Witnesses to God’s Presence: A Stranger on the Road


The Art Room
(April 19 and 26, 2015)


SCRIPTURE:             Luke 24:13-35

KEY SCRIPTURE:    “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him…”

Luke 24:30-31a

FOCUS:                   We will explore the idea of how visual perception is affected by what we expect to see.  This may impact the way in which we witness God’s presence in the world—or fail to do so!  After we talk, we’ll make a visual example to   help us remember our conversation.


  • The children will be able to locate the story of the travelers to Emmaus in Luke.
  • The children will be able to articulate at least one or two reasons why the travelers might not have recognized Jesus.
  • The children will be able to identify the experience that allowed the travelers to recognize Jesus.
  • The children will be able to summarize effectively the idea that it is easier to see God’s presence if you are watching for it.


*Bibles and The Family Story Bible
*several mounted pictures featuring optical illusions
*wood block with the word Jesus optical illusion
*the OpticalIllusionJesus paper (white image with 4 dots in center)
*paper plate with primary colors and yarn spinner
*plates trimmed and holes punched
*30 inch pieces of yarn cut



I Gathering
*Take a moment to get re-acquainted.  Remind the children of your names and welcome them.
*Tell the children that before we get to our bible story we’re going to play a little with some pictures…and think about how we “see.”


*With older children…

--Tell the children you will hold up a picture.  They are to look at it without speaking for a moment…
--…then ask, “What do you see?”  After the first response, ask if anyone sees something different.  If not, invite them to look for the other object also possible to see in the picture. (The optical illusion pictures are mounted on construction paper.  The possible things to see are listed on the back for you!!)
--There are four pictures. Use at least a couple to get the point—all four if you are having fun!
--show older children the wooden block with the word “Jesus” on it as well.  See if they can see the letters.  Lay the colored letter set over it if necessary…

*With younger children…

--It may work better to hold up a picture and tell them to look for a specific image
(Tell me if you can see a face.  Now…who can also see an Eskimo?)

*When you have looked at several pictures invite the children (especially older ones…) to think about how they are able to see more than one image in these pictures.

--It may have to do with what part of the picture you focus your attention on…
--It may have to do with what you expect to see…the way in which your eye first organizes the light and dark spaces…

*The Bible story we are going to think about today takes place on Easter Sunday.  It is later in the day and two of Jesus’ followers are on their way to a town called Emmaus.  Perhaps they lived there and were going home or maybe they were just planning to stop there overnight as a part of a longer journey.  We don’t know…but we know that they met a stranger on the road. 


II Exploring the Scripture
*Read the story either from the Bible (Luke 24:13-32) or from The Family Story Bible.  The story bible doesn’t include the part about the two followers returning to Jerusalem after their experience to tell the others.  Please be sure to add that part!


You will want to discuss the story by asking questions like these:

--Why do you think these two followers did not recognize Jesus right away?
--What helped them “see” Jesus? 
--Why do you think that particular act of sharing the bread and cup made a difference to them?  What events might it have helped them to remember?


The fact is none of us will probably ever see a burning bush like Moses did…or be in a huge crowd of people that gets fed from a single lunch box.  But we do see and experience God’s presence in the world in other ways.  What do you think some of those ways might be?

*What kinds of things may make it difficult for us to be aware of or notice God’s presence?

*We are more likely to witness God’s presence…see God in the world…if we remember to look for that!  We need to look in a special way…just like we looked at the pictures in a special way so we could see something more than we did at first. 

*Here is one more example:

Stand by the wall with the supply cabinet. Show the children the OpticalIllusionJesus picture with the four dots.  Have them look hard at the dots while the other teacher counts 45 seconds on the clock. 
THEN tell the children to close their eyes quickly turn to face the windows, keeping their eyes closed.  Ask them what they see.
They should see a white circle with an image of the face of Jesus inside.

We can look at other people and at the world with eyes of faith…eyes that know that there is a special love and hope that is in our lives because of Jesus—God With Us.  We look with eyes that believe that God says to us, “I Am.”  Some people say that this is the work of looking at the world “with the eyes of our heart.”  It is sort of a strange image—but a good one!

III Take Home Project
*Show the children the paper plate spinner.

The plate has several primary colors filled in on it in a circle (pie shapes).
Twist the yarn by holding the two sides in your two hands and spinning it around.  Then gently pull the twisted yarn so the plate spins fast.  The colors should disappear so that all you see is white as it spins.  Remember how a prism works—how it catches light and separates the colors that make up light out so you can see them?  This is the opposite process.  We’re making the colors move so fast that they dissolve back into white.

*You won’t have time to make these but you can give the children the punched plates and yarn so they take them home to color.

*Summarize briefly before the children leave by getting them to all bring their attention to you and saying something like: We have thought today about looking at the world with the eyes of faith…and seeing the presence of God with us, and in all those we meet.  Blessings as you take your eyes of faith into the world!