Justice Journey 2021 || May || Module 4 || From Brokenness to Reconciliation

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.

While we are not gathering in person, 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.

Justice Journey, Part 4: We Can Be Whole

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. Individual segments are also posted below with each lesson.

Week 1: Brokenness

Key Point:

God created the world and called it good. But we know that sin has broken that good creation, resulting in selfishness, greed, fear, unfairness, and behavior that hurts others. Our relationships are broken, but sometimes we don’t recognize the hurt that is all around us.

Key Words:

  • BROKENNESS: Separation, something that is no longer whole or complete, something divided and different from what God wants.
  • RECONCILIATION: Working to bring back or restore relationships that are broken.
  • RESTORATION: Making something right. Returning something to the way God intends it to be.

Scripture:

Mark 10:13–16

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

For the scripture…

  • Who was trying to break the relationship between the children and Jesus?
  • Was that what Jesus wanted?
  • Do you think Jesus wants us to keep others out of our group, or invite them in? Why?

For Dreamers by Yuri Morales

  • What are your thoughts about this story?
  • What would it be like to learn a new language?
  • Can everyone have dreams?
  • What can we learn from each other?
  • What could we loose if we choose to keep people out instead of inviting them in?
  • Do you think God wants us all separated or do you think God want’s us to be together? Why?

For Kintsugi

  • What can kintsugi teach us about responding to and restoring brokenness (our own, our relationship with God, broken relationships with others)?

Play/Do:

  • With a few others, make a web of connection. Move it up and down. Try to keep a beach ball up with it. Think about:
    - What were we able to do together?
    - What’s hard about being connected as one group?
    - What is good about all being a part of the group?
    - How would you have felt being left out?
    - What happened to the web when the first person let go of the yarn? How does that illustrate what happens when people are excluded from a community?
    - As more people dropped the yarn, what happened to the web? How did this affect its usefulness (or playfulness)?

Create/Make:

  • Make a paper mosaic (a little like kintsugi) from upcycled materials

Prayer:

Jesus, thank you for coming to heal our broken relationships with you and with each other. We confess that we don’t always notice what is broken or that we are the cause of the damage. Help us to notice. Help us to be strong enough to speak up and include people who are left out. Help us to be strong enough to reach out even when we are the ones being left out. Thank you, Jesus, that we can count on you loving us and being with us in the midst of brokenness. Amen.

Week 2: Right Relationship with God

Key Point:

We are called to join Jesus in fixing what is broken together. We celebrate what is good and face what is broken. Reconciliation is about making relationships right. It is about being made right with God (and being in right relationship with the people around us.) Reconciliation is also about working to fix or rebuild good things that are broken. It involves how we feel, think, and act toward others and what kind of relationships we have.

Key Words:

  • BROKENNESS: Separation, something that is no longer whole or complete, something divided and different from what God wants.
  • JUSTICE: Restoring things back the to the way God wants them. This includes fixing broken relationships, laws, and systems that come from sin and that keep all people from enjoying the peace God created for all to enjoy.
  • OPPRESSION: When people are harmed by injustice and hurt by unfair systems and laws.
  • PRIVILEGE: An unfair advantage available to some people but not to other people.
  • RECONCILIATION: Working to bring back or restore relationships that are broken.
  • SIN: Anything that is against God’s will.

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 5:17–20

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to be a “new creation”?
  • What are some examples of when our relationship with God is broken?
  • What is reconciliation?
  • Catholics confess to a priest because they think it is important to speak aloud the ways we are broken or cause brokenness. Name ways you have broken your relationship with God, done things your way instead of God’s way? What are things you can do to reconcile or make things right with God?

Play/Do:

Create/Make:

  • Make a chemical mixture to make a “new substance” (kitchen chemical changes that can’t be undone!) — watch this then choose your favorite recipe to make.

Prayer:

We will be a new creation, living our lives for and with Jesus. Jesus lived for others, cared for others, helped and healed others. Jesus worshiped God in the temple, out in nature, and with his family and friends. Jesus fed people and prayed for them. Jesus cared about people’s bodies and relationships, and healed people and helped them think about generosity, kindness, and hospitality. Help us to do the same so that we can be in right relationship with you. Amen.

Week 3: Right Relationship With Others

Key Point:

We are called to join Jesus in fixing what is broken together. We celebrate what is good and face what is broken. Reconciliation is about making relationships right. It is about (being made right with God) and being in right relationship with the people around us. Reconciliation is also about working to fix or rebuild good things that are broken. It involves how we feel, think, and act toward others and what kind of relationships we have.

Key Words:

  • BROKENNESS: Separation, something that is no longer whole or complete, something divided and different from what God wants.
  • JUSTICE: Restoring things back the to the way God wants them. This includes fixing broken relationships, laws, and systems that come from sin and that keep all people from enjoying the peace God created for all to enjoy.
  • OPPRESSION: When people are harmed by injustice and hurt by unfair systems and laws. PRIVILEGE: An unfair advantage available to some people but not to other people.
  • RECONCILIATION: Working to bring back or restore relationships that are broken.
  • SIN: Anything that is against God’s will.

