Here are ideas for you to use in reflecting on the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures with your classes.
Readings for April 2, 2017 – Fifth Sunday of Lent:
- Ezekiel 37:12-14
- Romans 8:8-11
- John 11:1-45
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” (John 11:11)
Jesus calls us to life over and over again.
Teaching for Primary Grades:
- Tell the children to put their heads down on their desks and pretend to be asleep. Then shout, “Wake up!” Ask the children how it feels to be woken up (especially on a school morning). What would we miss out on if we couldn’t wake up? Tell the story of Jesus waking Lazarus from his “sleep.” What would have happened to Lazarus if he didn’t wake up when Jesus called his name? Jesus calls our names over and over again all our lives. He keeps waking us up to things we should see or do … sometimes to keep us safe and sometimes to have us notice what good things we should be doing.
- Give drawing paper to the children and tell them to draw a picture of Jesus waking them up for something important. Also draw a picture of that important thing. Then let each child explain his or her drawing. Conclude by encouraging everyone to pay attention every day to how Jesus is trying to wake them up.
Teaching for Intermediate Grades:
- Ask the students if they ever awakened anyone who was sleeping. Why did they do this? Write their reasons on large strips of paper. Put the following category headings on the board (with space under each): safety reasons; time to do something important; want that person to see something; other. Tell the students to tape their paper strips to the board under the appropriate headings.
- Tell the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus first heard about Lazarus being sick, he told his disciples he was going to “awaken him.” Jesus’ work was and is all about calling people to life over and over again. Ask students to describe some ways Jesus wakes us up. Write these on strips of paper. Add them to the same categories already on the board. Tell students to write a personal one-page essay about how Jesus awakened them. Allow voluntary sharing.
Teaching for Secondary Grades:
- Give the students a brief research assignment to find out something about the prophet Ezekiel: when he lived, to whom he prophesied, the situation at that time for the kingdom of Judah. What had died and what was Ezekiel trying to awaken? Call on students to report on what they learned.
- Group students in fours and give everyone a copy of today’s three readings. Tell them to read these and then discuss the following questions. Prepare to report on the discussion.
- How is Ezekiel using “open your graves” as a metaphor? How were his people being called back to life? (Refer to research).
- What was St. Paul saying to the Romans about life in the Spirit? What are some ways sin deadens us, and how do we come to life again?
- The Gospel reading is a dramatic, graphic story of being called to life. What was Jesus teaching through this incident? Imagine what Lazarus might have done with his life after being called to wake up. Create a story.
- Let each group report on their discussion and share their Lazarus story. Conclude with a prayer about growing in awareness of how Jesus is trying to wake us up to new life.