained the following verse from Deuteronomy, called the Shema. See if you recognize this verse… “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Ask: Did you recognize that verse?
Say: This is the scripture that Jesus quoted in the New Testament and the one he called the greatest commandment!
mezuzah
Demonstrate how to break off bits of the colors of clay and apply them to the mezuzah as decorations. These decorations can be flat or 3-D. Not very much clay is needed. Try not to add too much to the thickness of the mezuzah.

TAKE NOTE!
Say: Mezuzahs were put up on the doorframe of Jewish homes – both in Jesus’ day and today. Because this is a Jewish tradition, it would likely be offensive to Jews if they saw a mezuzah with a cross on it. 

Say: Every time the Jewish people go in or out of their house they would touch the mezuzah as a reminder. The purpose of the mezuzah is to remind you to love the Lord your God and spread the love of the Lord to your friends and family.
Do:  Instruct the children in saying the key Bible verse.
Say: This is what we’ll put into our mezuzah’s – our key Bible verse. If you have time you may write your key verse out. [Provide paper and colored pencils.] Otherwise we will provide a slip of paper with the key verse written on it.
[If a student writes out their own verse, have them copy it out of the Bible. Write lightly in pencil their name somewhere on the paper. Collect these to distribute next week with the mezuzahs.]

Ask: Why do you suppose God emphasized loving him with all we’ve got - our heart, our soul and our mind?
How is loving God related to loving other people?


MAKE SURE that you write the student’s name on the back of their mezuzah using the Sharpie marker.

Other Discussion Points:

  • Mezuzahs can be made of ceramics, wood, metal, glass, clay etc.
  • Discuss different ways to love our neighbor.


Closing
:

Ask: Why do Jewish people hang a mezuzah in their home?
Where do you suppose you’ll hang your mezuzah in your home?
Say: Talk to your parents about where to hang it. Explain to them the meaning of a mezuzah. Perhaps you’ll take home your mezuzah and hang it outside your bedroom door.

Cleanup:
Put a hole in the top of each mezuzah to allow it to be hung up.
Bring up a cookie sheet from the kitchen and a piece of parchment paper. Place the mezuzahs on the parchment-covered sheet, removing the dowels. Bake as directed.
Throw out (recycle?) the foil on the dowels. Save the dowels for next week.



Resources:

Derden, Jaymie. “Bible Blast-off! Art Workshop.” G.R.E.A.T. Adventure Dream Team at State Street United Methodist Church, Bristol, VA. 2007. Wood, Eileen Chadis. “Clay Mezuzahs.” 2008. http://www.chadiscrafts.com/fun/claymezuzah.html


 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.
Photos copyright, Carol Hulbert.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Attachments

Photos (2)

The Greatest Commandment 

Old** Art Workshop

 **Re: "Old"

Our church has done this lesson set twice in the past ten years. This "woven heart" art project was replaced by the "Mezzuzah" art project also posted here in this topic.


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Create a woven heart.

 

Workshop Objectives:

  • Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two, which emphasize love: Love God with all you’ve got (your heart, soul, strength and mind) and Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • The main reason to love God is that God loved us first.

For scripture and background - see above.


 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Make a sample woven heart.

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  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Hearts cut from white foamie sheets (one per student), punch an equal number of holes around the edges (so holes are paired). For younger kids, use ribbon to pre-string the “warp” through these holes.
  • Ribbon for weaving, Glue sticks,and scissors.
  • Paper to write key verse on (so fits inside woven heart) – note: preprinted copies available for younger kids.
  • Bibles (older kids)
  • Materials for extra activities (see end of lesson).

Note: You can see a larger copy of the photo at the right by scrolling to the bottom of this lesson and clicking on the attached picture. 



 

Presentation 


Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, introducing yourself and any other adults. Pass around a basket to collect any offering. Remind everyone what the M&M project is for the month. (Collecting money for Heifer International – an organization working to end world hunger by giving cows, goats and other food and income-producing livestock to poor families around the world.) Remind kids that they can vote on what animal we buy with our donations.

[Note: The Shepherd will be quietly taking care of attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: Let’s begin with prayer.

 

Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Lord, Thank you for bringing us all here today. Help us to learn about your love for us and how we can best love you back. Amen.

 


Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Say: For our art project today we are going to make a decorative woven heart. (Show sample).

  • Ask: What is a heart shape, a symbol of? (love)
  • Have you ever received a letter in the mail that was signed “Love” and then the name of the person it was from (like “love, Grandma")?

Hold up a Bible.
Say: The Bible is like a letter God has sent to us. At the end it doesn’t say, “Love God” but the whole Bible is like a love letter from God. That’s because the Bible tells us stories of how much God loves us, and how God wants us to love. OurBible story today is about love. Let’s read what it says.


