This is a Sunday School lesson for you to try at home! If you’d like to see this as a GoogleDoc, please CLICK HERE.
Location: At home
I’m so glad you are here, and are considering sharing a time of Sunday School at home. These times at home together are a special opportunity for us to deepen and share our faith in our families, and invite God’s peace, love and hope into our lives. Next week, I’ll explore the possibility of making a video or meeting online, but this week, I’d love for you to share any stories or art you create!
Today’s Story: Background
In today’s story, the Jewish people are fleeing from slavery after the Pharoah in Egypt has finally let them go (this is right after the story of the plagues that we remember on Passover). Really we should say that at first Pharaoh lets them go, but then he changes his mind! The Jewish people are trying to make their way to freedom, not exactly sure where they are going or how to get there, and the Pharaoh’s army is pursuing them. It is a time of mixed emotions — joy at being free, but uncertain and scary too – and God is always with them, showing up like a cloud during the day, and like a pillar fire to light their way at night.. Eventually they escape (parting of the sea by Moses), but then spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Later, before Jesus begins his ministry, he spends 40 days wandering in the wilderness. These are the 40 days we remember during Lent (which lasts 40 days before Easter). Lent is a wilderness time, when we can remember God is with us even when times are uncertain or difficult.
Exodus 13: 21-22
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
- Extra learning: If you want to learn more about Exodus:
- Teens and Adults: Bible Project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH_aojNJM3E)
At-Home Plan – to adapt and use as is helpful!: This follows the regular rhythm of Sunday School when we’re at church together. Now we get to be church together at home!
BREATHING AND QUIET – Centering down and listening for God
- Perhaps begin your time with quiet – focusing on your breathing or sitting in quiet and opening our ears to listen to the sounds around you. If you have a chime or singing bowl you could use that. We listen for God in the quiet.
CIRCLE: (Connecting, Listening and Praying together)
- This is the time when we sit together and share what is on our hearts
- You might ask one another and share: What are you grateful for this week? Is there anything that is making you feel sad or worried? Is there anything you are looking forward to or worried about in the coming week? Is there anyone we should pray for?
- Practice praying together for the things that were shared. Maybe add a prayer for the people of our church…
SING : I’ve Got Peace Like a River
I’ve got peace like a river (x3)
In my soul (x2)
I’ve got love like an ocean (x3)
In my soul (x2)
I’ve got joy like a fountain (x3)
In my soul (x2)
STORY: God is with the Jewish People as they escape slavery and face uncertainty
- Can you find Exodus 13:21-22 in your Bible? The words are also at the beginning of this document.
- Read the passage together
- If you’d like, THIS VIDEO does a good job depicting the story. Play from the beginning until 53 seconds in.
- Talk about the story – some ideas:
- I wonder what you like about this story?
- I wonder what you don’t like, or don’t understand?
- I wonder how the people felt when they were in the desert (e.g. probably happy in some ways to be free from slavery; sad in others; and scared in other ways)
- I wonder how it felt for them to have God with them? How does God help them? (e.g. God guides them; reassures them; gives them light in the darkness)
- We aren’t out in the wilderness, but our lives with Coronavirus can feel uncertain and a little scary. Where is God in our lives and world right now? (e.g. Mr. Rogers always says “Look for the helpers”. Where do we see healing, compassion, love of neighbor? These are the places we can see God at work.
- How can we join in God’s work right now? (sharing love, healing, compassion and being God’s hands and feet in the world as the body of Christ)
OPTION – GAME
- Walking in the Wilderness: Blindfold one person in your group and then walk with them guiding them through an “obstacle course” – like around your living room 🙂
- What does it feel like not to see where you are going?
- What does it feel like to have to trust in another person guiding you?
- Maybe we can’t see exactly where we are going right now — i.e. when we’ll get to go back to school, when this virus will finally go away — but we can know that God is with us to guide us; and that other people we love can help guide us too! How can we better listen for God’s guidance and help be a guide and shine God’s light for others right now?
ART & ACTIVITY
- OPTION 1: Labyrinth A labyrinth can be a symbol of the wilderness journey. When you are walking the labyrinth it doesn’t go in a straight line, and it’s hard to see where you are going until you get there! As our Lenten devotional says, “Christians have used labyrinths as a means to have a multi-sensory expression of prayer and contemplation. Labyrinths look like a maze but are different from a maze in the sense that it is not meant to be confusing, but rather to provide space and time to reflect and pray while traveling the path.”
- If you have a printer: Print page 13 of the Illustrated MInistry Lenten Devotional (CLICK) , the picture of the labyrinth. Modify their Ash Wednesday activity (pg. 10) – allowing each person to trace the labyrinth, and then drawing a cross, heart, or other image of God’s hope or love, when they arrive at the center. Color in the Labyrinth and send Pastor Amy a photo!
- If you do not have a printer, you can learn how to draw a labyrinth yourself by following this good tutorial online: Use the time of drawing and ‘walking’ the labyrinth with you finger as a time of connecting to God and trusting that God will be with you on this journey.
- OR Make a ‘labyrinth’ or maze out of legos or magnatiles!
- OPTION 2 – Connecting with the UCW Community! We want to be sure to stay connected even though we are at home this week! Use this time to make a card or picture; send an email, text, video or photo; to someone in our church. If you have someone in mind that you’d like to reach out to, and don’t know their contact information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Amy ([email protected]).
- The UCW Directory is also a great thing to tap into during these days at home! https://www.ucw.org/members-online-directory-account-access/
- In the coming week, we’ll look for even more ways to connect families; and also to connect our children with elders who may be feeling more isolated. Making some cards or drawings now that we could share with them would be such a blessing!
- If you want, end your time with a blessing.
- Say something like: “May God Bless you and bless our family, especially during these days when we are at home. May you always know how loved you are, and may we all we all share God’s love with one another and our neighbors this week and always. Amen.”
- This is also a great one if you would like to listen to or learn a new song: Call down a Blessing; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JgBpF_XjD4