November 1, 2020
The Beatitudes

Our church color is WHITE for All Saints' Day, then back to green!

Here are the readings for this Sunday:
When we can't gather in person, let's learn and play in a virtual way!
Here's what we're wondering about: Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.
I love how Jesus climbs up a mountain so everyone can see him. I wonder if he had a very loud voice? What would it be like to have crowds following you? I wonder if Jesus was strengthened by the presence of his friends? Who would you choose to stay beside you?

Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
When Jesus spoke, all his words were lessons for his listeners. How does it feel to listen hard? What does a good listener do?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I think this year we are beginning to understand more deeply the feeling of "poor in spirit" - to me, that means feeling depressed sometimes, having lost control of familiar things, being unable to do many ordinary things, realizing that I have taken lots for granted. I think that I must learn to let go of many things. I forget to rejoice in the Lord always. I forget to pray without ceasing! But then I remember.

Are you feeing poorly in spirit? What would be a good thing about feeling this way?

I wonder what the kingdom of heaven is like?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
What does comfort feel like? How do you like to be comforted?

For whom do you mourn? We remember our loved ones who have gone before us on All Souls' Day, November 2. It is lovely to remember the people who mean so much to us. Who will you remember? How do you feel when you talk, draw, sing, or think about them?

For what else do you mourn? Remember that comfort will come.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
I wonder what the meek will do with the earth. How do you think the not-meek will feel about the meek inheriting the earth? What do you think?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
What does it feel like when you are no longer hungry or thirsty? How do you feel when you see or hear about unrighteous things happening? What do you do with (as Mr Rogers sang about) the mad that you feel?

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
This reminds me of a measuring scale, and to make both sides come out even, there is giving of mercy, and accepting the gift of mercy. What is mercy? Have you ever had to be merciful? What did that feel like?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
What is pure in heart? It sounds very beautiful to me. And what, I wonder, would it be like to see God? Do you ever see God in the world around you? How does that make your heart feel?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
God loves each of us. When we love one another - our neighbors as ourselves - we are truly God's children. I wonder about the family of God: what is that family like? How do you feel about having so many people in your family?

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It is a very bitter feeling to do something right and then be punished for it. God promises that the kingdom of heaven is a gift to all who do the right thing. I wonder what is wrong - and what is right? How do you know?

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Yikes, thank goodness for this blessing. What does it mean to be a brave Christian? Did you know that there are uncounted prophets and saints and friends who have come before you? (Happy All Saints' Day!)
Click on the image for a printable coloring sheet! Easy for little hands to cut out, too, if you'd like to create a hive to decorate the fridge.
Five Little Bees
(a sweet Bee-attitude fingerplay for the very littles!)

5 little bees,
(hold one hand up and wiggle fingers – five bees)
up in the trees.
(hold up other arm, spread fingers – the trees)
Busy, buzzing, bumblebees.
(weave bee fingers in and out of "tree" fingers)
First, they go to a flower.
(bring arm down and open hand like a flower; fly other hand's fingers to flower)
Then, they go to the hive.
(make a fist with one hand; wiggle other hand's fingers inside)
Then they make some honey.
(both hands pat tummy)
What a busy family of 5!
(Say buzzzzz! And hold other wrist with one hand, wiggle fingers of other hand)
"Beatitudes" means "Blessings"
Count your blessings! 
And share your blessings, when you're able. Click on the image at left to print out shareable "Random Acts of Kindness" cards to include with whatever love-filled blessings you are sharing with your family members in Christ.
Tell me - what can St James do for you?

Our Online Sunday School emails (like this one) are continuing, every weekend. And twice-a-month Zoom classes are coming; we're planning and playing with details and will let you know everything soon! Can't wait to "see" you! SOON!

Sending prayers for your health and well-being, peace, joy - and LOVE! - Linda