Lesson Plans That Work: Proper 20

Lesson Plans That Work: Proper 20

September 15, 2014
Lifelong Formation

lptwSunday, September 21 is Proper 20, Year A. Lesson Plans are included for both the Gospel and Old Testament. You may also be interested in downloading our St. Francis Day resources, which include a Blessing of the Animals and a Eucharistic service.

Gospel Lesson: We Are All a Part of God’s Work
Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16

This parable appears in the section of Matthew where those around Jesus are questioning him about everything. As Jesus continues his ministry and the disciples are witnessing his great works, they keep coming to him with questions about taxes, who is the greatest in Heaven, forgiveness, divorce, and how to inherit eternal life. The disciples are trying to figure out this new world that they are experiencing through Jesus’ miracles, parables, and teachings.  Just prior to our lesson today, the disciples have heard Jesus tell the rich young man that he must sell everything and give the money to the poor.  They begin to wonder, “We have left everything and followed you.  What then will we have?”  Meaning, we have left our homes and our families, we have left behind what we know and love to follow you…what will we get in return?

So, Jesus tells them the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.  This is a difficult parable as there are many ways it can be read.  It could be seen as unfair or pitting justice with grace. However we read it, this parable is about God’s generosity and God’s grace.

The writer of Matthew’s Gospel has sandwiched the story of the Laborers in the Vineyard with 19:30 (30But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.) and 20:16 (“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”)  Clearly this is an important message for Matthew to get across.  That there is a reversal of the way we assume things will be and we are playing by a new rulebook.

A good number of the children will have heard “The first will be last and the last will be first.”  We don’t want them to think this is just about letting the last person in line go first or that they should always be last to receive a reward, but that this is about how much God loves them that it does not matter where they are in line or where they are finding God, but more that they are all a part of this together and we will all receive God’s amazing love and grace.

Old Testament Lesson Plan: God Provides
Scripture: Exodus 16:2-15

The Israelites and Moses have just walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, they have survived and witnessed a miracle and are now journeying in the wilderness areas of Shur and Elim.  Our story picks up as they are in between Elim and Sinai in the wilderness, hungry and asking for bread and meat.  One chapter earlier, God provided them with water, and yet now farther on their journey, they seem to forget that and be complaining again, asking Moses if he brought them out here to die.  Wondering if they would have been better off in Egypt where they were at least fed and given drink.  (Oh, how quickly they forget their slavery and the conditions that surrounded them. So now, they challenge Moses.  The Lord responds to Moses with our scripture today. 

About Lesson Plans that Work

Lesson Plans that Work is a part of the Episcopal Digital Network that hosts free curriculum and resources that are published online by The Episcopal Church.

Each week, you will find lesson plans for young children (non-readers), older children (grade school age children), and adults. Inter-generational lesson plans are available at the beginning of each season and for many major feast days throughout the liturgical year. In addition to these weekly lesson plans, you can find special lesson plans that celebrate saints, events, or commemorations throughout the year.

These lesson plans can be used as written, or they are easy to adapt to reflect the context of your congregation’s children’s program.

To help you use Lesson Plans that work, we have set up various calendars within each season. The Liturgical Calendar shows the current year and the lessons that fall on each Sunday. The Comprehensive Index provides a chart of each Sunday in each liturgical year. Use the “Search this Website” on the top right of the page to search for keywords, seasons, and more.

To find out more and to explore Lesson Plans that Work, visit this site: http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/lessons/.