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Creation in our own Backyard (Creation 1)

May 29, 2010

This is the first lesson of three dealing with the story of Creation as told in Genesis 1.  It begins with a brief discussion of why there are two creation stories in the Bible so, if you don’t start with or use this lesson, you may want to refer to it in order to address that question during your first lesson on creation.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • the story is longer than usual BUT it is highly repetitive and has actions so it’s easy to remember for both teachers and students
  • the activity involves going outside and includes an option for doing some yard work as well as one without – or you can do both

Creation in our own Backyard

Open with prayer.(see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Today, we are going to learn about one of the stories the Bible tells us about how God made the world. There are actually two stories about creation in the Bible, one right after the other, and they are actually pretty different. That can be confusing for people who might want to know which one is the right one. Well, they both are because they each teach us important and interesting things about God and God’s plan for the world, including the people. These stories are not science and they are not history– they are not trying to tell us what exactly happened the way a science report describes an experiment or a history book describes an event. These stories are about what the world means and about who God is and who we, as people, are. There are two of them because there are many, many ways to describe the world and God and people. The very wise people responsible for putting them together in the Bible – a long, long, long time ago – gave us two Creation stories to remind us of that.

But we only have a little time so we are going to focus on the first story. But before we begin, who can give me examples of things in creation (or nature, if the kids seem to need a definition)?

Take a few examples

Good. Listen to the story and notice when those different things were created. You can join me in the actions once you catch on to them, too.

Read the Story (actions in italics)

In the beginning, before there was an earth or a sky, a wind from God blew over the waters and everything was dark. Then God said, (raise your arms as in prayer) “Let there be light.” And there was light. And God said, (one thumbs up) “The light is good.” God separated the light from the darkness and he called the light Day and the darkness Night.

And there was evening and morning – the first day.

Then God said, (raise your arms) “Let there be a dome to separate the water. The dome is called Sky.”

And there was a sky. And God said, (one thumbs up) “The sky is good.”

And there was evening and morning – the second day.

Then God said, (raise your arms) “Let the waters under the sky come together and let the dry land appear. The land is called Earth and the water is called Sea.” And there was earth and sea. And God said, (one thumbs up) “The earth and the sea are good.”

Then God said, (raise your arms) “Let the earth produce plants and trees.” And the earth was covered in every kind of plant and tree. And God said, (one thumbs up) “The plants and trees are good.”

And there was evening and morning – the third day.

Then God said, (raise your arms) “Let there be lights in the sky to show the seasons and the days and to give light to the earth.” And God put the sun in the sky to light the day and the moon and stars in the sky to light the night. And God said, (one thumbs up) “The sun and the moon and the stars are good.”

And there was evening and morning – the fourth day.

Then God said, (raise your arms) “Let the seas be full of living creatures and the sky be full of birds.” And there were fish and whales and turtles and eagles and sparrows and pigeons and seagulls and robins and every kind of sea creature and bird. And God said, (one thumbs up) “The sea creatures and the birds are good.” And God blessed them and said, (one hand raised in blessing) “Be healthy and have many babies so that you fill the sea and the sky.”

And there was evening and morning – the fifth day.

The God said, (raise your arms) “Let the earth be full of living creatures.” And there were cows and spiders and elephants and lizards and dogs and tigers and worms and moose and every kind of creature that lives on the land. And God said, (one thumbs up) “The land creatures are good.”

Then God said, (raise your arms) “Let there be people, made in my image, and let them take care of all the creatures in the sea and in the sky and on the land.” And God made people in God`s image. God made them male and female. Then God blessed them and said, (one hand raised in blessing) “Be healthy and have families. Fill the earth and take care of it. I have put you in charge of all the creatures and I have given you all the plants for food. I have given the plants to all the creatures for food.”

Then God looked at everything God had made and said

This is all very good.(two thumbs up)

And there was evening and morning – the sixth day.

God had made everything – the sky and the earth and the sea and all the plants and animals and people – and, on the seventh day, God rested from all the work God had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it a special, holy day for resting and enjoying all the good things that were created.

(Genesis 1:1-2:3)

Discussion

What did you notice in this story?

(e.g. God made stuff just by speaking. God thought it was all good. God got tired. God made people in God’s image.- don’t worry about what they do or do not say at this point)

How did God feel about the things God made? (if that wasn’t emphasized in the previous question’s answers)

What did God make?

Help them remember the list:

  • light
  • sky
  • earth and sea
  • plants
  • sun and moon and stars
  • sea creatures and birds
  • land animals
  • people

Introduce the Activity

We are going to go outside into the wonderful Creation God made. While we’re out there, we are going to:

Option A

take care of God’s good creation by (e.g. picking up all the litter, weeding the garden, planting a tree, etc).

and/or Option B

find examples of each of the things God created. Don’t pick anything or touch any animals – we just want to look at things. When we find an example, we’ll pay attention to it for a moment and then we’ll say thank you to God for God’s good work.

The Activity (Going Outside)

If you have more than about 6 students or if your group is mostly older (10+), divide the group into groups of three or so. Give everyone clear directions regarding boundaries (no crossing roads, no leaving the property, no going out of sight, whatever is appropriate in your setting).

If doing Option B, let the kids take the lead in finding things to pray over and let them do the praying. If they are old enough, teach them a simple prayer of thanksgiving like the following or let younger ones (and quiet older ones) fill in the blanks:

Dear God, Thank you for the good work you did in making (the sun/this tree/etc.). Thank you for the (warmth and light/green leaves and strong trunk/etc.). Amen.

*Note: Don’t forget to pray for the people God created!

If you can, take photos of this time outside and bring the prints back next week to post in the church.

Regrouping (inside or out)

Invite the kids to share what they prayed for and/or what they thought about the work they did. What did they like most? Least? Why?

Closing Prayer

Creator God, Thank you for the goodness of the world you made. Help us to pay attention to your creation every day and help us to always take good care of it. Amen.

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