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    The Lesson of the Cinnamon Rolls
    By Rev. Denise Michel
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The NV ULC Board of Directors has granted permission for members of our congregation to make copies of, and use this lesson.

Based on Isaiah 11:1-3;

Theme: Gifts of GOD's Love for us;

Message: "GOD's love is sweet and always in our lives, as are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit."

INGREDIENTS FOR ROLLS:

    INGREDIENT = GIFT
    1 cup milk = Strength
    1 cup water = Trust
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter = Respect
    1 egg, slightly beaten = Faith
    6 cups all-purpose flour (or more), divided = My Life
    1/2 cup sugar = God's Love
    One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast = Honor
    2 teaspoons salt = Discernment
    1 cup golden raisins = Experience

    Filling (Gifts of the Holy Spirit):
    INGREDIENT = GIFT
    1/2 cup brown sugar = spiritual seal, spirit of wisdom & understanding
    1-1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon = spirit of right judgment, courage, knowledge
    1/3 cup butter, melted = spirit of reverence & holy fear in God's presence

    Glaze (GOD's Love & His Presence in My Life):
    INGREDIENT = GIFT
    2 Tablespoons butter = GOD's hope
    1 Tablespoon milk = GOD's strength
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract = GOD's faith
    2 to 3 cups sifted powdered sugar = GOD's love

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, and the butter. Heat until very warm (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit), and butter melts. Add the egg.

2. In a large bowl (of an electric mixer), combine 2 cups of the flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir well. Add milk-egg mixture to the flour mixture. Beat at medium speed until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 8 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top of the dough. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour until it doubles in size.

3. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar & cinnamon in a small bowl & melt the butter. Set aside.

4. Punch dough down. Cover again and let rest 10 minutes more. Divide dough in half and set half aside. Roll the other half out onto a floured surface to form an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush with half of the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with half of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Beginning at the long side, roll up jellyroll-fashion. Moisten edges with water and press together to seal. Cut jellyroll into 1-1/2 inch slices. Place cut sides of slices (rolls) down in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan (12 rolls to a pan). Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour or until the rolls double in size. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.

5. When rolls have risen, bake them in a preheated 375-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. While rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, heat together the butter and milk until the butter is melted. (You can use a glass measuring cup in the microwave to do this.) Add the vanilla and enough of the powdered sugar for desired spreading consistency.

6. Apply glaze when rolls have cooled slightly.

Yield: 2 dozen

* * *

The Lesson of the Cinnamon Rolls is a long-lasting one and it is one that children will remember long after the original rolls have been eaten. Use the recipe as is for a small class, double (or even triple) for larger classes. This lesson is best used when one has cooking facilities, such as those found in a church hall or the church basement (or wherever church suppers are held).

It is vital that the children themselves make the cinnamon rolls, with the appropriate adult supervision. The teacher will need to identify each ingredient and what it represents. The recipe may also be copied and given to each child for further use (and reinforcement) at home. The teacher can also make a guessing game of what each ingredient represents, if the class likes this sort of game; otherwise, simply identifying each ingredient and what it represents will be sufficient to make the lesson "stick" in each child's memory (especially after they eat the roll). The rolls may be eaten in class (with a cup of milk {strength}) or taken home and eaten there.

Side Note: My class, after making these rolls, ran to their parents and said they'd made GOD in Sunday School. Then the children showed their parents the rolls and told them about all of the gifts and how they were represented in the cinnamon roll. The children were delighted (although the parents were a wee bit confused until the pastor and I explained it in more detail) and teaching in this manner gave them a concrete way to learn a rather esoteric lesson, especially for children in their age group (preschool to second grade).

I was also told, after the lesson, that some of the children took to identifying gifts used in other meals (such as the milk & raisins in their oatmeal, the sugar in their cereal, the butter on their toast, etc). This shows that they did learn the lesson, and better yet, were able to apply it to other areas of their lives.

Further Side Note: Combine this with a lesson about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, or a lesson about GOD's presence in our daily lives. My grandmother used the cinnamon rolls to reinforce a lesson about GOD's presence in our daily lives (but there are many lessons for which the Cinnamon Rolls would be a great reinforcement).

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