Welcome to the lesson for January 22, Jesus Visits Martha and Mary, the story from Luke 10:38-42.
I love this story because it does such a good job of raising questions about hospitality- hospitality that we try to practice and the unique, radical hospitality of God.
Truth be told, I think I also love this scripture because I can really relate to Martha’s predicament. What kind of hospitality is important in our own lives? To what extent is it important? I find it interesting-and comforting- that Jesus doesn’t disapprove of Martha’s focused cleaning and cooking and all her caring for her guests. His response to her frustration of finding herself doing all the work (“Lord, make my sister help me!”) is to turn the focus to his own brand of hospitality to Mary.
As I know you know, children will need help understanding what the word hospitality means. Does God ask us to show hospitality to others? What about God’s form of hospitality to us?
Of course, one of the big questions this story raises is just who gets to receive God’s hospitality. You’ll want to remind the children that in Jesus’s time, rabbis did not allow women to sit at their feet and study the Torah, to listen and ask questions. Yet Jesus encourages it. Who would Jesus welcome to sit at his feet today, to act as a disciple? Are there people that some might choose to exclude? Children are so good at helping us broaden our circle!
(If you’re new to the blog and don’t have this story script, it’s one I’ve written and would be happy to share with you. You may join the mailing list and have all ten new scripts sent your way or email me for this individual script.)
Ideas to Get the Children Started for the Give a Gift to God Time
*Our creative time works best when the child feels ownership over his own work–that it comes from her ideas and is merely inspired by the ideas we share to get them started.
Here are some ideas from which they can springboard. I’m sure you can add even better ones. Please feel free to share in the comments.
1. Focus on Retelling the Story
*Each child could recreate a set of the Godly Play materials for themselves either 2 dimensionally, through drawing the pieces and cutting them out, or 3 dimensionally, with clay (bucket, plates, etc), clothespins (Jesus and the sisters) and other materials-a twig broom, etc.
* Make a mural of the story on butcher paper.
*Act out the story, either set in Bible times, or set in modern day. Let the children perform it for each other or another class. Children could play the roles of Jesus, Mary and Martha, and other children (who might be more shy) could be among of the 72 guests.
2. Focus on the theme of Who Would Jesus Want to Sit at His Feet?
I can imagine this being successful as an individual project (either a drawing or a collage from magazine pictures) or a class project, with each child picking what kind of person she would like to draw. Would Jesus want the poor, the rich? Different races? The old? The young? Families? Singles? Prisoners? Sick people? Well people? Lonely people? Happy? They could even draw themselves! In fact, I love that idea!
There is butcher paper in the Children’s Activity Room ready for a class to work on it together. (They could draw directly on the paper or on small sheets and then glue each person’s work to the larger paper.)
3. Focus on Hospitality Skills
*Some could prepare some kind of food as Martha did. Some could sweep and clean. Others could be Mary, listening to a teacher read a story. Afterwards, the group could talk about how it felt to play each role. Then the children could take a look at Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” This verse comes from Jesus’s desert experience (his quoting from Deuteronomy,) but it applies to this story as well. The children could write the verse in their own words and illustrate it with the Mary & Martha scene.
*We have a Love Luncheon with Senior Adults scheduled for Feb. 12, so one way our children could practice hospitality is to make decorations for the lunch!
*Our second graders drew pictures of what each of us would do to entertain Jesus if he came to our house.
I hope these ideas help!