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June 2013

The Weight of Sin

by artist Daniel F. Gerhartz

by artist Daniel F. Gerhartz

Pentecost Proper 6; 5th Sunday after Pentecost

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Luke 7:36-50  

Preparation: Bring two objects for students to hold—one that is heavy (perhaps a thick book or telephone directory) and one that is fairly light (a small book or tablet).

I need two volunteers. You have to be strong enough to  hold these weights while I’m talking. (Choose two volunteers. Give one the heavy weight and the other the lighter weight. If the weights are not too heavy, have children hold them at arm’s length to make it more difficult.)

Jesus was once invited to an important man’s home for a meal. Jesus had walked a long way, and he was tired and his feet were dusty. Back in those days, when someone special came to dinner, the host had a servant wash the guest’s feet. Then the host would anoint the head of his guest with sweet-smelling oil. But when Jesus arrived, the important man did not have Jesus’ feet washed, and he did not pour sweet-smelling oil on Jesus’ head. After they sat down to eat, a woman came in with a jar of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped his feet with her hair.

The important man was shocked! This woman was not someone he wanted to have in his house. She had done many bad and shameful things. He thought to himself: This Jesus is not a great prophet like everyone says. If he were, he would know how bad this woman is, and he wouldn’t let her touch his feet. Jesus knew what the man was thinking, and he told a story that went something like this:

There were two people who were carrying heavy burdens. One carried a burden weighing a hundred pounds, the other carried a burden weighing ten pounds. They could only let go of their burdens if someone else offered to take them. Both of the people were so tired. The one with the heavier weight didn’t know if she could make it any longer. Suddenly someone offered to take their burdens. (Take the weights from the volunteers and let them join the rest of the kids.) Who do you suppose was more thankful: the one carrying the lighter weight or the one with the heavier weight? (Let kids respond.)

The woman who washed Jesus’ feet was carrying a heavy weight of sin. She knew she had sinned a lot; she knew what other people thought about her. But she also knew that Jesus loved her and forgave her and took that weight of sin away. And the woman wanted to show Jesus how happy she was. The important man didn’t think he had many sins. He thought he was much better than the woman. But he was wrong. All of us have sinned, and none of us is better than anybody else. Jesus forgives us all. And we should all be as thankful as that woman who washed Jesus’ feet.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you so very much for forgiving us and taking away the load of sin. We love you.


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