If you want to be sad, be sad — Weekly Christian ed lesson

A Christian ed lesson for children on Jeremiah 8:18-9:1.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Starting off

Feeling sadness is part of being human. Children, sometimes more than adults, are willing to lean into their sadness. They cry and share their sorrows. They willingly share their feelings with those they love and trust. In this lesson, children will explore the ways they can share sadness and concerns with God, knowing God is always by their side weeping alongside them.

Begin your time with the children by asking them to share what they do when they feel sad. How do they express their sadness? Who do they share their feelings with? What makes them feel better? Note the diversity of experiences and expressions that the children share. Highlight that there is no right or wrong way to be sad. Being sad is part of being a person. We all feel sadness at times in our lives and we express it in different ways.

Exploring the passage

Prepare to read aloud Jeremiah 8:18-9:1. Provide the children with a context for the reading. Share that the passage comes from the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a young person chosen by God to speak to God’s people. At the time God called Jeremiah, he was only a child. Jeremiah doesn’t think he has the power or authority to speak to the people on God’s behalf. However, God assures him God will give him the words and will be with him as he speaks. The messages that God gives Jeremiah to share with the people are not easy ones for them to hear. Bad times are coming for God’s people. The land God gave them to live on will be invaded by other nations and will be taken from them. Jeremiah tells the people God is calling on them to listen in hopes that they might be prepared for the difficult times ahead. The passage you will read is Jeremiah’s response to hearing the words God is calling him to share with the people.

Read aloud Jeremiah 8:18-9:1. After reading, ask the children to recount Jeremiah’s feelings about God’s message. Note that Jeremiah is very sad that God’s people will suffer. He knows the people will believe God is no longer with them and he wonders where they will find comfort. Have the children wonder what might help God’s people feel better. What could comfort them? How will they cope with this news?

Next, encourage the children to think beyond the reading to what they know about God from other Bible stories or discussions you have had. Ask them to think of times when God’s people have been sad or have experienced tragedy. How did God respond? Was God with them? Note that throughout the Bible, God is with God’s people. When they are sad, God is sad with them. God hears their prayers and mourns with them. God gives them hope when they feel hopeless. Share that if we continued to read Jeremiah, we would discover this is exactly what God does. God reminds the people they are not alone. God offers hope and promises to be with them.

Relating the passage to our lives

Help the children connect the reading to their own lives. Remind them that God continues to carry out this promise today. Whenever we are sad or hurt, we can share these feelings with God. God will be with us.

Prepare the materials you’ll need for the activity: paper, scissors, and markers or crayons. Give each child several sheets of paper and a pair of scissors. Ask them to cut heart shapes out of the paper. Encourage them to make the hearts large enough so that they can write or draw on them. If you’re working with younger children, you may want to cut the hearts out ahead of time.

After they have cut out the hearts, ask them to tear each heart in half. Share that they’re going to be thinking about things that break their hearts, things that make them sad. Ask the children to write or draw something that makes them sad on each of the heart fragments. Encourage them to think of specific things from their own lives as well as larger ideas like war, violence, or racism.

Once they have written or drawn on the hearts, either ask them to glue the pieces on a piece of chart paper or place them in a large bowl at the center of the table. Offer a prayer for each of the people, places, or situations shared on the broken hearts. Read each aloud and ask the children to say, “Lord, hear our prayer” in response.