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  Children's Ministry Today    

Today's Featured Article

Twilight's Last Gleaming
                  by Bill Bode

This lesson was contributed by William Bode, Director of Children’s Ministries, St. John’s United Church of Christ, Grand Rapids, MI.

Text-(Galatians 5:13-14) It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. (The Message-Eugene H. Peterson)

Thought Starters

Do you have special plans this week? It’s already the middle of the summer and we celebrate “The 4th of July” or “Independence Day.” Is there a possibility that you will see fireworks this week?

I thought it would be fun to try to learn our message today from the Bible and from two of the Founding Fathers of the United States who signed the Declaration of Independence, John Adams who convinced Congress to sign the Declaration and Thomas Jefferson who wrote it.

First from the Bible in the New Testament, Paul told the people in Galatia ... (Read the text from above).

Paul even way back then told people they were called to a free life and to do what Jesus always told us “To love others as you love yourself.”

How do the Founding Fathers help teach the lesson from Paul? John Adams the second President of the United States and Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States always were on opposite sides of everything. Let’s play a little game to better understand how they disagreed with each other. The opposite of black is _____ (white). If John said round, Tom would say ______ (square) If Tom said up, John would say ____? If John would say yes, Tom would say?

After they had disagreed on almost everything for a lifetime, in their later years, the twilight of their lives the two former Presidents wrote letters to each other constantly. John Adams lived in Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson in Virginia . One night John Adams brought a letter from Thomas Jefferson to read to his children and they asked him why he was so friendly now with Mr. Jefferson. He said, “I believe Mr. Jefferson always liked me, he wished to be President of the United States and I stood in his way. So he did everything he could do to pull me down. This is human nature… I forgive all my enemies and hope they find mercy in Heaven. Mr. Jefferson and I have grown old and retired from public life. So we are upon our ancient terms of goodwill.”  

Maybe you remember that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both loved to read and John grew up reading the Bible every Thursday through Sunday morning. He probably read the same verses from Paul that we read earlier. I’m sure he read many times, “Love others as you love yourself.”  

We are celebrating the 231st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence this week. 181 years ago on the 50th anniversary both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were in big demand as two of the three last original signers. They were invited to come to Washington D.C. , Philadelphia , New York and Boston to be the guest of honor in the parades and watch the fireworks. They were both old and not feeling very well. They politely thanked all who invited them and decided to stay home.  

On that July 4th in 1826, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died.  

That John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both had died on the same day, the Fourth of July, “was a sign of ‘Divine favor,” the President, at the time, put in his diary. The President was John Quincy Adams the son of John Adams.  

“I forgive all my enemies and hope they find mercy in heaven” said John Adams. “Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.” from the Apostle Paul.  

Prayer-Dear Jesus, Thank you for your Apostle Paul. Help us to see how his words helped many others in their faith, including the Founding Fathers of our country. Amen  

Prop- Pictures of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson  

Video/Computer Screen-same as prop  

Note- This story is inspired and taken from David McCullough’s book John Adams Copyright © by David McCullough, A Touchstone Book Published by Simon and Schuster , New York

William Bode, Director of Children’s Ministries
St. John’s United Church of Christ
Grand Rapids, MI

Bill also host the website  www.childrenssermons.net

Web www.childrensministry.org






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