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Rebuilding with hope — Weekly Christian ed lesson

A Christian ed lesson for children on Joel 2:23-32.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Lesson background

Resilience is a trait we want all children to develop. It allows them to move forward when hard situations arise in their lives. We often encourage children to turn to their support systems — their families and their friends — in times of trouble. We know that a community of care helps us be resilient. God is also part of that community. God cries with us when we are hurting and offers us hope when we feel hopeless. In this lesson, children will explore God’s message of hope in Joel and will examine the ways that members of our denomination offer love and hope to those experiencing the effects of natural disasters.

You will need:

Starting off

Greet the children as they arrive.

Set out a container of LEGO or LEGO DUPLO blocks. Invite build a tower using the blocks.

After they have constructed the tower, tell them they must knock it down.

Ask:

  • What did it feel like to knock your tower down?
  • What would it feel like for something that was important to you — like your home — to be destroyed?
  • How would you rebuild it?
  • Where would you look for care and hope in this situation?

Exploring the passage

Say a prayer.

Provide context for the Scripture passage.

  • The reading comes from the Old Testament book of Joel.
  • Joel was a prophet. God shared important messages with Joel so that he could share them with the people of God. (If you have offered lessons on the Jeremiah lectionary texts over the last several weeks, note that Joel and Jeremiah were both prophets).
  • The Book of Joel begins with God sharing the people of God’s sadness about a natural disaster. In that time, locusts (invasive insects) and a drought destroyed the people’s crops. They were left with little food to eat. God asks the people to reconnect with God during this hard time.
  • In this reading, God’s message shifts to hope. Joel shares a message about the future.
  • Encourage the children to notice what God says will happen next for the people of God. 

Read Joel 2:23-32 aloud.

Discuss the reading. Ask:

  • What does God promise God’s people? (Encourage the children to offer specific examples.)
  • How will their lives be different than they were during the time when their harvests were destroyed?
  • If you were one of the people of God hearing this message, how would you feel?

Relating the passage to our lives

Help the children connect the passage to their own lives.

Ask:

  • Natural disasters like droughts still happen today. What other natural disasters occur in the world?
  • How can someone who has experienced loss due to a natural disaster find hope?
  • Who helps people rebuild when they lose their homes and businesses in a natural disaster?

Choose one or more of these activities to teach the children about Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

  • Share this video introducing the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program [Minute for Mission: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance insert link: https://youtu.be/M8CjfRcM_0I]. Discuss how the program gives people hope during natural disasters and how God’s love, as it is presented in the Joel reading, is reflected through this program.
  • Share this video showing the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program in action Standing Ready to Respond: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Discuss the ways that the volunteers in the video give hope to those experiencing loss.
  • Discuss ways your congregation can or already does support the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program.

Closing

End your time together by saying a prayer for those experiencing loss through natural disasters.

 

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