Justice Journey 2021 || April || Module 3 || Identity With God and Each Other

The following adapts and excerpts “Justice Journey for Kids” — a curriculum created by the Evangelical Covenant Church (available at: covchurch.org/justicejourney) — to be used as part of FirstPresKids Worship@Home while FirstPres Hayward continues to gather virtually. Any excerpts are in italics.

Each month of this 8-module curriculum will focus on a main theme that will be explored here, on an accompanying YouTube playlist and supported by our weekly Sunday 10am #FPKLIVE gatherings as well as monthly Storytime and StudioTime gatherings. Click here for more info.

Image: green and magenta hyper-colorized illustration of children playing in a stained-glass window style. Text: FirstPresKids Justice Journey 2021: April; Theme: Our Identity With God + Each Other; Focus: We belong to God! We belong to each other!; Weekly Lessons: We Belong Together (Easter Sunday), Made in God’s Image, Appreciating Diversity, Treating + Valuing Everyone Equally

Justice Journey, Part 3: We belong to God! We belong to each other!

This video has been created to be used with the weekly virtual lesson plans below. It is a Biblically based anti-racist and social justice curriculum that has eight learning modules. This video will cover one module and its themes. You can watch the video all at once or pause between scenes and use parts of the video with each lesson.

Week 1: We Belong Together (Easter Sunday)

Key Point:

If sin or brokenness is what separates us from God and each other, the opposite is Togetherness. Jesus, God with Skin On, came not to save us from sin or ourselves, but to heal us from brokenness, to put us back Together, bring us back to our whole selves just as God created us — complete and living in a community of Shalom and Togetherness. On Easter we celebrate Jesus’ life, his teachings, his death and sacrifice that show us the Jesus Way of living, and the story of the way he defeated death, showing us a new way of life is possible.

Key Words:

  • BROKENNESS: Separation, something that is no longer whole or complete, something divided and different from what God wants.
  • SIN: anything that is against God’s will.

Scripture:

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

  • If sin is something that separates us from God and each other, the opposite of sin is something that brings us together. What are things that bring us together?
  • What is healing? Tell about a time you had an injury or felt broken. How did you heal?
  • Tell about a time something was broken between you and someone else. How did you heal?
  • What are ways that Jesus helps us heal (ourselves or our relationships)?What stories do you know about Jesus where he shows us how to join Together?
  • Jesus interrupts our sadness and brokenness. Do you sometimes feel sad or broken? It is okay to feel this way, but sometimes when people feel this way, they sin and create more brokenness. Tell about a time you or you saw someone “make it worse” and create more brokenness from their broken feelings. What are things you can do with your broken feelings instead of hurting others?
  • Where is the last place you saw or experienced Jesus’ love, healing?
  • How does Jesus interrupt your brokenness? Do you ever ignore Jesus?

Play/Do:

  • Magnets push apart and pull together depending on which end and what materials you use. What pushes us apart? What pulls us together? Experiment with magnets or make these DIY magnet toys.

Art/Create:

  • Use cardboard, a cereal box or popsicle sticks like in this tutorial to make your own puzzle. We belong to God, we belong to each other and we belong TOGETHER — just like pieces of a puzzle!

Prayer:

Thank you, God, for making each one of us different. We know that our human fear of differences has caused people throughout history and today to hurt others. We thank you for Jesus who came to show us his Way, to show us how to heal ourselves and our world from our brokenness, to bring God’s Shalom. We know that sin is anything we do that separates us from God, from God’s children, our siblings, our family across the earth. Help us to love others as God loves them, as God loves us and to counteract sin with healing and Togetherness using Jesus as our guide. Amen.

Week 2: Made in God’s Image

Key Point:

God has made us unique and distinct from one another for [God’s] good and perfect purposes.

