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Bible passage: Genesis 2:5-25
Background: Genesis 1 gives us the ‘big picture’ version of creation, taking us from nothing to everything in six days. Genesis 2 is a close-up on the making of human beings and their home, the Garden of Eden. It shows us more about how God related to the first people he made, and how they related to each other and their world.
Welcome the children as they arrive, and chat about pets. What pets do they have? What pets would they like? Invite them to share funny stories about the animals they own.
You will need: photographs of strange creatures
Before the session, search online for pictures of strange creatures. Put these into a PowerPoint presentation or print them off.
Show the children the photos and marvel at the weirdness of these creatures. Which ones are their favourites? Chat about human beings. Would an alien race think we are weird? Why?
You will need: a roll of lining paper; felt-tip pens; scissors; masking tape
Sit the children in a circle and tell this story:
When God first made the heavens and the earth, it was as if he was starting with a blank sheet of paper. Roll out a long piece of paper and place it in the middle of the circle.
Nothing had started to grow because there hadn’t been any rain and there were no rivers yet. God took some of the earth and made it into the shape of a man. Fold over the end of the sheet and draw a simple person shape on it. Cut off the whole folded end and cut out the person shape, cutting through both pieces of paper but leaving the hands joined at the fold, as with a paper chain of people.
God breathed life into the man, and he was alive! Hold up the figure, keeping the second one folded behind it, and make it dance.
Then God really got busy. He made a garden full of trees! There were beautiful trees, shady trees, trees with delicious fruit, nuts and berries, and even trees that smelled wonderful. God made them all! Cut off individual lengths of paper from the big roll of lining paper and lead the children in making simple paper trees. Roll each length of paper up into a tube and use masking tape to secure the end. Make long cuts down from the top of the tube to make branches, then some short cuts upwards to make roots. Pull the innermost branches upwards to make the tree grow. Splay out the roots and use masking tape to stick the trees to the roll of lining paper (you may also need to stick the edges of the paper down to the floor or table). Make two large trees yourself and place them in the middle of your paper garden.
This was the Garden of Eden. In the middle of the garden, God made two special trees: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
All these trees needed watering, so God made a river. It flowed into the garden and divided into four great rivers that went on to water whole countries. Invite everyone to draw a big river flowing into the garden and dividing.
Then God took the man he had made and put him in the Garden of Eden to look after it. Lean your paper man against a tree in the middle of the garden.
God said to the man: “You can eat anything you want from any of these trees, apart from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That fruit will kill you.”
Then God said to the man: “You need a partner!” So God created every kind of animal and bird, and they filled the garden. The man named them all. Invite everyone to draw an animal or bird in the garden and write its name.
But the man still hadn’t found a partner, so God put him into a deep sleep. Lie your paper man down.
God took one of the man’s ribs and made it into a woman, then he introduced them both to each other. Unfold the second figure from behind the first and stand them up together, holding hands.
They were both naked, but they weren’t at all embarrassed! They were Adam and Eve.
Ask the children these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute:
- Which part of the story did you most enjoy making?
- What questions would you like to ask God about this story?
- How do you imagine the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil looked?
- I wonder what this story tells us about our relationship with nature.
- What does this story make you think about God?
You will need: visual aids from ‘Bible story’
Invite everyone to draw their favourite creatures in the garden and write the creatures’ name on their drawings. They could also decorate the trees with leaves and fruit. As you fill the garden together, chat about what you love in the natural world.
You will need: long strips of paper; pens and scissors
Talk about how God made everything, including us! His creation is amazing, but we often take it for granted. It’s good for us to stop, look around and praise God for everything he has made.
Demonstrate how to make a paper chain of people and invite everyone to do so. Explain that you are going to write a prayer on each person that praises God for his creation. The prayers could be general (“Wow!”) or specific (“Thank you for cuddles with my cat.”) Allow enough time for everyone to make their people and write their prayers. Add the paper chains to the garden you made earlier.
Read out this Bible verse: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).
Finally, say: “Lord, we praise you for everything you have made.” Encourage the group to shout “Amen!” together.
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