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Bible passage: 1 Corinthians 13
Background: This well-known passage about love comes from a place of conflict. Paul was appalled by the lack of love those in the Corinthian Church were showing each other and felt the need to spell out exactly what being a loving community means. The children in our groups are learning how to be together: how to share, how to consider the feelings of others and how to take into account their needs. In exploring this passage we’re emphasising the fact that we should love others because God first loved us.
Welcome the children to your circle, by name if you can. Save your refreshments for ‘Bible story’, but chat together about what you have experienced this week. Share any stories from your own life, as appropriate. Ask the children when they thought about the feelings of others this week. Have an appropriate story from your own life to get the ball rolling.
You will need: simple, age-appropriate games
Before the session, choose some games that will involve the children taking turns or sharing. There are many simple board games that would be appropriate.
Show the children the games you have brought and choose some to play. Enjoy playing them together, and as you do so try to catch the children being considerate, sharing and taking turns well. Compliment them on showing love to each other.
At the end, congratulate the winners and commend everyone for playing well.
You will need: cushions; blankets or rugs; refreshments; a child-friendly Bible translation
Work together to create a storytelling space with the blankets, rugs and cushions. When you are happy with what you have made, sit in your space and share out your refreshments. Go on to tell this story:
Once there were two friends, Olivia and Noah. Olivia and Noah lived next door to each other. They loved playing hide and seek and baking cakes together.
One day, Olivia and Noah were at Olivia’s house. They were playing with Noah’s teddies. Noah had a favourite teddy called Fluff. He’d had Fluff ever since he was born. They had set up all their teddies around a blanket and were enjoying a picnic together, like we are today!
Olivia was about to give Fluff a cup of tea when Noah shouted: “No!” Olivia was surprised as Noah didn’t usually shout at her. Before she could do anything else, Noah rushed over and snatched Fluff away. “I’m going to feed Fluff. He’s mine!” Noah said.
Olivia was upset. She started to cry, but then she got angry. “I don’t want to play with your teddies any more,” she shouted. “They’re stupid. My teddies are much better than yours!”
“Go and play with your teddies, then,” Noah said. He ran around the picnic blanket, picking up all his teddies. Olivia went up to him and kicked him. Noah cried out in pain. They were both crying now.
Noah’s daddy came into the room: “What’s going on in here?” he asked them both.
Once you have finished the story, ask the children what the two friends did wrong. What would they say to Noah’s daddy about what happened? After they have told you what they think, ask the group if Olivia and Noah love each other.
Explain to the children that Paul, a friend of Jesus, wrote about what it means to love each other. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to the group. Ask the children if Noah and Olivia followed Paul’s advice.
Ask the children these questions, giving everyone a chance to answer if they would like to. Try not to guide the children’s answers too much or to say that one answer is right and is another wrong. Let the children draw their own conclusions on how to love each other as God loves them.
- How do you show other people you love them?
- Have you ever fallen out with a friend? How did you sort things out?
- How does it feel when someone is mean to you?
- How can you show other people you love them this week?
- How can you show people that God loves them?
You will need: large sheets of paper; art materials; cover-up and clean-up equipment
Give out the large sheets of paper and show the children the art materials (if you have the time and space to use paint, make the effort to do so). Encourage the group to draw or paint their response to the story and the Bible passage. This could be a picture of them playing with their friends, helping a family member or sharing something with someone who is in need. Only give the group suggestions if they are struggling to think about what to create.
Draw your own picture and chat about what the children are creating as you all work. Once you have finished, let the children tell you about their pictures if they would like to. Chat about how easy it is to love people. Sometimes it’s easy to love people when they are being nice to you, but not when they’re being horrible.
Sit the children down in the storytelling space you made for ‘Bible story’ and ask them to think about a time when they haven’t loved others as God loves them. Leave a pause where you are all silent for as long as the children can manage (this might not be long, but that’s fine), then say sorry to God for not loving that person and ask him to help you put things right.
Ask the group to think about how they can love others this week. When can they share? Where can they support others? How can they be patient? Ask God to help you all love others more.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
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