For 1st and 2nd graders:

Hold open a Bible.
Say: This story is from the New Testament of the Bible. It is from the book of Matthew.
“Jesus was teaching the people. There were certain Jewish religious leaders called Pharisees, who were more concerned with their own laws than God’s laws. The Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus so they asked him what they thought would be a hard question. One of them asked: What is the most important law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Paraphrased from Matthew 22:34-40)
Close the Bible.

For 3rd - 6th graders:

Have kids find Matthew, chapter 22, verse 34 in their Bibles. (Praise kids for bringing their own Bibles.) Have kids take turns reading verses 34-40.
[After the second week of the month, have everyone find the verse, then ask kids to tell you the story. Read verses only if needed to fill in details.]


For all students:
Say: So Jesus was being questioned as to what the most important commandment was. Remember how last month you learned about the Ten Commandments? Do you think it would be hard to decide which was the most important of those ten?
Jesus was simplifying those laws. He summed them all up into two commandments.

  • Ask: What were those two commandments?

Say: (Raise one index finger) the first one was: Love God with all you’ve got— your heart, and your soul, and your mind. The second commandment was: (raise other index finger) love your neighbor as you love yourself. Jesus said that these two commandments were intertwined, (link two index fingers) woven together. These two commandments, which are both about love, we call the Greatest Commandment: Love God and love your neighbor.


Say: Let’s make a woven heart to remind us about weaving together God’s love for us, our love for God and our love for our neighbors.

 


Start the art project:

 

Younger kids:

Say: I have heart shapes that we can weave with ribbon. You can decide if you want to weave the part that goes back and forth or if you want to take one of the hearts that is already partly woven and weave ribbon in and out.

Let kids choose their project and ribbon.
If using pre-strung heart: show them how to take lengths of ribbon and weave it in and out. Allow extra ribbon to hang down.

 

 

For kids starting with the “blank” heart: show them how to weave ribbon across heart.

Add a ribbon loop at the top to hang up the heart. Hand out the pre-printed key verse. Have them slip this paper into the pocket created by the weaving.

 


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Older kids:

Pass out heart shapes and ribbon supplies. Show them how to weave ribbon back and forth. Kids can decide if they want the heart to be “pretty” from both sides or only from one side (their decision determines how the heart is strung).

When heart is strung, show them how to weave ribbon in and out.
Have kids write the key verse on the slips of paper. Have them slip this paper into the pocket created by the weaving.



Discussion: (while the kids are working)

  • Ask: In our Bible story, what did Jesus mean by love your neighbor?

Say: Jesus didn’t just mean “neighbor” as the person who lives in the house or apartment next to yours. A neighbor can be anyone who needs our help.

  • Ask: Is it sometimes hard to love God or to love our neighbor? (yes)

Say: If we are feeling like it’s hard to love God or it’s hard to love other people one thing that can help is to remember that God loved us first. God always loves us. Because God loved us first, we want to love God back.

Say: This weaving we are doing reminds me that all of us are woven together by our common faith in God. Loving our neighbors connects us all together. The ribbon can be thought of as God’s love and as our love for God. As we weave ribbon in and out it’s like weaving love for other people around the love God has for all of us.

Extra activity if finish early:

 

Older kids:

Ten Commandments Concentration game (because the previous rotation had been on the Ten Commandments and the kids enjoyed this game), or New Testament Word Search.

 

Younger kids:

coloring pages of animals for Heifer Project (clip art of different animals that Heifer buys for families).

 


Closing: 

Say: God loves you! Learning Bible stories helps us to see God’s love for all of us. Because God loved us first, we want to love God back. Show your family the woven heart you made. Show them the verse inside. Talk to your family about how our love for God and for other people is woven together because God loved us first.


 

References:

  • www.rotation.org including material written & shared by: Desoto Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX

 

A Lesson Set written by Carol Hulbert from: First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2003 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this materialIf you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:


A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

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The Greatest Commandment

Drama Workshop:


Summary of Lesson Activities:

The Bible story will be told with a short puppet skit. Students will develop and act out dramatic skits on the story concepts.

Workshop Objectives – Children will learn

  • Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two, which emphasize love: love God with all you’ve got (your heart, soul, strength and mind) and
    love your neighbor as yourself.
  • God wants us to serve him with EVERYTHING we have.
  • That Jesus was often challenged by those who didn’t understand his ministry.

For scripture and background - see above.


 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Prepare an opening and/or closing prayer in case you need one.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Two handle-bag puppets
  • Puppet script: “Rules of the House” by Louise Ferry
  • Bibles
  • Drama scenarios – make copies of scenarios for student to use. See reference at end of lesson to find scenarios.
  • Props: microphone, sports equipment, math book (optional).


 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introductions:

Greet your students warmly, introducing yourself and any other adults. Pass around a basket to collect any offering. Remind everyone what the M&M project is for the month: Collecting money for Heifer International – an organization working to end world hunger by giving cows, goats and other food and income-producing livestock to poor families around the world. Remind kids that they can vote on what animal we buy with our donations. (See green handout.)


