Children participating in the 9am Holy Eucharist at Trinity Church

3 Ways Into Sunday’s Stories for Children: Light of the World

Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany

The themes for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount continue into this week and, spoiler alert, into next week, too. That’s how important and inclusive his message was and is. And one thing that makes it so important to this day is that it invites us to be a message that is as big and inclusive as God’s love! Jesus calls us the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Have you ever seen or used a spotlight or flashlight that has an adjustable aperture? (That’s the opening where the light comes through.) Being a blessing is not just about God’s light of love shining on us, but how we can shine it on others — on everyone and in everything we do.

In Jesus’ days, a lot of people believed that blessings had to be earned, and that God’s love was like a flashlight with its aperture closed to make a very narrow beam that only shone on certain people whose worth was obvious. But Jesus said that sometimes the obvious, outward signs of faith aren’t backed up with heartfelt love and generosity, like salt that has lost its flavor.

What if everyone has God’s light? What if everyone opened their aperture all the way?

Print, fold, read, and color the story booklet.

A cartoon line drawing of people holding candles

1. Sing and Dance

Sing and dance with “Light of the World” from from the musical Godspell. (Do you recognize Lower Manhattan, our Trinity neighborhood, circa 1973?) Or sing along with the cast from the 2011 revival, who weren’t even born when the show was first produced, or when the Gospel of Matthew was written. The words and the ideas still shine — in us and through us.

2. Play and Pray

Play What Color? The new Webb telescope is telling us a lot about light, time, and distance. But did you know that the colors in the images from the telescope are all added in? We need light to see color. Identify different colors in the room around you. Gradually dim the light in the room and see how the change in light affects the colors you see. Can you still see color in the dark?

Pray: Dear God, thank you for giving us flavorful lives full of your joy and light. Help us look for ways to bring brightness and cheer into the lives of others. Amen.

3. Create

Brush a light coating of glue over all or part of a picture or design you have drawn with marker or colored pencils. Sprinkle Epsom or coarse kosher salt over it and see how it shines, especially when light reflects off of the salty parts.

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