|Theme:||The greatest commandment - Proper 26 (31) - 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Yr. B|
|Object:||A game, complete with a copy of the rules, with which the children are familiar.|
|Scripture:||"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)|
Do you enjoy playing games? I do. I especially enjoy getting together with family or friends and playing games. Sometimes we play card games or board games. This is one of the games I like to play. (Show the game.) Before we play, we always explain the rules so that everyone will know how to play the game. Every game comes with its own special set of rules. To really enjoy the game as it was intended, everyone must play by the rules. Have you ever played a game with someone who didn't follow the rules? Do you always follow the rules?
There are rules that we must follow in the game of life too. Look, I have the rulebook right here. The Bible is the rulebook we must follow in life. To really enjoy life the way God intended, it is important to follow His rules.
The religious leaders of Jesus' day liked to sit around and discuss the law. They would sometimes ask Jesus questions about the law to try to trick him into saying something that would cause people to turn against him. One day they were questioning Jesus and he answered them with one good answer right after another. A Jewish teacher of the law came in and heard that Jesus was giving good answers and he asked him, "Of all of the commandments, which is the most important?"
Jesus answered him, "The most important one is this, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
There are a lot of rules in this Book. It may sometimes be difficult to remember all of them. If we can just remember and obey the two commandments that Jesus said were the most important, all of the rest would follow. Then we would enjoy life the way God intended it.
Dear Father, help each of us to love you with all our heart and to love others as we love ourself. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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