Season of the Church Year: Common Time/ “Great Green Growing” Season (green)
Story in Scripture: Psalm 23
This parable, written by David, outlines for us beautiful imagery of the way that God truly loves us. With the children, the story is told in a hands-on, visual way, with the Good Shepherd leading the way to clear clean waters and also through dark places (represented by large black felt shapes). It is very powerful to talk with children about the Good Shepherd’s dedication to every last sheep. During our story telling today, the teacher illuded to a counting of each sheep. When one is found to be missing, the teacher moves the Good Shepherd back through it all, including the dark places, to find the missing or lost sheep. One of the most insightful responses I’ve ever heard from a child was this: After the story was complete and a connection was made between Jesus and the Good Shepherd, a student once exclaimed, “What? That good shepherd was actually Jesus the whole time!!?!?!? Wow!” This story is a fantastic way to bring the glory of God’s care for us into focus for the little ones. With the older children, this story provides an excellent beginning to a conversation about spiritual disciplines (connecting to the structure and boundary of the sheep fold), as well as the guidance of Jesus in their lives- even through places that are dark and confusing- Jesus goes first to lead us through to the other side!
Guiding Questions for Discussion:
I wonder how many sheep really could live in this place?
I wonder if you have ever had to go through places of danger?
I wonder how the sheep feel when they are with the Good Shepherd?
I wonder how the Good Shepherd feels about the sheep?
“Dear Jesus, thank you so much for being our Good Shepherd. You care for us, you guide us, and you protect us. Help me to follow you and stay near your side, no matter if I am in times that are easy or hard. I am so grateful that you are in my life. Amen.”
Looking forward: Next week, we will enjoy a time for musical worship and reflection. After that, we will be entering into a season of learning about Jesus’ early ministry, beginning with the calling of the twelve disciples (Mark 3: 7-19).
Please note: This lesson will be taught to the 4th- 5th grade students on September 18th and to the 1st- 3rd grade students later in the year.