Title: Parable of the Growing Seed
Subject: The Kingdom of God
Age: 3 to 10 years
Liturgical Time: Non-specific
Prerequisite: The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Doctrinal Content: The Kingdom of God is all powerful and is not easy to explain. It is a gift that He has given us. It is a mystery, the mystery of life itself. It starts out small, but its power brings about growth and transformation. We have a part in this mystery but we are not the source.
Direct Aim: This lesson aims to reflect on the power of God and his work in his Kingdom, and to nurture an understanding that God's transformative powers are always present even when we can't see them.
Indirect Aim: Indirect aims include laying the groundwork for understanding the Kingdom of Heaven; nurturing a love for God and His gift; inspiring wonder in the Kingdom of God, a response of praise, love, and gratitude towards God; discovering we are not the source of this power; increasing a reverence for life, and laying a foundation for moral formation based on the love and joy of the kingdom.
Sources: Mark 4:26-28
Materials for the Lesson:
The scripture booklet with the words of the parable; Mark 4:26-28
Growing Seed pictures: Sprouting seed, Seeds
Tracing packet (refer to materials manual)
Bible, candle, match, snuffer and rug or table
The Lesson Plan:
Set up the introduction to the Parables as you did before, reminding the children that God's love permeates everything and yet it is hidden. Conduct your review of the previous Parables. Say, "Do you remember listening to some parables about the Kingdom of God? We've learned all sorts of things about the Kingdom of Heaven…it grows (like the seeds/leaven), it changes/transforms, it's very valuable, brings great joy (Merchant is happy), etc…Here's one more parable that Jesus told us…it is found in the book of Mark."
Light the candle and leave it burning throughout the meditation. Share how man goes about his business and sows the seed and then he does other things that need to be done. The growth of the seed happens and is not really explainable. Ask, "What did you hear? What's happening? A man plants seeds, sleeps, eats, works, and the seeds grow, but he doesn't know how. First they are a little blade that gets bigger and grows into stalks, and eventually forms a head." Then point to the picture.
The seed starts with a small blade or shoot and forms a head and then becomes full grain. Share how the process takes time and we cannot explain it. Ask, "What is that telling us about the kingdom of heaven? It starts out small and keeps growing while we do other things. We can't explain it, but it takes time." Continue with, "Who's power is operating here? God's…God's power is everywhere. How does it make you feel/think when you think about God's great power? Happy, Joyful? Comforting? It's like a gift that God has given us. We can go to sleep, get up, do our stuff and still His power is there."
Restore the materials by placing the prayer card on the table; close with a prayer and invite the children to participate in activities as time allows.
Trace prayer card
Next lesson: The Parable of the Hidden Treasure.
Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at http://www.cgsusa.org.