You Can’t Do that in Sunday School

I’ve been meaning to write about Palm Sunday for so long now, but it got away from me.

I co-taught in 4-6th grade that weekend, with Curtis and our friend Diana.

It was your typical Palm Sunday fare–global justice and the power of prayer, complete with sections on child soldiers, bonded slavery, and domestic violence.

You know, the usual.

We wanted to take the kids deeper in their understanding of Christ as King, to help them recognize what God’s kingdom looks like as well as the gap between God’s will and reality.  So we picked three areas that affect children their age around the world (and in the case of domestic violence, the statistics tell us it’s in that room.)

For each topic, we taught for about five minutes, explaining what the issue was, what God’s will is and how it shows that God’s will is not being done.  Then we gave them time with their leaders to discuss the issue before wrapping up with a prayer activity focused on that issue.

Kids prayed for peace in families while holding seeds, then they planted them, to symbolize how “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” -James 3:18

In response to Amos 5:24 “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” kids wrote prayers for freedom and healing for bonded slaves. They wrote on blue paper, then came up and created a mosaic river of prayers for justice.

After learning Isaiah 14:7, “All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing,” kids picked one country from a map that shows where child soldiers are used. They prayed that verse for the country, then labeled their choice with a dot.

Why not just do branches and cute songs?  Cute kids, cute palms?

Here’s why.

One, when it comes to the brokenness of this world, the kind that makes us feel like there is nothing we can do, we all need to remember that prayer is ‘doing something.’

Two, Diana got up and said what I believe must, must, must be said in Sunday school. She looked our kids in the face and, with clarity and conviction, said,

I know this:  my God, your God, the God of the Bible does not want family members to hurt each other.

Three, because kids are not just ‘the future of the church.’  They are the church; they are kingdom builders in a world where, despite what seems to be evidence to the contrary, Christ really is king.  And when they pray this:

Some of the prayers from the river mosaic.

God hears them.

It is way more captivating to build a kingdom than wave a frond.

One thought on “You Can’t Do that in Sunday School

  1. What a powerful lesson! I am moved and grateful for our children being taught the heart of our God and the power of connecting to Him through prayer about urgent, real matters in this broken world. Blessings as you continue to teach, deliver the Good News, and build a kingdom of Christ followers who know that prayer is “doing something.”

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