Family Resources - October 11
We wanted to share with you some highlights from our curriculum, so that your child will be able to follow along with the lessons they are being taught in Children’s Ministry. This blog post contains information about this week’s lesson from our Gospel Story curriculum, which is being taught to 3 & 4 year olds, up through 3rd grade, as well as this week’s lesson from our New City Catechism that is being taught to 4th-5th graders. May it brighten your week and bless you!
The lesson for this week from the Gospel Story Curriculum is about Miriam. The biblical account for this story can be found in Numbers 12. If you would like to read the child-friendly version of this story from the Gospel Story Bible, you may click here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.
Before you begin telling the story of Miriam to your kids, use a washable marker in brown or red to draw large spots on your arm, where the sleeve will hide it. When you get to the part in the story about Miriam having leprosy, roll your sleeve up and show your spots. Talk about how leprosy was a very bad illness that made people have to quarantine away from even their families, because they didn't want to give them the sickness. But then tell how Moses prayed to God for his sister, and how God showed her mercy by taking the leprosy away. Use a cloth and some warm, soapy water to wash the spots away off of your arm. If desired, you can also draw a spot on the back of your child's hand, explaining that we are all sinners who get jealous sometimes. But through Jesus' death on the cross, we are able to have those sins washed away! Wash your child's hands with the cloth.
For this object lesson, you will need a picture of a popular toy and a picture of an amusement park. Hold up the picture of the toy. Ask your child how they would feel if their brother/sister/best friend got this toy, but they didn't. Hold up the picture of the amusement park. Ask your child how they would feel if their brother/sister/best friend got invited to go to this fun place, but they had to stay behind. Perhaps these thoughts would make your child unhappy or sad, perhaps they would feel a little bit of jealousy, wanting all the fun things for themselves as well. It's ok to be sad about things like this, but that line into jealousy is a dangerous one. That's what got Miriam and Aaron into trouble. Only Jesus coming and changing our hearts can make us glad for our siblings and friends and free us from jealousy.
For this activity, you will need some dominoes and some ping pong balls (or bouncy balls, whatever you have). Hand the ping pong balls to your child and tell them you are going to be setting up a line of dominoes, and while you work, their job is to be the "opposition" who throws balls at your construction. It's pretty hard to build something when people are trying to knock it down. Switch with your child and have them try to set up the dominoes while you throw balls to knock it down. Is it hard for them to build anything that way? When Miriam and Aaron opposed Moses, they were like the ping pong balls, threatening to knock down Moses' leadership. But God was not going to have that happen. Moses' leadership is a picture to us of Christ and His being our mediator before God. So God stopped Miriam and Aaron before they could break down what God was building.
There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out to your kids as you go through this lesson. First of all, talk with them about how Miriam and Aaron were jealous of Moses. They saw their baby brother getting all the attention from God, getting to be the leader of the people all the time, and they were jealous. They wanted to be the leader. Jealousy is a sin against God, like complaining. All of us, at one time or another, are probably going to be jealous about something we want that others have. Only Jesus coming and changing our hearts can make us glad for others and free us from jealousy. Secondly, point out that Moses was a mediator for his sister. Even though Miriam was speaking out against Moses, even though she was jealous of him and wanting to steal his glory, when she was struck with leprosy, Moses prayed for her, asking God to forgive her sins. This is a picture, pointing us to Jesus. When the people were crucifying Jesus, mocking Him, spitting on Him, and parading Him through the streets, Jesus prayed for them, asking God to forgive their sins, because "they know not what they do". Jesus prays for us as well, and is the One who goes to God on our behalf, asking for our sins to be forgiven.
Our Sword Bible Memory Verse for October comes from Philippians 4. For preschoolers, they are learning Philippians 4:6. For K-2nd grade, they are learning Philippians 4:6-8. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Philippians 4:4-9. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #10.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #11 - “What does God require in the sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments?” Answer - “Sixth, that we do not hurt or hate our neighbor. Seventh, that we live purely and faithfully. Eighth, that we do not take without permission that which belongs to someone else.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Romans 13:8-10. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Romans 13:9.
It is easy for children to hear stories about how other people have broken God’s law and have failed to love their neighbor as themselves. But it’s important to encourage them to examine their own hearts at the beginning of this lesson as well. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus makes it clear that we can break God’s law in our hearts without actually doing these things we’re learning about. For example, I would guess your child hasn’t murdered anyone. But ask them to reflect, have they ever been mad at someone? Mad enough to think about hurting them, even if they didn’t actually do it? I can remember a time when I was 7 or 8 when I threw a toy at my little sister’s eye on purpose, because I was angry and wanted her to feel pain. Jesus taught that hating others is the same as murdering them in our hearts.
Give your child a large paper heart, and have them fold it in half. Notice that nobody can see what’s on the inside of their paper heart. Except God, who sees everything. Encourage your child to have a time of reflection and confession before the Lord. Have them think of a time when they sinned in their heart, and have them write it on the inside of their paper heart and pray a prayer of confession to the Lord. They don’t need to be afraid to do this, because God already knows about what happened. Then allow them to take their paper heart, without opening it, and rip it into tiny pieces over the trash can. This is to help them remember that if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us.
Another activity you can do is to have your child draw a picture of somebody loving their neighbors well. All of our commandments we are learning about this week involve loving our neighbors well. You don’t kill someone you love, nor do you cheat them, nor do you steal from them. So let’s focus on how we can love others well, in Jesus’ name. Have your child seek to incorporate hidden numbers 6, 7, and 8 in their picture, then you can look for them when they show you the finished product.
If you’re looking for other resources for ideas and activities you can do with your children to help them use their time to invest in God’s kingdom, here are some we recommend:
https://www.kidssundayschool.com/gradeschool/puzzles/puzzled-over-jealousy (A kid’s word search related to jealousy)
https://youtu.be/LO-2fm7IKcU (A song about Jesus’ forgiveness)
https://youtu.be/c6fFo2OzTHc (Veggie Tales clip about loving your neighbor well)