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The Greatest Commandment

Video Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

View a video on Heifer Project International. Discuss loving God and your neighbor. The video is now found on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wUwiqUpX_A)

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


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 (now found on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wUwiqUpX_A)
  • TV and video playback device connected to your TV (your cellphone, for example, can connect to the video and show it by cable to your TV screen.)
  • 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 video equipment/cables. Have the video 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.


LESSON PLAN

Opening:

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.”

Prepare to the Show the Video

  • 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 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

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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