Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Parable of the Great Banquet

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Great Banquet, invitations, invite the poor, Kingdom of God, Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 14:15-24, etc.

Below is a lesson set for this story.



The Great Feast

Scripture Reference:

Luke 14:12-24

Bible memory verse: "… Blessed is the person who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." Luke 14:15

In this Rotation children will learn...
The Great Feast is an invitation to join with Jesus.
It is a demonstration of how we are to live with each other, and reach out to all.
It is a glimpse of the promised Kingdom Jesus is calling us into here and now, and in eternity.

Workshops in this lesson set:

  • Art: Kids will create two refrigerator magnet "invitations," one for their own family, and one to give away.
  • Drama-Cooking-Feast:  Students will create a feast where the foods represent an idea in the lesson, sort of like a Seder.
  • Games: Kids will play a game that excludes, and then hear the parable Jesus told of the great feast where all are included by playing a Bingo game. The original game will then be changed so all are included rather than excluded.


This unit was created by Jan Hanson for First Presbyterian Church, Napa CA.
May be used in the local church setting; not for commercial use.

Original Post

The Great Banquet

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Kids will create TWO invitations:

  • An invitation to their family that has a magnet to go on the family refrigerator.
  • An invitation to give to a neighbor or friend about their church.


Scripture Reference:

Luke 14:12-24

See here for key Bible verse and objectives.



Leader Preparation:

  • Read the story ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.
  • invitation Stock Paper
  • Magnet strips
  • Decorating supplies.



Lesson Plan


Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:


Say: Raise your left hand if you’ve ever been invited to a party.
Raise your right hand if you’ve ever invited other people to a party.

Ask:  If you were going to have a wonderful party and you wanted to send out invitations, what are some things you would want to include in the invitation?

Do:  Write their ideas on the white board. Be sure the following are included:

Who is hosting the party?
Who is invited?
Where is the party is being held?
When is the party being held?
Will you attend? RSVP

Ask:  What people would you NOT invite? (this is a trick question)
Why do people send out invitations?

Say:  Let’s read a story about when Jesus was talked about God’s kingdom and the parable (earthly story with a heavenly meaning) he told.

Do:  READ a Bible storybook version to the preschool and K/1 groups. Have the 2nd graders and up, use Bibles and turn to Luke 14:12-24. Ask for volunteers to read verses, or you can read it and have them follow along.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Ask:

  • How do you think the host in the parable felt when the first people to the party didn’t come and gave excuses?
  • Why didn’t he just cancel the party?W
  • Who do you think the host giving the party represents in this story?
  • How do you think God feels when people reject his invitation to become and part of God’s kingdom?
  • Do you think if people say no that God considers canceling that party?

Say:  Let's look at our list we created at the beginning of the class and answer these questions:

  • Who is hosting God's party?
  • Where is it going to take place?
  • Who is invited?
  • What will you do when you get there?
  • Why do some people not want to come?
  • Have YOU RSVPed ??  How do you accept Jesus' invitation to God's Party?


Wormy Added Points for Reflection: 
Discussion of parties and invitations.

  • What might be included in a “great feast”?
  • Why you would want to attend? Who should be invited?  
  • How is a church like a party/feast?
  • What do we celebrate?  
  • How could our church act more like "Jesus party people"?
  • What is it that people "feast on" in God's Kingdom? (it isn't just food!)
  • How do you welcome Jesus into your life and home?
  • How do you welcome others, especially the outcasts, to be part of your life?
  • What "good things" do you offer to others?

Reflection Art Activity

 Do:  Tell kids they will be creating 2 invitations – ONE to remind them that THEY are invited to God’s party, and the SECOND to give to a friend or neighborhood family inviting them to come to our church.

Invitation #1 For You and Your Family:

Dear ________(family name)


You are invited to my Kingdom party!   At my party we worship God, serve others instead of ourselves; forgive and care about each other no matter what.

This party starts right now, and lasts your entire life, and on into eternity in heaven.

I am getting a place ready for you and hope you will say yes!

Love, Jesus

RSVP every Sunday, and every time you do justice, love kindness, and are merciful to others.