Scripture:

Jonah 3:2–5,10; 4:1–4

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

  • In the scripture, there is God, Jonah and the Ninevites… how did each feel?
  • Did Jonah like the Ninevites?
  • How did Jonah respond when God asked Jonah to help make the relationship right?
  • What do we learn about how God wants us to reconcile our broken relationships from the story?
  • Our world experiences much brokenness. Some things are not right about how we live. What are some ways you see brokenness in your community and the world? (homelessness, hard things at schools, bullying, people are mistreated because of their gender and race, people are mistreated because they are immigrants or refugees, kids are mistreated because they have a disability, people not getting jobs, jail/detention center/mass incarceration, unfair laws, hunger/lack of access to good food, not everyone gets the medicine and medical help they need, kids can’t live with their parents or are in foster care, sickness, etc.)
  • We know that God is at work fixing what is broken, and God uses the Church to help bring love and healing to the world. This is God’s work of reconciliation. God is making all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and God invites us to be partners in fixing what is broken. What can we do restore what is broken?
  • How could your respond in a Christ-centered way to these scenarios:
    - You got into a fight with your friend because you hurt each other’s feelings yesterday about your art projects. What can you do?
    - A classmate’s parent has to work and there is no one else home. What can you do?
    - You heard some kids at the lunch table making fun of the lunch your friend brought to school. What can you do?
    - Your neighborhood has a mini-mart on the corner and fast-food restaurants, but the nearest grocery story with fresh fruits and veggies is several miles away. Some neighbors want to plant a vegetable garden, but some other neighbors don’t like the idea. What can you do?
    - The weather is getting colder, and you get out your winter clothing. You notice that some people who are homeless in your neighborhood are wet and cold. What can you do?
    - Your parents tell you that your church is hosting a refugee family. What can you do?
  • When we see brokenness, or things that are not right in the world, we can name it. But what do we do next?
  • What does it mean to be “salt and light”?

Play/Do:

Create/Make:

  • Sometimes it is right to lament, or pray and talk to God about the thing that makes us sad and hurt our neighbors. King David did that in the psalms a lot. Lament psalms were written to cry out to God about oppression, injustice, and things that are not right, but they always ended with a praise for who God is. Psalms and songs of lament help us move from hopelessness to hope or from sadness to joy. Write a psalm of lament.

Prayer:

Thank you, God, for creating a diverse world. We are thankful that each of us is unique. When we see one group of people hurt others, we feel sad and angry. Forgive us, God, when we do the same thing. Help us to mend the brokenness among people. When see something that is broken and unfair, give us the strength to speak up and take action to help restore the world as you made it to be. Amen.

Week 4: Judging Others

Key Point:

It is not our job to judge others. Jesus says we should first think about and change our own faults and then lovingly reach out to others.

Key Words:

  • BROKENNESS: Separation, something that is no longer whole or complete, something divided and different from what God wants.
  • RECONCILIATION: Working to bring back or restore relationships that are broken.
  • RESTORATION: Making something right. Returning something to the way God intends it to be.

Scripture:

Luke 6:37-38; 41–42

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some ways we “judge” others?
  • Why is it not okay to judge others who don’t look like us or act like us?
  • Have you been judged by others?
  • What does it mean to forgive? Have you forgiven or been forgiven?
  • What are some faults we have that could hurt others? Does Jesus forgive us for our faults?
  • Does Jesus want us to keep doing the same things or does Jesus want us to care for others?

Play/Do:

  • In one moment your brain takes in 11 million pieces of information but can only process 40 — so to survive we make a lot of guesses, assumptions and judgements. It is “natural” but we need to be aware and train our brains not to accept or react to our judgements. Practice not reacting to these funny videos!

Create/Make:

  • Don’t let your eyes be the judge! Create this optical illusion to remind you that what you see, what your brain jumps to is not always the truth:

Prayer:

Thank you God for sending your son Jesus to earth to teach us how to live. Jesus, thank you for both modeling and telling stories that teach us how to help others in need and how to live in ways that show love and justice for others. Please help us find ways to serve others who are in need and to teach and show our church, family, and friends how to live a better life together. Amen

Week 5: Whole (Not Perfect)

Key Point:

We will never be perfect even though we live in a world that tells us we can or should be. Perfection is not what God expects from us. God wants us to feel whole, complete and good just as we were created. As we grow on this earth, with other humans, we experience brokenness — ours, others. Wholeness is not never hurting others or never getting hurt. Wholeness is the journey of always seeking to learn, do better, balance and heal — in our words, our actions, our relationship with God and with each other.

Key Words:

  • BROKENNESS: Separation, something that is no longer whole or complete, something divided and different from what God wants.
  • RECONCILIATION: Working to bring back or restore relationships that are broken.
  • RESTORATION: Making something right. Returning something to the way God intends it to be.

Scripture:

Philippians 2:1–11

Digital Resources:

Discussion Questions:

  • What is perfectionism? Where do you think we hear messages about being perfect? Who wants us to be/tells us we can be perfect? Why?
  • What does the scripture tell us about how to “complete” God’s desires for us and our relationship with others on our journey? Does it involve competition or perfection to be complete? What can we do on our journey to wholeness?
  • What are the two ideas behind kintsugi?
  • How is kintsugi like what God wants for us?
  • For The Harmony Tree:
    -
    Who am I in this story? Am I Grandmother Oak? Am I one of the new trees or houses?
    - What can I learn from the place I find myself in the story?
    - What does this story teach us about healing and our journey to reconciliation and wholeness?
  • How could self-care and community care lead to healing our own brokenness, returning to a right relationship with God and with each other (structural care)?

Play/Do:

  • Perfectionism sets us up for competition against each other, but if our goal is wholeness then it means we will need to work together. Try one of these cooperative active games:

Create/Make:

  • Instead of throwing out clothing, find a way to mend it, make it whole again!
  • Or do an upcycle project:

Prayer:

God, thank you for being with us on our journey as we constantly move from brokenness to wholeness, from pain, hurt to healing and reconciliation. Help us to move away from the illusion of perfection that people, companies, society tells us is possible — in order to make us feel bad about ourselves, take our money, put and keep others down so that some may rise to the top. God you created us good and on purpose, wonderfully and whole. Remind us of your good creation and how we can return to it every day, every moment — in our words and actions, through following Jesus’ teachings, through seeking healing and a right relationship with you, with each other and with all creation. Amen.

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