Key Word:

  • DIVERSITY: Variety, difference. God made a variety of people, plants, animals, and planets and called them good.
  • INJUSTICE: WHEN THINGS ARE NOT THE WAY GOD INTENDS. When something is unfair, resulting from privilege or the sin of selfishness, or oppression.
  • OPPRESSION: Unjust treatment or control of others through unfair systems of laws.
  • PRIVILEGE: An unfair advantage available to some people but not to other people.
  • RACE: Shared common physical characteristics.
  • GENDER: is something adults came up with to sort people into groups. Many people think there are only two genders, girls and boys, but this is not true. There are many ways to be a boy, a girl, both or neither.
  • DISABILITY: a physical or mental condition that makes it difficult or impossible for a person to walk, see, hear, speak, learn, or do other important things. Some disabilities are permanent, or last forever. Others are temporary, or last for only a short time. Some disabilities are visible and some are invisible. A disability can be something a person was born with on not.

Scripture:

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

  • Who created us and how? Let’s first talk about the verses in Genesis. What do they say about God? (God created us, God provides for us, God loves us.)
  • Who is made in God’s image? (Women, men, people of all genders, kids, every race, ethnicity, immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities are all equally made in God’s image.) Each of us are equally made in God’s image. […] You are made in God’s image. […] We are all so different, so unique, and yet we are each equally made in God’s image. Every single human being on earth — that is nearly seven and a half billion people — is equally made in the image of God. This is a mystery, but somehow part of what it means to be a human being is that all of us together reflect who God is in a special and unique way.
  • From Psalm 139, Who has made you so wonderfully? Nothing about you is a mistake.
  • People have a special spiritual relationship with God. What are some ways you can think of that we can relate or communicate with God? What are some ways God communicates and relates with us? (Prayer, God’s word, Jesus, the Holy Spirit)
  • God creates and we can create. What are some things God has created? What can we create?
  • God’s creation is diverse. That means that God made us all different on purpose and called it good. We are different individually and as races. And just as God loves each of us who are different, we are supposed to love those who are different from us. How can we love those who are different from us?
  • We receive love from God and can give love to God and others. What are some ways we know God loves us? What are some ways we love God and others?
  • We have free choice. Because God loves us, we can choose to do what God would want us to do, or we can choose to disobey God. God gives us the responsibility of helping to make things right. We won’t always make the right choice, but God wants us to notice injustice and help to make it right. What should we do [i]f we discover we have an advantage over someone else? What do you think God would want us to do in these situations?
  1. I have plenty of food but there are others who don’t have enough?
  2. I’m never made fun of for my skin color, features, or culture but how should I respond when I hear or see someone else being made fun of for these things?
  • In John 15:12 Jesus says we should love one another, who do you think the one another is? And how should we show them they are loved by God
  • What does it look like when we choose God’s way? What does it look like when we choose not to follow God?

Play/Do:

  • Practice being a reflection of the God in each other while playing this mirror game:

Art/Create:

  • With a family member or someone on zoom, see the reflection of God in others and make a “no look” contour drawing portrait using this tutorial:

Prayer:

Thank you, God, for making each one of us different. Thank you for loving us and choosing to make us and all people throughout the world. Help us to love those who are different from us and to celebrate and rejoice that we are all different because this is the way you made us.

Week 3: Appreciating Diversity

Key Point:

Appreciating the diversity of God’s people.

Key Words:

  • CULTURE: The food language, arts, games, traditions and practices of people groups all around the world.
  • DIVERSITY: Variety, difference. God made a variety of people, plants, animals, and planets and called them good.
  • ETHNICITY: Belonging to a group with a common cultural tradition.
  • RACE: Shared common physical characteristics.

Scripture:

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

  • In the Bible story, two people groups lived near each other (Samaritans and Jews) but they were not equally cared for. Jews would have never spoken to Samaritans. In addition the Samaritan woman was overlooked and disliked by her own people. Why did Jesus talk to the woman? Why didn’t he care that she was a Samaritan or had many husbands?
  • What does it show about God’s love and plan that a disliked, Samaritan woman spread news about Jesus?
  • Jesus offered the woman “living water” — what do you think that means? Though we were all created differently and on purpose, one thing we share is that God loves us. We belong to God. And because we belong to God, we also belong to and with each other — regardless of our differences. How can we be like Jesus at the well?
  • How are the children in Whoever You Are by Mem Fox similar or different from you?
  • Who do you belong to? What is your background? What is your favorite thing to do? How are you the same or different from your friends?
  • Name some countries, races, ethnicities, cultures you know of. Does everyone speak the same language, look the same, have the same culture?
  • Why do you think God made different races, ethnicities and cultures?
  • Do you think God likes only one kind of music, clothing, dance, food?
  • What is the story Separate in Never equal about? How do you think Jesus was feeling when Sylvia was not allowed in the school? How was Sylvia brave? If we see an in justice like this how should we respond?