Say: Let’s begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Lord, help us to always remember to love you, not half-heartedly but with all of our heart, and with all of our soul, and with all of our mind. Amen.



[Note: The Shepherd will be quietly taking care of attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]



Dig-Main Content and Reflection:


Say: To start off today, your Shepherd and I will do a little puppet show for you.

Using the two handle-bag puppets, have the Shepherd help you perform “Rules of the House” by Louise Ferry, using the attached puppet script.
Ask: The puppets were talking about a Bible story from the New Testament. Has anyone ever heard that story? Tell me what you know about that Bible story.

Have the kids tell you what they know about the story from Matthew 22:34-40. If they get the story details, skip to the section labeled “For all students”.
If they don’t seem to know the story very well (for example at the beginning of the month), follow the lesson below, dependant on age.

For 3rd grade and up:
Have kids find Matthew, chapter 22, verse 34 in their Bibles. (Praise kids for bringing their own Bibles.) Have kids read verses 34-40 to themselves to pick up any story details they left out. Be sure they include:

  • Pharisees testing or wanting to trick Jesus,
  • Pharisees asking Jesus what’s the most important commandment, and
  • Jesus’ reply.


For younger kids:
Hold a Bible.
Say: This story is from the New Testament of the Bible. It is from the book of Matthew.
“Jesus was teaching the people. There were certain Jewish religious leaders called Pharisees, who were more concerned with their own laws than God’s laws. The Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus so they asked him what they thought would be a hard question. One of them asked: What is the most important law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

For all students:
Say: So this Pharisee was questioning Jesus. He wanted to know what the most important commandment was. Remember how last month you learned about the Ten Commandments? Jesus was simplifying those laws. He summed them all up into two commandments. The first one was: Love God with all you’ve got. The second one was: love your neighbor as you love yourself. We call these two commandments, which are both about love, the Greatest Commandment.

  • Ask: What do you suppose Jesus meant by “loving God with all your heart, soul and mind”? (allow a brief response; If anyone asks about the loving your neighbor part, say that will be discussed in other workshops.)

Say: For the rest of our time we’re going to explore this idea some more by using drama.


For 3rd grade and up:
Divide into a maximum of 5 groups as directed by scenarios. (There are scenarios where reluctant performers can be part of a “group” scene.) Ask the Shepherd to help you form groups. Give each group a printed scenario. Tell them they can act out their scenario in whatever way they want. (They don’t necessarily have to act out the “correct” response.)
Their skit should be short – no more than 3 minutes. They may use any props from the room. Have paper available if they want to write themselves a script.

Allow kids 8-10 minutes to develop and practice their skit. They can work in different parts of the room. (Give them a 2-minute warning before the time is up.) Direct the Shepherd to help you, by circulating among the groups to give any direction.
Be sure and allow enough time to watch the skits.


For younger kids:
Use the scenarios indicated as being appropriate for younger kids. You and the Shepherd will probably have to go to each group and read them their scenario. Tell them they can act out their scenario any way they want. You may need to narrate their skits (it they want you to do so.) They may use any props from the room if they want. You and the Shepherd should help any group that needs assistance.
You’ll have to judge how much time to allow kids to prepare their skits. Give them a 2-minute warning before their time is up.

For all students:
Watch each group perform their skit. After each skit, talk briefly about how it relates to loving God with all our heart, our soul and our mind. Possibilities include:

  • Loving God with all our heart is like our deep feelings—it’s easy to love Mom or Dad, it’s harder to love someone who isn’t being nice. We can think of loving them anyway, because God loved us first.
  • Loving God with all our soul is like our conscience—we know what we are suppose to do. (That doesn’t make it easy though.)
  • Loving God with all our mind—is like our logical thoughts—we are told to love other people but it’s sometimes hard. With our mind (our brain) we can learn a Bible verse by heart; it can help us when we don’t know how to act.
  • Loving God with heart, soul, and mind—loving God with all we’ve got, is like an athlete totally committed to winning a gold metal.


Closing:
Say: God loves you. God wants you, (God wants all of us) to serve him with EVERYTHING we have. I hope some of the drama you have seen will help you think this week about loving God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Encourage everyone to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite friends to come too!


References:


 

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from First UMC

Ann Arbor, MI

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

Originally Posted by CreativeCarol:

If you have found these workshops useful it would make my day if you let me know about it (and/or please make a contribution to rotation.org - see here for details. Thanks!

I found your lessons in this unit very useful with my little darlings. I know that when I open lessons you have written they need little editing and that consistently they are quality. Thank you for all you have shared on Rotation.org.  It's such a blessing to our kids! Thanks! Giana

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Caroline Gray

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