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Painting the Storm (Peter 2)

June 15, 2010

Here is the second lesson on Peter’s walk on the water.  It may seem like this lesson does not “teach” very much (although it does at least hint at the idea that Jesus calms our fears).  The primary lesson, however, is about a way of engaging with scripture that helps us to see ourselves and our experiences inside these sacred stories.  Part of the philosophy of Stories on the Way is that the stories themselves are our teachers – we just need to learn how to listen to them.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • Storms lend themselves to watercolours but crayons or, if necessary, markers will work (pencil crayons are definitely not a great alternative).
  • Be sure you have nice big pieces of paper.  The idea is to give the students scope for the expression of their experience of the story.

Painting the Storm


  • Large pieces of good quality painting/drawing paper
  • paints (ideally) or crayons/markers/pencil crayons
  • newspaper (if necessary for covering work surfaces)
  • tape (for taping down newspaper and, possibly, painting paper)

Before the Lesson

Put large pieces of paper and paints/crayons/markers in easy reach of yourself or in the work area but not where the students will be sitting to listen to the story.

Open with Prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Think of a time when you were really scared. Invite kids to tell their stories.

Last week, we read a story about Jesus’ disciple, Peter, being helped to walk on water and about how Jesus can help us do amazing things. That amazing story happened in the middle of a big storm. Storms can be very scary. Do you think Peter and the disciples were scared?

Have you ever been in a big storm? Maybe even on or near a lake or the ocean? What was is like?

This week, we are going to try really hard to imagine what it was like to be in the boat or on the water when this story happened. While I read it, close your eyes and try to picture the lake. Feel the way the waves are crashing around and the wind is blowing. What temperature is the wind? What temperature is the water? What does it sound like? Is their thunder and lightening? Or is it just really windy?

Ready? Close your eyes.

Read the Story

One evening, after a long day of teaching and working with the crowds who followed him, Jesus sent his disciples off in their boat to cross to the other side of the lake before him while he went for a walk up the mountain. He needed to be alone to think and pray. After a while, he went back to the lake but the boat was already far away from the shore, blown by the wind and the waves. By this time, it was very late at night and Jesus wanted to reach the boat. He started to walk across the water. When the disciples saw him, walking on the waves, they were terrified. “A ghost! A ghost! “ they cried.

Jesus heard them and he said, “Don’t be afraid. It’s just me.”

One of the disciples, named Peter, was still nervous and he wanted to make sure it really was Jesus. He said, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to walk to you on the water.” Jesus answered, “Come on then”.

Peter carefully stepped out of the boat and began to walk to Jesus. He couldn’t believe it! He was walking on water! He looked around but when he saw the wind blowing and the waves crashing he got scared and he started to sink into the cold water. Peter shouted: “Jesus, save me!” Quickly, Jesus reached out and caught him. “Why did you get scared, Peter?” Jesus asked, “Why did you stop believing that it was possible?” Jesus helped Peter back into the boat with the other disciples and the storm stopped and they weren’t afraid anymore.

(Matthew 14:22-33)


What was the storm like?

Be specific about different elements if the kids are slow to answer (Were the waves big? Was there water spraying into the boat? Did the wind whip your hair around? Was it warm or cold? What colour was the lake? What colour were the waves? What sounds could you hear?)

How did it feel to be in that storm? Was it scary?

Were you relieved when Jesus helped Peter and stopped the storm?

Offer to read it again, if they want.


Invite the kids to paint (or colour) the storm they saw, with or without the boat and the people.


Invite the kids to share their paintings.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, sometimes, we get scared. Help us to remember that you are with us even when we are scared. Help us to notice when other people are scared so that we can help them the way that Jesus helped Peter.  Amen.

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