Every day we get asked questions about where we are or should be headed. Where should we go for dinner? Where would you like to go shopping? And the question often repeated by parents … Where the heck are you going? We like to have control over where we spend our time. We want to be places where we can experience joy or where we feel like we have a purpose. Sometimes we find those places on our own. Sometimes God calls us to those places. In this lesson, children will explore the story of God calling Abram and Sarai to a new place where they will experience unprecedented blessings. Then, they will discover how they can hear God’s call and respond to it.
You will need:
- A Bible
- Smooth stones, paint pens, paint brushes and Mod Podge (optional)
- A computer connected to the Internet and the video “Poor People’s Campaign Asks America to Face the Injustices Keeping Millions in Poverty” (optional)
Greet the children as they arrive.
Once the children are seated, ask:
- What are your plans for the summer?
- Who made these plans?
- Did you have a say in what you will be doing this summer?
- How do you feel about your summer plans? Why do you feel this way?
Exploring the passage
Say a prayer.
Provide context for the lectionary reading (Genesis 12:1-9):
- Today’s Bible story comes from the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis.
- Genesis gives us a glimpse into God’s relationship to the world, especially the first people God calls to be the people of God.
- In this story, we are introduced to two people who will become key people of God. Here they are called Abram and Sarai, but later God will rename them Abraham and Sarah.
Read aloud Genesis 12:1-9.
After reading, ask:
- What does God ask Abram and Sarai to do?
- What does God say will happen if they do this?
- How do Abram and Sarai respond to God’s request for them to leave their home and move to a new land?
- How do they show that they know God is with them in this new place?
- How would you feel if you were Abram and Sarai?
- What parts of their experience do you think were difficult for them?
- What helped Abram and Sarai on their journey and in their new homeland?
Relating the passage to our lives
Help the children connect the Scripture reading to their own lives through one or more of these activities.
- Marking a holy spot: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: smooth stones, paint pens and Mod Podge. Re-read verses 6-8 from the lectionary reading. Note that Abram builds an altar to mark the spot where God promised him his people would live. Abram places this altar there as a reminder of God’s promise. We have special places where we feel close to God, too. We can mark these as a reminder that we experience God’s presence in these places. Give each child a stone and paint pens. Ask them to decorate the stones using the paint pens. Encourage them to draw or write images that remind them of God. Then, coat the stones in Mod Podge using the paintbrushes to protect the paint. After they have dried, give the children the stones to place them in locations where they feel close to God.
- Hearing God’s voice: Ask the children to share the ways they believe God is speaking to them. How do they hear God’s voice? What does it sound like? Is it even a “voice” at all? Note that it can be difficult to know when God is speaking to you and what God is saying. We can, however, practice listening with our eyes and our ears. Prepare to take a walk through a natural with your group. Before you leave, pray for the group to notice God in the natural world. Take a silent walk with the children. As they walk, encourage them to notice places and items that make them feel like they are seeing God. These may be spots where they feel particularly joyful or peaceful. When you return from the walk, ask the children to share their experiences. Where did they notice God? What did they experience?
- Call to change the world — again: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a computer connected to the Internet and the video “Poor People’s Campaign Asks America to Face the Injustices Keeping Millions in Poverty.” Note that God called Abram and Sarai to a new place to begin something new, something that would change their world. It was also something that would change our world, as they are the ancestors of Jesus. Throughout time, God has called people to change the world. Sometimes they are able to do so in their lifetimes. Sometimes others continue their work. Watch the video. Discuss how Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Barber were called to lead the Poor People’s Campaign. How are they continuing Jesus’ work? How will they improve the lives of others by answering God’s call?
Conclude your time together by offering a prayer of thanksgiving to God for calling us to places, spaces and experiences where we can feel God’s presence.
Want to receive lectionary content in your inbox on Mondays? Sign up here.