Experiencing the Book of Matthew through the Senses
1. Matthew 5:16
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Sensory experience: Place a small, battery-operated tea light at each seat or hand them out as people enter for worship. At the end of the service, dim the overhead lights and have everyone turn on their tea lights to symbolize their individual commitment to let their light shine.
2. Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Sensory experience: Have a shiny penny for each worshiper. Worshippers can feel the smoothness of the money, see the shine, and smell the copper. At the end of the service, have worshippers drop their penny in a bucket to symbolize that they are storing up not monetary treasures, but heavenly ones.
3. Matthew 6:28-30
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”
Sensory experience: Have a flower for each worshiper. They can smell the flower, touch the silky petals, and admire its beauty. It serves as a reminder that God will always provide.
4. Matthew 7:3-5
“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.’”
Sensory experience: Have one small, rough piece of scrap wood for each person. The piece of wood serves as a reminder that each of us is sinful, so we should not judge others.
5. Matthew 7:24-25
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”
Sensory experience: Have a palm-sized stone for each person as a reminder to build his or her life on Jesus.
6. Matthew 12:1-2
“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.’”
Sensory experience: Fill baskets with heads of grain and have each worshiper take one. They can feel and taste the grain just as the disciples did.
7. Matthew 13:45-46
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Sensory experience: A fake pearl can serve as a reminder of the value of the kingdom of heaven.
8. Matthew 21:8-9
“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”
Sensory experience: Hand out palm branches to each worshiper.
9. Matthew 27:24-54, Jesus’ crucifixion
Sensory experience: Hand out a large carpenter nail to every worshiper. The nail will serve as a reminder of the sacrifice that Christ made for us.