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Living in unity — Weekly Christian ed lesson

In this lesson, children will explore the opening lines of Psalm 133 noticing the beauty of unity. Then they will wonder about how we might seek and build unified communities.

Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

Lesson background

Young children have an affinity for unity. If someone is in the same space as them, they instantly pull them into their activity. They pull one another in, never stopping to consider their differences. As we grow up, though, we find reasons to separate ourselves from one another. As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to create a unified community, one where each person is welcomed and valued as children of God. In this lesson, children will explore the opening lines of Psalm 133 noticing the beauty of unity. Then they will wonder about how we might seek and build unified communities.

You will need:

  • A Bible
  • A 20–40-piece puzzle
  • A method for playing a song (ex. speakers, a CD player, phone, or computer), a recording of “Imagine” by John Lennon, chart paper and markers or crayons (optional)
  • A sheet of chart paper cut into large, random shapes that fit together (make sure no two pieces are exactly the same size or shape and that there are enough pieces for each child in the group to get one), a blank sheet of chart paper, markers or crayons, and glue (optional)

Starting out

Greet the children as they arrive.

Hand each child a few pieces of the puzzle as they come into the room. When all puzzle pieces have been distributed, give the children time to put them together to create the image on the puzzle box. Encourage them to work together to accomplish this task.

After completing the puzzle, ask:

  • Was it easy or hard to put this puzzle together as a group? Why?
  • If you had the opportunity to put another puzzle together as a group, what would you want to make sure you did again? What would you do differently?

Exploring the passage

Say a prayer.

Provide context for the lectionary reading (Psalm 133:1-3):

  • This short reading comes from the Old Testament collection of psalms.
  • If you have previously read psalms with the children, ask them to share what they remember about this type of writing. If you have not explored psalms together, give the children a brief overview of the psalm genre. Note that a psalm is a poem-song that usually praises God, asks for God’s help, and/or cries out to God. Many of the psalms in the Bible were written by King David. Feel free to add any other details about psalms that you think would be helpful or interesting to the children.
  • In this psalm, anointing (specifically the anointing of Aaron) will be mentioned. Anointing is an ancient practice for blessing and recognizing someone who is taking on a role within a worshiping community. God tells Moses that Aaron and his sons will be anointed as priests who will care for the community, teach them about God’s word, and lead them in worship.
  • The psalm mentions the location of Hermon. Hermon is in Palestine. It is the highest mountain in this region.

Read aloud Psalm 133: 1-3.

After reading, ask:

  • What does the psalm say is “good and pleasant”?
  • What does unity mean to you?
  • Why does God want us to live in unity?
  • Who are kindred? (Biblical and personal definition)
  • What might keep people from living in unity? What might bring them together?

Relating the passage to our lives

Help the children connect the scripture reading to their own lives through one or more of these activities.

  • Imagining a unified world: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a method for playing a song (ex. speakers, a CD player, phone, or computer), a recording of “Imagine” by John Lennon, chart paper and markers or crayons. Play “Imagine” for the children. After listening to the song, ask the children to reflect on what it says about how people should live together. Note that the song calls for people to live in unity. Divide the children into pairs or small groups. Provide each group with a sheet of chart paper and markers or crayons. Ask them to imagine a community where people live in unity. Have them draw what this community would look like on the chart paper. When all the groups have drawn their unified communities, have them share their work with the larger group.
  • Unity in diversity: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a sheet of chart paper cut into large, random shapes that fit together (make sure no two pieces are exactly the same size or shape and that there are enough pieces for each child in the group to get one), a blank sheet of chart paper, markers or crayons, and glue. Remind the children about their experience constructing the jigsaw puzzle. Share that a community is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle — pieces/people are different from one another but they’re all necessary to create the larger picture/community. Hand each child one of the shapes. Ask them to use crayons or markers to personalize the piece. They should write their name in the middle of the piece and then write or draw pictures of their unique gifts and personality traits. After all of the children have made their pieces. Have the children work together to glue the shapes together in their proper location on the blank sheet of chart paper. Hang the completed puzzle on the wall.

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