"There are those who are last who will be first."
Luke 13.22-30. Acknowledge that the reading is quite difficult to
understand - but let's try to understand it.
leader says in great excitement that s/he's going to have a party.
Appropriate props are produced, before the leader adds, "I'm afraid that
not everyone can come to my party, though." With the help of
(pre-prepared) congregation questions, draw out Jesus' point that the
important question is not "How many can come?" but "Can I come?"
in the congregation identify themselves and the congregation decides
whether or not the leader should invite them to the party - drawing out
the point that we aren't invited to parties unless we already know the
dress up in various costumes and, with the congregation's help, are lined
up in order of "importance". Good news! Jesus doesn't care about
any of that. We can all get through that narrow door if only we choose to
get to know Him now.
- An adult
to lead the teaching.
in the congregation to ask questions.
props: a cake, balloons, streamers, and so on.
and "people" on slips of paper (see below).
- Dressing-up clothes to represent various roles such
as police officers, fire fighters, tramps, very rich people, thieves,
pirates, and so on - as usual, raid the dressing-up boxes of everyone you
know for this activity.
some examples of the sorts of questions that the congregation might be
primed to ask (just write them on slips of paper), always ensuring that you
remember which person has the question "Can I come?" so that you can choose
that person to ask the final question.
- Is your
party just for your relatives?
- Is your
party just for people who live in your street?
- Is your
party just for the most popular people?
- Is your
party just for the most beautiful people?
- Is your
party just for very rich people?
- and so
question: Can I come?
Examples of the sorts of people that members
of the congregation might identify themselves as being:
- I know you! I stood next to you in the
queue at the Post Office last week.
- I know you! I'm your oldest school
- I know you! You were my brother's friend's
cousin's History teacher.
- I know you! I live next door to you. We
have coffee together every Wednesday.
- I know you! You travel on the same bus as
me every now and then.
- I know you! I'm your favourite uncle.
- Select a
reader at the start of the service.
- Hand out
questions/identities at the start of the service. One way is to
write out the questions on slips of one colour of paper, and the
identities on a different colour. Then you explain to the people, as you
hand out the slips of paper, that you will let them know during the
teaching activity when they are required to put up their hands to ask
their questions or state their identities.
- What sort
of people can come to the party? When you have announced your
party, invite the congregation to guess who's going to be invited to it
and ask the people with the appropriate coloured slips of paper to make
suggestions. Do not answer the questions, but just respond with neutral
comments like, "Hmmm, that's an interesting suggestion," or, "My
relatives? Well, I do love my family . . ." At the final question - "Can
I come?" - respond with real excitement: "Now, that's a good
- In the
reading Jesus was asked, "Will only a few people go to Heaven?"
Perhaps we've all wondered this. Some people think that it doesn't really
matter how we live our lives: it will all turn out ok in the end. Other
people think that only a very few special people (including themselves of
course!) will go to Heaven. What did Jesus reply to the question? He
didn't. He said, "You must know me." - in other words, the only
question that matters is "Can I come?" -
not "How many people can come?"
should I invite to my party? Invite people with the appropriate
coloured slips of paper to identify themselves, and ask the congregation
to vote on whether they should be invited. The point is that we aren't
invited to parties when we don't already know the host. Jesus said the
most important thing is getting to know Him now, while we have the
- When the
children have dressed up and lined up, announce the good news!
Everyone is welcomed by Jesus: He loves us so much that He paid for our
sins so that we can get through that narrow door - so long as we choose
to. Jesus said none of society's views about "importance" matters to Him.
He knows what's truly in our hearts, and the people who really love Him
can be anywhere along that line.