Posted May 3, 2011
Book: Plant the Seed: Sharing the Gospels with Children
Author: Patricia Mathson
Liguori, Liguori, MO. 2011. Pp. 108
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
Plant the Seed: Sharing the Gospels with Children is filled with engaging, creative ways to encourage children in grades K-3 to live the Word of God.
Plant the Seed includes 28 Gospel passages that cover a broad range of themes and stories from Jesus’ life to appeal to a variety of children, their interests, and abilities. Tools include:
Arts and crafts
Discussion and reflection questions
Prayers and meditations
These fun, easy-to-implement year-round activities will appeal to children of a variety of interests and abilities. Plant the seed and encourage children to live God’s Word!
An Excerpt from the Book:
Following Jesus: God’s Love: Sin: Forgiveness
Now a man named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax colector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly, and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Introduce the Gospel Story
Did you ever do something wrong? How did you make up for it?
This Gospel story reminds us that our lives should change when we meet Jesus. We’re called to turn our lives around and make up for harm we have caused to others. We must become the kind of people God created us to be.
Share a Meditation
Close your eyes and concentrate on the story. Imagine you are there.
You’re in the crowd following Jesus to the town of Jericho. Many people are waiting to see Jesus. Up ahead you see a man climbing a tree so he can see Jesus over the crowd. You recognize this person. His name is Zacchaeus, and he is the chief tax collector. You know he has cheated some of your family and friends.
Jesus has stopped near the tree where Zacchaeus is. You wonder what he’s doing. You hear Jesus tell Zacchaeus to come down. Jesus says he will go to his house today. You see Zacchaeus quickly climb down from the tree. They walk to where Zacchaeus lives, and you follow along with some of the others to see what will happen.
Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus inside and gives him something to drink. Zacchaeus tells Jesus he is going to give half his money to the poor and that he’s going to repay the money he took by cheating people. In fact, he will pay back four times the money he took.
Wow! You can hardly believe it. Zacchaeus is really changing his life because of Jesus. You think about your life. You realize that Jesus wants us to make up for any trouble we’ve caused others by our words or actions. How can you do that? Tell Jesus what is in your heart today. Listen to what Jesus says to you.
Then open your eyes. Can any of you share what you said to Jesus?
Who was Zacchaeus?
What did he do to see over the crowd?
Was Zacchaeus an honest person?
What did he promise Jesus he would do?
How are we called to be like Zacchaeus?
Is it easy to ask forgiveness?
Why is it not always enough to say we’re sorry?
How can we make up for the wrong we have done?
How can we let Jesus change our lives?
Reflect and Wrap up the Discussion
In the story of Zacchaeus, we see how an encounter with Jesus changes one life. We too should be changed by our experience of Jesus. Zacchaeus changes his heart, and our hearts will be transformed if we follow what Jesus teaches.
An interesting part of this story is that Zacchaeus says he will pay back more than he has taken and that he will give it to the poor. That shows us that Zacchaeus had been listening to what Jesus taught the people. He knows it’s not enough to be sorry. We must also make up for the harm.
Create a Hand Wreath
– Construction paper
– Glue sticks
Cut a circle of construction or butcher paper large enough to hold all of the children’s paper-hand cutouts.
Directions for Children
We can make a hand wreath together to remind us to live as peacemakers. Jesus wants us to use our hands to help one another, not hurt one another. We are to live as a community of God’s people.
1. Choose a piece of constuction paper in a bright color.
2. Spread your fingers wide, and then trace around your hand with a pencil to get the outline.
3. Carefully cut out the hand shape.
4. Overlap your paper hand with the one before it, and then glue your hand to that spot on the circle wreath. This will form a hand wreath.
We will display the finished wreath as a reminder that Jesus wants us to reach out our hands to one another in peace and friendship.
Lord Jesus Christ
we ask your forgiveness for the times we’ve disobeyed
and for the times we did not help others.
Help us forgive other people and not hold grudges.
Give us loving hearts, that we may live in peace with others.
Hear our prayer and send the Holy Spirit
to guide our hearts and our lives this day. Amen.