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Belonging to one another — Weekly Christian ed lesson

In this lesson, children will explore Paul’s body metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 and will consider how the joys and our challenges all of God’s people are connected.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Lesson background

During the summer, the community of worshipers on Sunday mornings looks a bit different than it does the rest of the year. Some weeks we see a small gathering of familiar faces and other weeks the space is filled with new faces. While these summer Sundays can be a bit challenging to plan for (will we have 2 or 20 kids for our children’s message?), they are a good reminder of the vast, interconnected nature of Christ’s church. The constantly changing configurations of worshipers help us realize the connections within our congregation as well as our ties to the larger church. In this lesson, children will explore Paul’s body metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-26 and will consider how the joys and our challenges all of God’s people are connected.

What you will need

  • A Bible
  • Chart paper or whiteboard and a marker
  • Better together activity: a large container of Legos that includes various-sized pieces (optional)
  • The puzzle of us: one or more heart-shaped puzzles printed on cardstock (cut out the pieces before the lesson), crayons or markers, a sheet of chart paper, and glue sticks (optional)
  • Healing the body’s hurts: a computer with Internet access connected to a data project or television and video “Can You Be Like Anti-Racist Baby?” (optional)

Getting started

Greet the children as they arrive.

Have the children sit together. Ask them to brainstorm a list of things that need all of their parts to work properly. Record their answers on the chart paper or whiteboard using the marker.

Point to one of the items on the list. Ask the children:

  • What would happen if one of the parts was missing or didn’t work? Why?
  • How do each of the parts affect one another?

Repeat this with a few of the items on the list.

Hearing and exploring the story

Prepare to read aloud 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

Provide the children with context for the reading:

  • This passage comes from one of the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth.
  • Paul helped set up some of the early churches. When these churches had difficulties, he offered them advice and support through letters. This is one of the letters.
  • The church in Corinth was one of those Paul helped to set up. Corinth is in modern day Greece.
  • This church began having problems. One of the issues it experienced was that people focused on their disagreements and competition with one another rather than focusing on the love of Christ which connected them. They failed to see one another as valuable children of God.

Read aloud 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

After reading, ask the children:

  • What do you think Paul is trying to say about the church by comparing it to a human body?
  • Why is every part of the human body important? Why is each person in the church important?
  • Paul is using the idea of the human body to help people understand the ways each person in the church contributes to the full church. In your church community, how do you see the individual people (parts of the body) work together?
  • Why do you think Paul says all of the people in the church suffer or hurt when one person suffers or hurts?

Connecting the passage to our lives

To help the children connect this psalm to their own lives and experiences, invite them to engage in one or more of the following activities:

  • Better together Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a large container of Legos that includes various sized pieces. Have the children sit so they have space in front of them to build with Legos. Hand each child a handful or two of Lego pieces. Ask them to build something with the pieces. Encourage them not to trade pieces or to go to the container to get additional pieces. After about 5 minutes, ask each to share their creations. Have them reflect on the experience of building by themselves with a limited number of pieces. Then, have them work together to connect their creations. They can deconstruct and reconstruct their original creations. Have them reflect on the experience of working together.
  • The puzzle of us Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: one or more heart-shaped puzzles printed (cut out the pieces before the lesson), crayons or markers, a sheet of chart paper, and glue sticks. Remind the children of Paul’s metaphor of the body of Christ. All of the parts of the body are important and help make the church whole. Place the pieces of the puzzle on the table in front of the children. Note that like a body, a puzzle needs all of its pieces put together so we can see the full picture. Ask the children to use the crayons or markers to write or draw pictures of people in your congregation. Then, have them put the puzzle together. You may choose to glue it to the piece of chart paper using the glue sticks. Repeat the activity as many times as you would like using the additional puzzle templates. You may choose to list other churches in your community on the pieces to create a picture of the body of Christ in your community. You may also have the children write or draw pictures of countries or communities across the world to show the global nature of Christ’s body.
  • Healing the body’s hurts Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a computer with Internet access connected to a data project or television and video “Can You Be Like Anti-Racist Baby?” Re-read verse 26. Ask the children what they think Paul means when he writes that the whole body (church) suffers if one part of it suffers. Ask the children to think about the global church—all of the people of God across the world. What hurts are people suffering from? Note that some of the hurts in the world are caused by racism. Ask the children to share their understanding of the word racism. Show the video. Have the children reflect on how the actions described in the video can help heal the hurts caused by racism.

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