 

Do this project on nice INVITATION STOCK PAPER. Kids can write this, or you can provide it on a piece of paper to be glued to a nice invitation stock.  

Then, decorate the invitation with a variety of supplies around it. (feathers, sequins, balloon stickers, glitter, etc.).

Add a MAGNET STRIP to the back of it so that it can be put on the REFRIGERATOR.


Invitation #2   ... Inviting a Friend or Neighbor to Your Church's Kingdom Party.

On colorful invitation card stock, design an invitation inviting others to your church.

Put a magnet on it so that it sticks to their refrigerator.

This info should be HANDWRITTEN. This is a personal note.  Some suggested wording:

Dear ________________

I want to invite you to my church, _________________ (name)

We worship at ____ every Sunday at _____________________(location).

I go to Sunday School which starts at _____. 

All of us at our church are seeking to know God. None of us is perfect.

We come together to celebrate God's goodness, and everyone is invited to his Feast.

If you need a ride or more information, ask me!

If you already go to another church, that's awesome!

 

Name of Student

Phone Number

 

Closing: 

Hold a "laying on of hands" to all the completed invitations. Pray over them that each student would know they are invited by God, and are called to invite others.


 

A lesson posted by member Jan Napa and edited by Neil MacQueen (aka: Wormy)

The Great Banquet

Drama/Cooking Workshop

This lesson was added by Wormy and reviewers with the following "idea" -- in place of the original drama which was deleted during a forum renovation project.

See here for scripture, key Bible verse and objectives.

Create and eat a Kingdom Feast Meal

  • Each food is prepared in the kitchen by students.
  • Each food represents something in God's Kingdom.
  • Each food is ritually talked about and shared around the feast table like a Seder/Passover Meal


The following types of food are suggestions, and are only somewhat based on what you would find on a Seder plate.

Table Setting:  Kids set the table. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies (Ps23, the table is for even enemies to gather at, just like Jesus gathered with the Pharisees).  Leave some empty chairs and label them "those we need to invite to meet Jesus".

Bitter:  Celery dipped in salt water. Then celery dipped in yogurt. Life is hard and sometimes bitter. This is why Jesus calls us together, to share, and support each other. When we gather, God helps turn the bitter into sweet.

Rocks:  Represented by bits of dough wrapped around a single chocolate chip.  Some things look hard and useless, like spending two hours on Sunday in a church when you could be sleeping in or playing outside.  People don't understand that sometimes ROCKS have a secret. What's our secret here?

Outcasts:  Represented by Trail Mix.  There may be something in the mix that you do not like. But don't throw it out!  God wants us to accept every one of his children. 

Bread for the journey: Whenever you eat this bread, do this in remembrance of me.  Our lives need more than food, they need the Word of God. Jesus is like food. He is also like breadcrumbs....leaving us a trail to God, showing us the right way in our lives. Make a trail and eat it.

Sweet Kingdom/Heavenly Finish: A sticky sweet roll.   Heaven is an awesome sweet place. Jesus has gone to prepare a room for us there. But the secret is that we can start living like we're in heaven now because Jesus is with us now too!  How do we do that?   Remember to SHARE the sweet roll with others, and do not eat all of it by yourself. Take part of the sweet roll, put it in a bag, and give it to your sibling or parent with a reminder of what it means.

The Great Banquet

Game Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Kids will play a game that excludes, and then hear the parable Jesus told of the great feast where all are included by playing a Bingo game. The original game will then be changed so all are included rather than excluded.

See here for scripture, key Bible verse and objectives.



Leader Preparation:

  • Read the story in the Bible. Be able to retell the story from memory.
  • Read the "Story" at the end of this lesson (for the appropriate age group) and practice reading it without the words that are capitalized.
  • Create Bingo cards - blank squares of either 5x5 (for readers) or 3x3 for younger kids. Consider whether you want to create ahead of time, the cards for younger kids with pictures OR allow the children to draw the pictures of the words in their squares. (See the list at the end of the lesson with 8 words. The center square will be a free space)
  • For older students - write the list of words at the end of this lesson on the chalkboard. (The older kids will write their own Bingo cards.)
  • Gather the materials.
    • Carpet Squares (one per student)
    • CD player and a peppy-sounding music CD of your choice
    • Bibles
    • Chalkboard/Chalk (or whiteboard or easel with appropriate marker)
    • Bingo sheets (created ahead of time)
    • Pencils (one per student)
    • Clipboards, or other writing surface (one per student)
    • Cups of Skittles or other markers to play Bingo ~ 9 in each cup for younger students (readers), about 20 in cup for older students
    • Hula hoops (one per student)



Lesson Plan

Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome the kids warmly to your workshop. Introduce yourself. Ask them if they know what the words “exclusive” and “inclusive” mean – or “exclude” and “include.”
If needed, give a brief explanation.

