Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Post your Sunday School ideas, activities, and resources for the Greatest Commandment.

Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28, John 13:30-36


Some Rotation churches teach the Great Commandment as part of their unit on the Ten Commandments, so you will find some additional commandment activities in our Ten C's forum.

Original Post

Greatest Commandment Art Project

Originally posted by member Sue Wyatt:

For our art project, we had the kids learn and use calligraphy to write the key phrases of the Great Commandment on vellum using real calligraphy pens. This was big hit with our 3rd-5th graders.

Editor's Note:  Google images has tons of calligraphy examples to spur student creativity.  The one that uses a copied page from the Bible to draw on is particularly interesting. See below...

"On these two hang all the Law and the Prophets" bonus idea:

To go even further with this passage, we cut their calligraphy paper into the shape of a fish and attached their finished calligraphied "Love Fish" to a metal clotheshanger using scotch tape. (They bent the clothes hanger into a round shape that was slightly smaller than their calligraphied fish and rolled the paper over the metal hanger and taped it down. Could also use tackly glue).

Then we had them quickly create two smaller calligraphied pieces to hang beneath the fish using yarn representing "all the law and the prophets."   A set of tablets, and a picture of a wild prophet!



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Catherine, one of our most prolific volunteers, posted this back in 2002 in response to "how to come up with ideas for lessons. It's really a WONDERFUL description from a renown lesson writer. 

 

Catherine writes:

Whenever I'm stumped, I try to establish the concepts we want the kids to "get" from a story. Ideas seem to flow from approaching the story this way.

For example, in the passage of the greatest commandment, a concept might be: God wants us to serve God with EVERYTHING we have.

 

"Everything" Game Idea:


So then, what about handicapping the kids in some way and ask them to complete a simple task.

  • set up 2 relay teams to see how many children can race to the end of the room and back in 2 minutes. One team can only use one foot, hopping. The other group is free to run.
  • mix up all their shoes in a pile and tell them to find their shoes using only 1 hand


How is running a race with one foot or putting on shoes with one hand like serving God using only part of yourself instead of "Everything"??

How much more might we do if we used all of ourselves? The running team who were not handicapped accomplished a whole lot more.

For older kids, you can make a stronger point by setting up the 2 teams putting lots of kids on one team and fewer kids on the other. Tell them the objective is to get as many kids as possible through the relay in a set amount of time. The kids on the team with fewer kids will groan and protest. THEN tell them the rules, the larger team can only use one foot.

Obviously the team with fewer kids will accomplish much more because they are using everything they have to acomplish the task. Great discussions can follow.

"Everything" Cooking

 

What would cookies taste like if we made them using only some of the ingredients?


You could create several DIFFERENT recipes for the same cookie and see if the kids can guess which ingredient was left out of the other recipes (they'll probably guess which were left out of there's).  Go ahead and leave out things like sugar in one recipe, and flour in another.  Add something bad tasting like extra bicarb. Should be a very interesting taste-testing and opportunity to talk about the Great Commandment's LIST of what you need.


 

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

 

Is "Thou Shall Not Steal" the one commandment that sums up the rest of them?

Neil MacQueen posted this idea in response to ideas for teaching the Great Commandment:

An interesting thing happened when we were videotaping some youth for our Ten Commandments software CD. I asked them to summarize all the commandments (Jesus does the same with the Great Commandment).

All six teens agreed that THOU SHALL NOT STEAL was the one that was at the root of all. 

  • Don't steal what is due God (respect, love, worship only God)
  • and don't steal what is do others (honor, respect, love, dignity, their possessions, truth). 

Discussion idea:  Look at each commandment and ask, "What is being stolen from God/neighbor when you break this particular commandment?" 

Also... The great commandment is also PERFECT for a scripture memory game, such as Cal and Marty's Scripture Memory Game software. Let the kids type it in to give them the added memorization work.

Video Ideas For the Greatest Commandment

Ages 8-12

  • "The Jim Elliott Story" (Torchlighter's Series), Vision Video, 727985007601.   DVD includes leader's guide with reproducible student work sheets in PDF format.  To preview the guide go to the Vision Video website where you can download the guide for free.


