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Taking a Closer Look (Moses 2)

June 23, 2010

The second lesson on Moses and the burning bush asks us to take a closer look for the places and times where God might be speaking to us.  The activity is a nice and easy arts and crafts activity – no more improv games for a while.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • It will work better if you are prepared to share a fairly personal story of your own spirituality – when and where has God spoken to you?

Taking a Closer Look


Materials

  • green construction paper
  • red, orange, and yellow tissue paper
  • scissors
  • glue

Open with prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

If this is your first lesson (or your students’ first lesson) on Moses and the Burning Bush, see With God’s Help, the first lesson in the series, for an introduction to the character and situation of Moses.

If everyone present has heard that introduction, you may want to ask a few questions and refresh everyone’s memory before you jump into the story.

Read the Story

Moses was taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep, taking them to places with lots of grass and fresh water. He took them up a mountain called Horeb, the mountain of God. While he was there, he saw the strangest thing – a bush was on fire but it was not getting burned up! It just kept blazing with the flames!

Moses said to himself, “I have to take a closer look and see why this bush isn’t being burned up”. When the Lord saw that Moses had come closer to the bush, he called to him, “Moses, Moses!” Moses answered, “Here I am!” Then the Lord said, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals because you are standing on holy ground” .” Moses did as he was told, amazed at what was happening.

The Lord continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Once Moses realized who he was talking to, he hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Then God said to him, “I have seen how miserable my people, the Israelites, are in Egypt. I have heard them cry and I know that they are suffering. I have come to save them from slavery in Egypt and take them to a new and beautiful land where they can be safe and happy and where they will not be oppressed. I will send you to Pharoah, the king of Egypt, and you will bring my people out of his country.”

But Moses said, “But I am nobody special. Why would Pharoah listen to me? How am I supposed to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God answered him, “I will be with you and when you and the Israelites have come out of Egypt you will worship me on this mountain.”

(Exodus 3:1-12)

Discussion

What was the strange thing that Moses saw on the mountain?

What did Moses do when he saw it? (went to take a closer look)

What did Moses NOT do? (run away, ignore it, call the fire department, try to put it out)

What happened when Moses went closer to the bush? (God spoke to him)

Now, I don’t think that this story is telling us that we should not report fires to the fire department in case God wants to talk to us. But I do think it is a reminder that God can speak to us from strange places so we need to pay attention to what is around us. Just think, if Moses had not taken a closer look at that bush, he might never have helped the Israelites get out of slavery.

I have never (unless you have) heard God speak to me quite in the way that the story describes but I have heard God speaking in my heart. Sometimes I can hear God when I am with my family or when I sing a hymn in church. Sometimes I hear God when I sit quietly in the sunshine. Sometimes I hear God when I am running. But I only hear God when I leave my own thoughts and activities on the side for a moment and take a closer look to see what wonderful thing God has to show me. Then, when God sees that I have come closer, God speaks.

Use your own personal story along with, or instead of, the paragraph above.  Then you can invite the students to share as well.

Can you think of a time or place when you could hear God?  Would you like to tell us about it?

Introduce the Activity

Today we are going to make burning bushes to take home. I hope that, whenever you see your bush, you will remember to take a closer look and hear God speaking to you.

Making a Burning Bush

Give each student a piece of green construction paper and some red, orange, and yellow tissue paper. Invite them to cut the green paper into a rough bush-shape and then to tear or cut flames out of the tissue paper. Glue the flames onto the bush. Twisting or bunching the tops of the “flames” will allow them to stand slightly above the bush. The more tissue paper, the flamier the fire.

Regrouping

Give everyone another opportunity to share a story about paying attention to God. After the stories, or right away if there are none, remind everyone to take time for taking a closer look.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for speaking to Moses out of a burning bush. Help us to take a closer look at the things around us so that we can hear you when you speak to us. Amen.

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