Friday, May 1, 2009

Sunday School - the law and sacrifices (1) God's rescue

I'm leading Sunday School again this term. I've chosen a really easy topic this time (hah!): the Old Testament law and sacrificial system.

My kids know their early Bible stories - Noah, Joseph and all that - but they're very hazy when it comes to the law and sacrifices. So I came up with the bright idea of doing this topic in Sunday School.

I've discovered that the law is spread across 4 Bible books: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. If you're anything like me, when you try to read the whole Bible you get stuck somewhere in Leviticus (long repetitive lists of laws) or Numbers (ditto plus long lists of names and numbers). Let's just say that these don't immediately strike you as the most riveting books of the Bible.

(Here's a hint: next time you read Leviticus and Numbers, read them quickly, 5 or so chapters a day, and read Hebrews at the same time. I've been reading them like this, and have found them fascinating!)

I've found that there's very little useful Sunday School material on the law and sacrifices. I bought a book on the tabernacle with some useful charts and pictures, but it uses typology in what seems to me a pretty unbiblical way (the show-bread is Jesus, the bread of life; the lampstand is Jesus, the light of the world; etc.) so I won't be using this book much. Any online teaching material on the tabernacle is along these lines.

Instead, I've chosen some central themes which I'll teach and use to show how Jesus fulfils the law: rescue, law, clean & unclean, tabernacle, sacrifices, priests, high priest, and covenant.

I started last Sunday with an overview of God's rescue of his people from Egypt. You can't understand the law without seeing its roots firmly in God's grace. So, to give the kids some background, and to show them that grace came before law, I told them the story of the exodus.

I printed out about 30 Bible colouring pages from the internet, and got the kids to put them in order and stick them together in a long line. They went into our cardboard "television" (which you might remember from Ruth) and the kids "watched" the TV while I told the story of God's people, from Abraham

to Mount Sinai.

Instead of doing separate crafts, each child will make a book this term, to take home so they can remember what they've learned. The books will be made up of 9 colour-coded pages, one for each week, and we'll put them together at the end of term.

At the top of each page is a question: "How does God rescue us? How does God want us to live? How can God forgive us?". On the left-hand side ("Then") is a picture and Bible verse showing how the Old Testament answers the question. On the right-hand side ("Now") is a picture and Bible verse showing how the New Testament answers the question. There'll be a pop-up cross in the centre of every page to show that Jesus' death and resurrection is the event which moves us from "then" to "now". Here's our first page:

It should be a fun term! We're going to build a tabernacle model, re-enact a sacrifice (in non-bloody form with a soft toy!), and use maps, models, and pictures. I'll keep you posted.

image of Abraham is from trinitytimes, imagesof Moses are from sermons4kids and FAA


Anonymous said...

Hi Jean,

This looks fantastic! Love the pop-up cross linking old and new....positively inspired!

In case you haven't seen them, the Nancy Ganz Herein is Love series (so far on Gen, Ex, Lev and I think Numbers) is a great commentary series for kids. She makes some fantastic links and has some good activity ideas too. Too late for this series, I imagine, but in the future great for reading with your kids to expand on what you learn here.

Thanks for sharing your ideas! Hope you have a great term.


Jean said...

Thanks, Jo.

The local Christian bookshop has one of those Herein is Love books on Leviticus, so I'll get hold of it. Thanks heaps for the tip!


Jean said...

And the pop-up cross was inspired - in style, not in content! - by a book called "Making books" by Paul Johnson. We've used this lots in Sunday School for designing the books we make - like this one.

Anna said...

It looks wonderful, Jean. I would love to see the others as they happen.
May God bless it to little hearts.

Jean said...

Thanks, Anna, I pray the same.

Jess said...

Hi Jean,
I was very encouraged by the thought, time and wisdom you are putting into teaching the kids in your Sunday school. The kids are very blessed to have you teaching them.
I am amazed at the wisdom of your teaching ideas and your creativity in activities. I was especially excited to see that you taught that grace came before the law. What a great thing to cover! I wouldn't have thought of including that.
I thank God for your work at Scots and I pray that the kids will know our great God much better through your lessons.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the other book with the arches that you made for Proverbs. Fantastic!! It's brilliant when good teaching can be cheaply but impressively backed up with a great activity. Making Books sounds like a great resource.

Jean said...

Thanks, Jess. Is that Jess G?