Play/Do:

  • Interview your friends and family. Make a list of all the things they like/like to do. Technology: make a word cloud that shows all the info you collected:

Art/Create:

  • Think about the parts of you and your identity that people can see and the parts that other people can’t. Use the “iceberg model” to draw your or your family’s “identity iceberg”:

Prayer:

Jesus, help us to remember the beauty that comes from our differences and the unity that comes as we love one another because your love is stronger than any force that might seek to divide us and destroy our unity, our identity with you and with each other.

Week 4: Treating + Valuing Everyone Equally

Key Point:

God made, loves, and values everyone equally, and God calls us to love each other. We belong to God and we belong to each other!

Key Word:

  • ETHNICITY: Belonging to a group with a common cultural tradition.
  • INJUSTICE: When things are not the way God intends. When something is unfair, resulting from privilege or the sin of selfishness or oppression.
  • OPPRESSION: When people are harmed by injustice and hurt by unfair systems and laws.
  • PREJUDICE: Not knowing a person but mistreating them and believing things about them because of the color of their skin, gender, ethnicity, or where they are from.

Scripture:

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

For the scripture video:

  • In the story of The Good Samaritan: Who was not a neighbor? Why? Who was a neighbor? Why?
  • Are there times when we leave someone out when we are playing at school? Why?
  • Do you think Jesus loves all of us, no matter what we look like or where we are from?
  • WHO WAS THE NEIGHBOR IN THIS STORY? What does it mean to be a neighbor according to Jesus?

For the Wonder video:

  • What were some of the initial responses the kids had to Auggie when they first saw him? Many of the kids stared at him, or whispered to one another, right? Some even stepped away from him and put distance between themselves and him. How do you think that made him feel?
  • Imagine you were at the school that day, and you are seeing Auggie for the first time. How could you have acted differently from the kids at Auggie’s school? How could you have shown that you know Auggie is made in God’s image, just like you?
  • Let’s think about our own context. Think about your school, your activities, your neighborhood, your family. Is there anyone you can think of who might be treated differently by other people than they should be? Maybe, like Auggie, they are being ignored or teased, or people keep their distance for some reason. Take a moment to think about that person. [… what is] one thing you can do to treat that person as God might want you to?
  • What does it look like to love God with our whole heart, and love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves?

For When We Were Alone and Show Way:

  • What was the situation? Who was treated poorly? How were they treated poorly?
  • Do you think the Indigenous children sent to residential schools/the enslaved African and Black women were able to fully use their creativity and gifts? Who misses out when a person is not able to develop and share their giftedness? How do you think God feels when we treat his children this way?
  • What are your thoughts or questions if you have first nation or enslaved ancestors?
  • What do you think God would want us to do?
  • What are some ways you would like people to treat you? When someone hurts you does it help when they apologize? How might we apologize if our ancestors enslaved people or took away their land?

Play/Do:

Art/Create:

  • Together with your family or friends in a pod, get large pieces of paper and make a mural. Write out the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12: “do to others what you would have them do to you”) and decorate like in the example below. Or make a mural that says “BELONG,” “TOGETHER,” or any other word or phrase that stood out to you this month.

Prayer:

God, help us to learn and appreciate the diversity of those around us. Help us to always value people as made in your image and when we see someone who is being treated unjustly because of their race, culture, ethnicity, religion or any difference — remind us to speak up and take action as an act of love. Help us, Lord, to be a neighbor like the good Samaritan because we all belong to you, we all belong to each other. Amen.

Written by Lauren Gibbs-Beadle @firstpreskidshayward Children’s Ministries @firstpreshayward | educator, creative, parent | she/her