Ages 4-7

  • Cherub Wings Series Episode #11: Shine Your Light - Sharing God with others
    Before Jesus left the Earth, he commissioned His children to carry on His work by telling as many people as they could about him. But how exactly can this be done? In this video, Cherub and Chubby help children explore practical ways to share the message of Jesus’ love with others in their everyday lives. Through poems, stories and songs, children will learn that even just a little light can go a long, long way!
    Includes:
    • Sparky’s Spark - a story poem about a tiny star that just couldn’t see how he could be of help to anyone.
    • One by One - a sing-a-long song depicting the wonderful results of taking a small step to share God’s Word with someone else.
    • Reflection Recollection - a rollicking rhyme showing how God in our hearts can reflect on others.
    • Go Tell Everybody! - a Scripture memory song based on Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the good news to every creature.”
    • He Told Me All I Ever Did! – a Bible story about the time that Jesus met a woman at a well and what He said to her that changed her life.
    • Hank and Sherman - a comical object lesson about a backpacker who meets a funny little mountain shepherd who brings out the importance of little deeds.
    • The Little Missionary - a high-concept music video for kids showing the life of a little missionary and how we can be one right where we are.

     To purchase DVDs or download (whole video or clips) go to http://store.cherubwings.com/

A movie idea for Preschool children -


Boz Colors and Shapes. My almost 3 year old loves Boz and on this DVD there is a 15 minute  segment that teaches counting - but does it by counting 5 ways to show God how we love Him and 5 ways we know God loves us. I'm not sure my 2 1/2 year old understands the concept exactly, but he still loves it. I think it would be appropriate up to maybe 2nd grade.



Member Cindy Merten posted this a while back.

 

"Jesus and the Great Commandment TABLET" (with apologies to Moses)

 

For an art project we had the kids make a tablet from white Model Magic (a Crayola product).

 

Use a collection of craft beads and decorative doodads, press them into the clay to spell out the words "Love God, Love Neighbor, With All You Have"

 

They used various cut stones and "gems" to decorate the border around it.

 

They really seemed to get into this project. 

[This post was updated by Wormy who also suggested that a DRAMA script with Jesus coming down the mountain like Moses might be a fun way to do a drama about this. "Hey Jesus, how come only 2 commandments? We on a budget or what?"]

Writing or Art Project for "Loving Others"

Loving others as we would want to be loved can be a challenging subject when the "others" are different from us in specific ways: Physically, Mentally, Intellectually or Emotionally Challenged (for example). Immigrants. People from different religions. People who are hard to love. People who have hurt us. 



The Lesson Idea:
Use a familiar scripture verse or passage as a "template" for a new subject....  Rewriting the passage to give it a new subject (but using the same format as the old).

Examples:  The Beatitudes for Caring for Disabled Persons
The Ten Commandment for dealing with difficult people
Psalm 23 for helping a friend through trouble.  

The idea is to restate what Jesus might have taught us about a specific subject had he used these familiar passages/wordings.  [The bonus is that we have to grapple and learn these familiar scriptures/formats to reinterpret them for a specific new subject.]

Ten Commandments of loving the difficult to love.
 Examples:
   ..."Do not murder a person's reputation or dignity, just because you can't get along with them."
   ..."Honor a troubled mother and father, even if they are having trouble honoring you."
   ..."Show you put God first, by putting aside your ego and letting God work through you."

Psalm 23 for walking a friend through difficult times/trouble.
  ...I will help you find cool water and green pastures.
  ...for God and I will go with you. 


"Beatitudes for Friends and Family of Disabled Persons "

Jesus often challenges our thinking and traditional points of view by pointing out how God's ways are often the OPPOSITE of our own inclinations. The Beatitudes are a good example of this "other way of looking" "different values" with which we are to view the world its needs, and its people. Example: What some view as weakness/meekness, God views as strength. 

The following restatement of Jesus' Beatitudes redefines how we can be a blessing, and what makes us a blessing to others.  In many ways they speak for all of us at one time or another.

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech,

for you help us to persevere until we are understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places and ignore the stares of others,

for we find havens of relaxation in your companionship.

Blessed are you who never bid us to “hurry up,” and more blessed are you who do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them for us,

for often we need time — rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside us as we enter new and untried ventures,

for the delight we feel when we surprise you outweighs all the frustrating failures.

Blessed are you who ask for our help,

for our greatest need is to be needed.          Author unknown

 


As well...

Ten Commandments for Disciples

Ten Commandments for Going to Church

How to "Beat Your Attitude" in Worship (Beatitudes for kids in worship)

"Fruits of the Worshipper"

Art Project for the Great Commandment 

Love God, Love Neighbor. Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28, John 13:30-36

Member Marie posted this "Mezuzah" prayer box idea in our "great art ideas" topic for a rotation they were doing on "Love God, Love Neighbor" during the month of February.

A Mezuzah is a box that holds a verse and is attached to your doorway so that you remember it going and coming every day.  They can be made out of several different types of material. See Marie's post for pics and suggestions.

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