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Words and the Word

Children's Activity
Teachers or Parents: Words are powerful. In a dictionary they are neutral, but when pieced together into sentences, they have the power to wow (v. 22) or to kill (vv. 28-29).

Jesus returned home. Your children can relate to returning home. It should be a pleasant experience -- an experience of love and reception. For Jesus it began that way, but ended on a very negative note. Many trips home can be similar. They begin with everyone glad to see one another and then end with angry words and actions.

Jesus confronted the people of Nazareth with their own unfaithfulness to God. Explore the concept of sin and estrangement from God with the children. This can be visually outlined for them by showing that sin (our condition) is like a deep valley. On the other side of this very deep valley is God. We are separated by an impossibly deep valley, a canyon, a chasm. The only way to bridge the gap is by Jesus. Jesus is the one who overcomes our sin and brings us to God. We cannot do it ourselves. This is called "grace."

Jesus mentions in his speaking to the congregation at Nazareth the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath in Sidon. You can take a look at that story and read it from a Children's Bible (1 Kings 17). Jesus also talks about Elisha and Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5). These are stories of outsiders becoming insiders to God. We all want to be on the inside scoop. Jesus challenges presumptions of favoritism.

Sunday school assembly opening:
• Sing some of the epiphany hymns listed in your hymnal.
• Tell in your own words the story of today's Gospel where Jesus is accepted and then rejected by his own people. (You might want to relate this to a similar phenomenon on Palm Sunday.)
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29 – Commentary / Exegesis
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Proper 19 - OT 24 - Pentecost 14
24 – Sermons
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