Play “Musical Carpet Squares”
Using the carpet squares, have kids each take one and form a large circle. Have the kids stand outside of the carpet squares making a circle. Tell the shepherd to play and to put in a square, so there will be one more person than there are carpet squares.

Play the song on the CD player and have the kids play “musical carpet squares” as you would “musical chairs.” They will stand on a square (not sit) when you stop the music. Each time one of the kids will be “out” until one is left. Make a big deal of it – “That’s too bad that you won’t get to keep playing.” “Sorry that you can’t be included.” Remove a square each time, until finally there is 1 square and 2 people and then finally 1 person left.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Have kids sit and ask:  When you had to be out of the game, excluded, how did that feel?
How does it feel to be excluded in other things in life?
Has that ever happened to you?

TELL the story  in your own words to the kids.
After the first week, have the kids help you tell the story.

For Younger Age Groups: we used Teddy Graham cookies to have them help tell the story. Each of the kids got 3 teddy cookies – 1 was the servant, 1 was a person who said no, 1 was a person who said yes.


Play a game of Bingo as you tell the story

For Younger Age Groups:
Distribute their Bingo cards - a smaller grid just 3 x 3 for a total of 9 squares with the one in the center a free space. On the list of words at the end of the story there are the 8 words they can draw a simple picture of.
For Older Age Groups:
Show the kids the word list on the chalkboard or whiteboard. (The words follow at the end of the lesson). These words come from our story!

Distribute a blank Bingo sheet (a 5 square x 5 square blank grid with the center one marked “free" to each of the kids along with a pencil and clipboard.

Tell them to write one word from the list in each square, in a random order on their Bingo card. Use all 24 words, but mix them up.


Make sure that everyone knows how to play Bingo. Pass out a small cup of Skittles candies to each student. Tell them they are not to eat them until you say so, because they will be their Bingo markers. Have them put one on the free space now.

Tell them that you will be reading the story that Jesus told of the Great Feast. When you pause (i.e., leave a “blank” for a word) they need to decide what the correct word is on their Bingo card and cover it with a Skittle.

Let them know that if they get a Bingo (5 across, 5 down or 5 diagonal for older kids; 3 in a row for younger kids) they can call out “Bingo!” but should keep everything on their sheet and everyone should keep playing until you finish the story. The idea of the game is to have everyone included and able to win a Bingo!

Read the attached story. Pause for the CAPITALIZED words which will be the words they are to fill in. Stop when everyone has completed a Bingo. Tell kids they can eat their Skittles and ask:

What does this parable teach about the kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven?
What keeps people out?
What enables them to get in?


Play the “musical chairs” game again
, except this time instead of using the carpet squares, use hula hoops. Explain that when the music stops, they are to stand inside a hula hoop. No one will be ever be “out”. To include everyone, each time you’ll remove a hula hoop many people will have to crowd into the hoops. Until there’s one hula hoop left – be sure to have them figure out a solution as to how to have everyone included!

Reflection Time:

Have kids sit down and choose a partner. Tell them to share with their partner:

Name one family member in their life they need to be a better family member to.
Name one person in their life that others put down and they promise to reach out to.
Name somebody they should invite to come to their church.  Can both of your invite that same person?

Closing:

Invite the shepherd to lead a group prayer asking God for help in being inclusive with the ideas the kids shared.



The Story: (for older students)

Pause and don't say the words that are CAPITALIZED!

Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not INVITE your FRIENDS, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.

But when you give a BANQUET, invite the POOR, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot REPAY you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

When one of those at the TABLE with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "BLESSED is the man who will eat at the feast in the KINGDOM of God."

