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Sunday school story: Clean and Unclean – Mark 7 (Religious traditions and God’s commandment. )

Object lesson props: Cup, dirt, water, cloth for cleaning,
Gospel Story: Good Morning Children. This Sunday’s bible reading is about being “clean and unclean.” Some very religious people came to Jesus and asked him why his disciples did not do the special ceremonial washings that they did. (You might want to clarify that this is not really about basic sanitation.) It’s good to wash you hands but these religious leaders cared so much about doing special, fancy hand washing that they forgot about making sure they were clean on the inside – clean in their hearts! We can be nice and clean on the outside but if we have anger, jealousy, bitterness and hatred in our lives then we are really pretty unclean on the inside. Do you see this nice cup that I brought in this morning? I want you all to look inside now and tell me what you see. (Make sure there is some dirt and mud in the bottom). Yuck. It’s pretty dirty and messy. Now I’m going to pour in some water. And I’m going to stir it around. Who would like a drink of this? No? I don’t blame you. It is certainly unclean on the inside. But what if I get this nice clean cloth and clean up the outside of this cup. (Carefully wipe up the outside of the cup). It’s pretty clean now. Do you want to drink some now? (Let them respond) Perhaps if I use this fancy wiping motion that I learned from my grandfather. (Demonstrate a ridiculously fancy cleaning procedure). Wow! That must have really helped. Do you want to drink what is inside the cup now? No! How about if I use this very fancy towel that is hand embroidered – it’s very beautiful. You still don’t want to drink what is inside? Well, you are right. No matter what special hand motion or fancy towels you use it is still pretty yucky water on the inside.
TRANSITION: Kids – Our lives can be a little like this cup. If we have the dirt of bitterness, greed, anger and jealously on the inside of our lives, making ourselves look good on the outside doesn’t help much. We could do many things that would make us look very religious but if we didn’t change on the inside it wouldn’t be very pleasing to God who knows everything about us.
Pray: Dear God. We know that you want us to be clean on the inside our lives.
Help us to forgive others that have done wrong to us. Help us to get rid of bitterness and anger and selfishness that can make us unclean on the inside. Thank you for giving us the example of Jesus and thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to help us live the way you want us to live. Help us to walk in the love of Jesus Christ and share that love to others. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen!
Copyright Andrew Hewlett 2009 and  

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