261 - The sermon on the mount


15 minute Story planner

Matthew 5 and Luke 6
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 299

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The life of Jesus FlashCards' cards one to five

The story from the Children’s Bible focuses on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3–12; Luke 6:20–23). However another theme of Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is ‘not worrying’. Today’s craft relates to this theme. Explain to the children that on the hillside Jesus encouraged the people to look at the birds. Jesus wanted to talk about worries: he knew that people worried a lot. ‘Don’t worry about your life’, Jesus said; ‘Don’t worry about what you are going to eat or wear. Look at the birds. The birds don’t put seeds in the ground and wait for them to grow; they don’t buy barns and store the grain until they need it – but they always have food, because Father God feeds them’. Jesus was explaining that God doesn’t want people to worry about their lives; he wants people to be happy; he wants people to spend time thinking about him, praying and looking after each other; he wants people not to worry about things.

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Are you sitting comfortably? What are you sitting on? Is it something hard or something soft? Imagine if, instead of meeting inside a building today we met outside… imagine if we met in the park or by a river. What would you sit on then? A grassy bank… a rock? When Jesus taught people he often taught outside. People would sit wherever they could to see Jesus. One day Jesus spoke to a large group of people on a hillside.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle the food used in this activity.

  • A ‘crowd’ of toy figures (see ‘another idea’ below)

  • The Ten Commandments on cardboard tablets (see Printables)

  • Five happy faces (see Printables)

  • A bird handbook from the library or pictures of birds from the internet (beware of copyright restrictions)

  • A handful of bird seed or pearl barley

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins

Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Illustrate the story with toy figures
You will need: a low table or a piece of fabric, at least thirteen toy figures (e.g. from a duplo or lego set), ‘tiny letters’ (see Printables) and sticky tape.

Before the session cut out the ‘tiny letters’. Select thirteen figures and tape the letters to the base of the figures’ feet so that they can’t be seen when the figures are standing. If you have fewer than thirteen figures you will need to tape more than one letter to each figure.

Stand the figures together on the low table or piece of fabric. The figures will represent the crowd that listened to Jesus on the hillside. After telling the story with the additional notes encourage the children one at a time to choose a figure. Carefully place the figure to one side of the crowd and ‘sit them down’. When the figure is seated you should be able to see the tiny letter on the base of his/her feet. If a child picks a figure that doesn’t have a letter, leave the figure standing amongst the ‘crowd’. Encourage the children to keep taking it in turns to choose figures until they have selected all the figures with the tiny letters. When all the figures are seated ask the children to try and arrange them so that the letters make a phrase – this is likely to be quite difficult and the children will probably need some help. The phrase the children are trying to make is ‘living God’s way’. When the phrase is complete explain that on the hillside Jesus talked to the people about many different things but they were all to do with living God’s way.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins

Father God, thank you that through Jesus we can learn more about living your way. Through Jesus’ teaching we can understand that living your way is about loving you and loving others.

Thank you that true happiness comes as we trust in you and care for others. Help us to remember that we do not need to worry but can pray through our problems and trust you in our troubles. Amen.

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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