Jesus replied: "A certain MAN was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the TIME of the banquet he sent his SERVANT to tell those who had been invited, `Come, for everything is now READY.'

"But they all alike began to make EXCUSES. The first said, `I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'

"Another said, `I have just bought five yoke of OXEN, and I'm on my WAY to try them out. Please excuse me.'

"Still another said, `I just got MARRIED, so I can't come.'

"The servant came back and reported this to his MASTER. Then the owner of the house became ANGRY and ordered his servant, `Go out quickly into the STREETS and alleys of the town and BRING in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'

"Sir," the servant said, "what you ordered has been done, but there is still ROOM."

"Then the master told his servant, `Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them COME in, so that my house will be FULL. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a TASTE of my banquet.' "


24 WORDS for the older groups (readers/writers):

ANGRY
BANQUET
BLESSED
BRING
COME
EXCUSES
FRIENDS
FULL
INVITE
KINGDOM
MAN
MARRIED
MASTER
OXEN
POOR
READY
REPAY
ROOM
SERVANT
STREETS
TABLE
TASTE
TIME
WAY



The Story: (for younger students)

Pause and don't say the words that are CAPITALIZED!

Jesus said to the man who had invited him, "When you give a banquet, don’t invite only your  relatives, your rich neighbors and your FRIENDS. Because they will likely invite you to eat with them, and it won't be like you will have done something nice, just for them.
Instead, when you give a PARTY, invite the poor, and those who are down on their luck."

This caused one of the other guests to say, "The one who gets to EAT dinner in God’s kingdom is very fortunate!”

Then JESUS told a story. He wanted everyone there to understand who would be allowed in, at God's party. He said,  “A man gave a big banquet and sent INVITATIONS to many people. When it was time to eat, the man sent his helper to tell the guests, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’

But all the guests said they could not come. Each person made an excuse!  The helper had to go back and tell the man what had happened.

The man was very SAD and told his helper, "Go quickly into the STREETS of town and invite everyone who is poor or lonely or hungry!"

The helper went and did this and then came back and reported to him, "I did what you told me to do, but we still have room for more people."

The man said to the helper, "Go look further. Tell all the people to come. I want my TABLES to be full!



Younger group’s words to draw for Bingo cards:


EAT
FRIENDS
INVITATIONS
JESUS
PARTY
SAD
STREETS
TABLES


A lesson posted by Jan Hanson from: First Presbyterian Church, Napa, CA
with editing by Carol Hulbert

Stations of the Great Banquet

 

I came across this Stations of the Seder blog post at biblebeltbalabusta.com and thought to myself, why not "Stations of the Great Banquet" which RE-INTERPRET 'stations' from the Passover story along the lines of what Jesus was teaching in the parable of the Great Banquet.

 

For example:

(thinking out loud, please add your own)

 

Instead of a "Blood of the Lamb on the Doorpost" (saving only those who have the mark)...

how about a welcome door station where kids mark Jesus' cross (blood) on the door by spelling out the various words of "welcome" ...mimicking Christ's invitation to those in the street, and create a bedroom door hanger that says, "knock, and the door will be opened for you" (instead of "keep out!")

 

 

Instead of a passover bread/matza station...

how about a "manna" station where kids see a video clip then bring/pack groceries for the local foodbank (Christ went out into the street to bring them into the banquet)

 

Instead of a "plague" station...
how about a 'healing' stations where kids make first-aid/hygiene kits for a local street ministry, and include a healing scripture + coupon for free food.

 

Instead of a Charoset station (mud bricks mortar)...

How about a "reconciling and building relationships" table where kids play Jenga IN REVERSE...trying to reinsert blocks into a tippy tower after removing them (Christ's table, like the Ps 23 table) is where enemies come together.

 

Instead of an "Afikomen" (matza) station...

Have kids paint the matza cracker with Christ's words from the parable using peanutbutter or jelly and brushes.

 

Instead of a Seder Plate station...

Have the kids decorate a paperplate with a scene from the Banquet Parable, and the NAMES of those they are missing at their dinner table (family/friends/pets who have passed, etc).

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