Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Activity 3: The Sermon on the Mount

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Cut the chart in Leader Resource 4 into pieces by cutting along all the lines. Keep the slips from Column A separate from Column B.

Description of Activity

Participants read the Beatitudes and Lord's Prayer from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and process their meaning.

Distribute the pieces you have cut from Leader Resource 4 and invite participants to match the words from Column A with their counterparts in Column B. Leaders can use the bottom part of the leader resource to check participant's work and give suggestions. Once all parts are matched correctly, read the Beatitudes aloud. Discuss with the following questions:

  • What did you think of the Beatitudes? Had you heard them before? These are among the most famous scriptures from the Christian Bible, and considered the distillation of Jesus' teaching.
  • Which beatitude (blessing) is most meaningful to you? Why?
  • Are there any that do not seem to make sense? Which ones? Is there a way of looking at them, thinking about Jesus' overall message of love, forgiveness, and equality, that they can be better understood?
  • One item in Eight Verses for Training the Mind (studied by the Dalai Lama every day) reads: "When others out of envy treat me badly with slander, abuse, and the like, may I suffer the loss and offer the victory to them." Compare this with, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." What are the similarities? The differences?

Tell participants that the Beatitudes are part of The Sermon on the Mount, a sermon in which Jesus also taught the people a prayer. Invite the group to read the Lord's Prayer aloud together.

After reading, share that well into the 20th century, the Lord's Prayer was said in unison to start the day in nearly every public school classroom in the United States, along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Ask:

  • Does this surprise you?
  • Was this practice a good idea? Why or why not?