As adults in the faith, most of us have a solid understanding of how worship looks throughout the year. We grow accustomed—maybe even desensitized—to the changes around us. Sometimes the altar has a green parament but other times purple, for example. While children may be more observant of these patterns than we expect, it’s important that we intentionally teach them about the seasons of the Church Year in Sunday School.
How are your summer Sunday School plans coming along?
If you’re anything like me, it’s possible that you may not be quite as prepared as you’d like to be. Between Easter events, Confirmations, graduation, and summer vacation planning, it can be easy for Sunday School plans to be put on the back burner.
The month of January marks not only a new year but the start of a fresh series of blogs for Sunday School teachers. The plan over the coming months is to reflect upon and offer teaching ideas related to the Six Chief Parts of Luther’s Small Catechism. The Six Chief Parts are the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Confession, and the Sacrament of the Altar. It is my sincere hope that this series will be an edifying confirmation review for you, the teacher, and a useful tool for presenting the basics of the faith to your students.
The den of our home features a set of large windows. Aside from the aesthetic beauty of their shape and design, the windows also let in a more-than-ample amount of glorious sunshine throughout the year. Little compares to napping in the easy chair with beams of solar warmth pouring over you. The only downside to so much light is that the illumination mercilessly reveals the dust all over the furniture and television and even floating through the air. I just dusted yesterday! Light is glorious except when it reveals imperfections.
The Lord speaks to His people through the prophet Malachi in the fifth century before Christ regarding a similarly thorough revelation.
At Halloween when I was a child, one of my brothers and I would trick-or-treat in the apartment complex where we lived. One year, we were both costumed as characters from the television science-fiction program Battlestar Galactica, which was popular at the time. But every year, we made the most efficient use of our time by starting out the moment trick-or-treating hours began, trying to garner as much candy as possible by hitting every apartment with its light on.
In January 1977, newly-elected President Jimmy Carter traveled down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC on his way to the White House. Yet this time, things were different; President Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and his nine-year-old daughter, Amy, were walking. Carter was the first president to exit the motorcade and walk during the inaugural parade. Previously, newly-elected presidents had ridden coach or driven down the passage, presumably in reaction to the January cold and for the sake of protection from would-be assassins.
It is that time of year in Indiana when the air is not only warm but also annoyingly full of flies and mosquitos. There are measures one can take. Diligently close doors and windows, hang fly paper, spray insecticide, remove standing water, wear insect repellent—the list goes on. There is no perfect solution except for winter. One way or the other, we can’t escape summer without a few mosquito bites and flies in the food.
As part of Confession and Absolution in the Sunday morning liturgy, we acknowledge before God and one another that we have offended the Lord not only in what we have done but also in what we have failed to do. We can, and often do, sin by neglect. The inclusion of this type of confession is so insightful and powerful. It is insightful in the sense that we more often notice and remember our sins of commission—the things we do—rather than things we don’t do.
Have you considered using The Tree of Life: God’s Promise of Salvation for summer Sunday School instead of VBS this year? Yes, I know this might be a surprising question considering I just wrote a post about all the ways to use The Tree of Life for VBS, but hang with me!
The fact of the matter is that one size doesn’t fit all, and no two churches have the same summer needs. The Tree of Life may not be the best fit for VBS, but it could be the perfect match for your summer Sunday School. So, here we go! Here are five reasons you should totally consider using The Tree of Life for Sunday School this summer.
God’s answers are not always discernible.
David’s successful encounter against Goliath has been an inspiration to believers and unbelievers alike since the event took place and was recorded. A small shepherd boy vanquishes the enormous, battle-hardened warrior Goliath, brandishing sword and spear. The victory is an affirmation of God’s power and His love for David.