Different Ways to Teach the Beatitudes -by Ann Liechty and Phyllis Wezeman

Editor's Note:

Rotation.org is pleased to present the following resource from two renown curriculum writers and Rotation fans:

 

Teaching the Beatitudes

 

An Eleven Part Series:

 

by:  Anna L. Liechty & Phyllis Vos Wezeman

 

 

Summary Each article below lists 12 workshops, with two suggestions for each each workshop. 

 

Offering a variety of useful and practical ideas for exploring and developing activities and for tailoring experiences related to the lesson’s focus 

 

These articles are are part of an eleven-part series on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11), including an overview of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), an overview of the eight statements, an in-depth look at each Beatitude, and a concluding summary.

 

Christian Educators, as well as pastors, will find helpful materials for teaching children, youth, and adult classes.

 

 

 

Quick links to each article found below in this forum:

 

ARTICLE 1  -  An Overview of The Sermon On The Mount (below).

ARTICLE 2  -  An Overview of The Beatitudes.

ARTICLE 3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

ARTICLE 4  -  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

ARTICLE 5  -  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

ARTICLE 6  -  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

ARTICLE 7  -  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

ARTICLE 8  -  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

ARTICLE 9  -  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

ARTICLE 10 - Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

ARTICLE 11  - An Summary of The Sermon On The Mount.

 

 

Two ideas each for each of the following workshops (per article) are

  •  Architecture
  • Art
  • Banners/Textiles
  • Creative Writing
  • Culinary
  • Dance/Gesture/Movement
  • Drama
  • Games
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Puppetry
  • Storytelling

 

[Moderator added above summary and added formatting (bolding, lines, consistency) of each article below for ease of reading.  Also added quick links to each article.]

 




 

The Beatitudes:

 

An Overview of the Sermon on the Mount:

 

Matthew 5 - 7

 

Article one of eleven part series:

 

by:  Anna L. Liechty & Phyllis Vos Wezeman

 

Summary:

Twelve methods, with two suggestions for each, offer a variety of useful and practical ideas for exploring and developing activities and for tailoring experiences related to the lesson’s focus.

 

This article continues an eleven-part series on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11), including an overview of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), an overview of the eight statements, an in-depth look at each Beatitude, and a concluding summary. Christian Educators, as well as pastors, will find helpful materials for teaching children, youth,

and adult classes.

 



Architecture

Construct a diorama, a scene in a shoebox, to depict the topography of the hillside where Jesus sat down to teach his disciples.

Research the history and information on the Church of the Beatitudes in Galilee, constructed on the believed site of the actual Sermon on the Mount. Interview church members who have traveled to Israel and visited the site, if possible.

 


Art

Look for examples of stained glass windows that depict the Scripture passage known as the Sermon on the Mount. Study the differences found in their designs based on time period, culture, and artist.

Recreate the “crowd” that followed Jesus by using a body tracing activity. Have partners outline each other on long sheets of butcher paper or newsprint. Add faces, clothing, and other details; then invite participants to “put themselves in the crowd” as they recreate the scene of the Sermon on the Mount on the wall of the classroom.


Banners/Textiles

 

Create a heart with ribbon, labeling the materials used with important facts regarding the Sermon on the Mount. Be sure to include the who, what, when, where, and why of the story. Cut a heart shape from cardboard and glue the labeled strips of ribbon to the front. Add a ribbon, string, or yarn hanger at the top. Use the heart as reminder of the importance of responding to Jesus’ words with an attitude of the heart, not as a requirement of the law.


Design a pastoral stole with phrases from the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. One side should have the lettering: “And he taught them, saying …”; the other side should simply display the word “BLESSED!”


Creative Writing

 

Select a poetry pattern such as Haiku and write individual poems on the topic of priorities. Use this activity to highlight the fact that Jesus put the priority on the Beatitudes -- the believers guide for living a Christian life.


Write a story from the point of view of a person in the crowd -- what did the experience at Capernaum look like, sound like, and feel like? Encourage writers to add descriptive detail they can imagine based on the Biblical account of the Sermon on the Mount, as well as research they conduct about the time and place.


Culinary

 

Bake an upside-down cake to remind participants that the ideas found in the Sermon on the Mount created a “topsy-turvy” view of the way Christ’s followers were to live.


Whip up a dessert called “Clouds on the Mount.” Partially fill cups with a “mountain” of chocolate pudding and add the “clouds” of whipped topping. Decorate with “happy faces” designed with candy pieces.


 

Dance/Gesture/Movement

 

Learn sign language for the phrase “Kingdom of God.” Explain that this concept is at the heart of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Discuss the implications involved in being invited to participate in God’s Kingdom.

Research the importance of the posture of the rabbi sitting down to teach. Explore the use of the body to express meaning and importance; discuss how we physically reinforce the words we speak with movement and gesture. Compare and contrast that with the approach Jesus used.


 

Drama

 

Read the Scripture passages leading up to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 4:23-24. Write a short dialogue creating first person stories of those in the crowd who had been healed. Have the characters explain why they are in the crowd and following Jesus.

Write a Call to Worship as a choral reading taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Repeat the phrase “And he spoke to them saying …,” and then choose phrases from throughout the three chapters (Matthew 5-7) as the response.


 

Games

 

Design a board game that traces Jesus’ steps on his way to the Mount at Capernaum. Come up with game cards that allow followers to advance and follow or be distracted and fall behind. The winner is the first to arrive at the site for the Sermon on the Mount.

Develop a word search puzzle of key phrases from the Sermon on the Mount. Select key words and phrases from the headings and main teachings found in Matthew 5-7.


Music

 

Sing the old Sunday school song, “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in My Heart.” Make the connection to the importance of hearing Jesus’ words with our hearts and responding with joy.


Write a “piggy back” song about hearing and doing the teachings of Jesus. Choose a simple tune that everyone knows like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and create new words to illustrate the message of the Sermon on the Mount.


Photography

 

Find a picture of the area around Galilee believed to be the site of the Sermon on the Mount. Contrast the beauty and peacefulness of that countryside with the troubling media pictures that come from the conflict in other places in that region. Discuss what words from Jesus’ sermon speak to this situation.

Gather a photo collage of faces from magazines. Since all types of people in the crowd heard Jesus, try to build a collage that reflects the diversity of those who would have been drawn to follow Christ.


 

Puppetry

 

Create a puppet script to explore attitudes and definitions of the word “sermon.” In the exchange, have one puppet help the others understand that this is Jesus’ longest recorded teaching in the Bible, which may have been given at one time, or may have been a combination of many different lessons he taught. The goal would be for all members of the puppet group to learn that “sermon” doesn’t mean “boring.”

Use paper tubes to make rod puppets representing the disciples. Add felt or paper scraps to form the faces and clothing. Glue a craft stick on one side of the bottom of the tube to serve as the handle to hold the puppet. Develop a script that reflects what the disciples might have said in response to Jesus’ sermon.


 

Storytelling

 

Retell the story of the Sermon on the Mount using a children’s Bible or Bible storybook as the lesson.

Share in creating a storytelling game that asks participants to listen to what others say and add to the narrative as it passes from one person to the next. Begin with the phrase “If I were Jesus, I would tell people…”. After everyone has repeated others’ suggestions and added his or her own, compare their ideas with the actual story in the Gospels.

 

Original Post

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