Anna's Hosannas!
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Lesson for Ordinary Time 8A (June 26, 2011)
Scripture Reference:  Matthew 10: 40-42

July Theme Song: "As You Are One"

First Thoughts: This passage from Matthew tells us that whenever we care for someone whom God has sent, it is as if we have cared for God.  This lesson encourages kids to look for God in regular people, and to do our best to be compassionate to anyone around us who has need.  

Props You Will Need: Leader 1 will need some kind of costume, to be in “disguise.”  The wackier the better.  Leader 2 will need a bag with some kind of sharable food in it (cookies, sandwich cut down the middle)

Teaching as a Team
Leader 2: (on own at first)  Hey, where did (name) go?  Did anyone see her?
Leader 1: (comes up aisle in disguise, using silly voice.)  Excuse me, I need some help.  
Leader 2:  Oh, I’d like to help, but I’m a little busy right now.  I can’t find my friend, (name).  I just know I saw her around here earlier. 
Leader 1: Oh, but I’m so hungry.  
Leader 2: You are?  I do have my lunch here, but I was going to eat it after church today.  And I still need to find (name).  (considering)  Well, okay.  Would you like my sandwich?
Leader 1: How sweet of you.  (taking off mask) But (name), you know I like peanut butter better than bologna!
Leader 2:  Hey, (name)!  It’s you!  You were in disguise!
Leader 1:  Yes, I was.  I did it to help with our lesson today.  Do you know that God sometimes comes to us in disguises?
Leader 2: You mean  like a Halloween costume?
Leader 1: No, God comes disguised as regular people, people who might not look that special, or even people who we think are sort of weird.  Which means we might not always recognize God when God comes into our lives.  
Leader 2: Oh, I would hate to miss God!
Leader 1: Me too.  Which is why the scripture tells us we should try to be compassionate all the time, and treat everyone we meet with kindness.  Even if all we have is a cup of water…
Leader 2: Or a bologna sandwich?
Leader 1: Exactly.  Whatever we have, we share it with those in need.  Because that person just might be God in disguise!

Teaching On Your Own:  You guys know me, right?  What if I showed up at your door one night looking like this (put on mask/costume)?  What if I asked for something to eat, or even a place to stay for the night?  Do you think you would help me?  Today we’re talking about how God sometimes uses disguises.  Do you guys know what a disguise is?  It’s something you use to hide who you really are.  The bible tells us that God disguises Godself as regular people - people who might not look all that special, might even seem downright weird.  If God uses disguises sometimes, that means we might not always recognize when God visits us.  That would be awful, huh?  To miss God?  The bible tells us that, if we don’t want to miss God, we should try to be compassionate all the time, and treat everyone we meet with kindness.  Even if all we have is a cup of water, we share that in the name of Christ.  Whatever we have, we share it with those in need.  Because that person just might be God in disguise!
 
Closing Prayer:  Thank you, God, for blessing us, and calling us to be a blessing to others.  We pray you will fill us with your love and compassion, so that we can always be generous and kind to the people in our lives.  In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
 
Follow-Up Lesson:  A great way to follow up on this sermon in the classroom or at home is to bring pictures of lots of different people (either with magazines, or as computer images.)  Scroll through each one, asking how God might be hidden in this person.  Then imagine scenarios in which you might meet this person - on a busy sidewalk, in the grocery store, late at night in a dark alley?  Explore how difficult/easy it is to treat each person with kindness, and in which circumstances?  What makes it more difficult?  Help the kids identify the problem as fear.  Introduce them to 1 John 4: 18b, “Perfect love casts out fear.”  Invite them to pray to God for an abundance of love, to help them overcome fear.