Focus Passage: 2 Corinthians 5: 11-21
Memory Verse: “God was in Christ bringing the world back together with God.”
Items for Preparation
Collect a few photos, either cut out from magazines, printed from online, or just ready to queue and display on your tablet, of very different kinds of people, people who are one another’s opposites. Here are some examples. You only need a couple or three.
-A person who is healthy and happy, and a person who is sick and suffering
-Someone in a big house, and someone who could be homeless
-Someone walking, and someone in a big car or on a plane
-Someone who is eating, and someone who looks hungry
-A very old person and a very young one
-Someone who appears poor, and another who looks wealthy
-Someone with many friends around, and someone looking lonely
-A happy person and a sad or crying person
Read the adult lesson in the Nurturing Faith print edition and find additional material online. For these two weeks we’ll explore the idea of reconciliation with kids. Now, if you discuss being “reconciled” to God, this will mean that, Luuuucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do. No kid worth her salt knows that word! But we can help kids understand what Paul means by allowing them to see how very different people, even enemies, are equally valuable to God, because of Jesus.
[Display your photos, and discuss how each pair is alike/different.]
Say [as you hold up one pair]: When you see these two people, raise your hand if you feel you are most like THIS one [and hold one up] or this one? [as you hold up the alternate one of that pair. Now go on with the next pair, and the next, til you go through all your photos.]
Say: It seems that these people are very different, doesn’t it? And it seems that we can feel like we are on the side of one person, or the other one, that we are more like one person or the other one…but not both. It can sometimes feel that God loves one kind of person more, or loves other people more than us. Hm…Do you think that’s really the way things are? [Allow for answers.]
Say: You are right if you think the answer is NO! Listen to the words of Paul, who wrote at least two letters to his friends in the Italian city of Corinth. This is part of the second letter he wrote. Listen: “God was, in Christ, reconciling the world to God’s self.”
Do you know what that means? Let’s say it again in our own words: “with Jesus, God brings the whole world back together with God.” That hard word, “reconciling” means “to cause to become friendly,” or “to bring into agreement,” or “to bring into harmony,” or “to win over to friendship,” or “to bring back together again,” or “to restore into communion.”
Say: This special part of the letter Paul wrote means that God uses the love of Jesus to bring us close to God. And if we all are close to God, then, even when we are very different…we are still close to each other. We are the same: we are loved by God the same. God was, in Jesus, bringing the whole world back together with God.
[Now hold up your disparate pairs again, but with a little attitude this time.]
Say: That means that, no matter how different we are, we are just as close to God as we can be. Jesus loves us, and God loves us, and keeps us close together. We are reconciled.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God who loves through Jesus,
Let your love keep us close to you.
Let your love keep us close to each other.
Let us love each other as you love us,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.