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With God’s Help (Moses 1)

June 22, 2010

This is the first lesson on Moses and the burning bush.  It is also, in my opinion, the most important lesson of the series.  If you are only going to do one of them – make it this one.  It addresses the role of people as God’s agents for achieving justice, scaled to the social world of children.  Depending on your context, you may need to adjust the parameters of that social world.

I would greatly appreciate feedback on this lesson plan.  The activity it offers is a really fun theatre game that I have used in a range of settings but I’m curious as to what you think.  Does it feel too complicated/difficult/intimidating for you, your teachers, or your students?  Do you think you can make it work with younger students (say, 6-8 year olds)?  Would you be prepared to give it a try or do you need an alternative activity for this lesson?  Please let me know!


With God’s Help

Before the Lesson

  • Familiarize yourself with the rules of the activity.


Open with prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Today’s story comes from the Hebrew Bible (or the Old Testament, if you prefer). This is the holy book of Jewish religion and it is the bible that Jesus (who was a Jew) would have known, too. It tells us about God’s relationship with the people of Israel (called Israelites) – stories that happened long, long ago, before even Jesus’ birth. These are still important stories for us because they tell us lots of important things about God and the way God wants people to live.

In this story, we will hear about a man named Moses. Does anyone know about Moses? He was an Israelite who was raised by an Egyptian princess during a time when most Israelites in Egypt were slaves. Who can tell me what a slave is? (a person who doesn’t get paid for working; a person who is owned by another person) When Moses grew up, he ran away from Egypt. Eventually, he got married and he stayed in his wife’s country and worked for her father. He did not want to go back to Egypt.

Our story begins while Moses is at work.

Read the Story

Moses was taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep, taking them to places with lots of grass and fresh water. He took them up a mountain called Horeb, the mountain of God. While he was there, he saw the strangest thing – a bush was on fire but it was not getting burned up! It just kept blazing with the flames!

Moses said to himself, “I have to take a closer look and see why this bush isn’t being burned up”. When the Lord saw that Moses had come closer to the bush, he called to him, “Moses, Moses!” Moses answered, “Here I am!” Then the Lord said, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals because you are standing on holy ground” .” Moses did as he was told, amazed at what was happening.

The Lord continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Once Moses realized who he was talking to, he hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Then God said to him, “I have seen how miserable my people, the Israelites, are in Egypt. I have heard them cry and I know that they are suffering. I have come to save them from slavery in Egypt and take them to a new and beautiful land where they can be safe and happy and where they will not be oppressed. I will send you to Pharoah, the king of Egypt, and you will bring my people out of his country.”

But Moses said, “But I am nobody special. Why would Pharoah listen to me? How am I supposed to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God answered him, “I will be with you and when you and the Israelites have come out of Egypt you will worship me on this mountain.”

(Exodus 3:1-12)

Discussion

What did God tell Moses to do?

Why did God want Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?

How did Moses feel about that?

Have you ever had a time when you knew the right thing to do but you didn’t want to because it was too scary or too hard or too embarrassing?

If necessary, offer examples like confessing to doing something wrong or walking away from a fight or standing up for someone who was being teased.

If you didn’t do what you knew you should, how did you feel?

If you did do it, how did you feel?

What did God tell Moses after Moses told him how he felt?

What do you think Moses will do? (after the kids make their guesses, tell them that Moses did go back to Egypt and bring the Israelites out but that it took a very long time and was a very difficult and dangerous job, even with God’s help)

Introduce the Activity

Today we are going to practice doing difficult things with God’s help. To start, I need two volunteers to come to the front.

Bring the two students up.

I am going to give you a situation and I want you to act it out. After a little while, I will call “Help!”. Freeze right where you are. Then someone else will replace one of you and show us how God might help us to deal with the situation. Okay?

(If you only have two students you can simple have one of the actors switch their behaviour after you call Help. If you have a lot of students who are too young to manage the acting, they can simply provide directions as to how the actors should change their behaviour. If necessary, you can be an actor – be sure to ham it up!)

Play the Game

Sample Situations:

  • two kids fighting over a toy
  • a parent asking a kid if he/she broke the window (the kid did it)
  • two people making fun of someone (perhaps you, the teacher, or perhaps someone who is only imaginary)
  • one person trying to start a fight with the other
  • a person ignoring someone who is asking for help
  • a person seeing someone throw a food wrapper on the sidewalk

Note: there may be more than one set of responses to these situations (e.g. simply throwing away the food wrapper for the litterbug and politely confronting the litterbug could both be good alternatives to ignoring it or screaming at the litterbug). Feel free to provide the group with multiple rounds with the same situations, if they would like or you think it would be useful.

Regrouping

Give everyone a round of applause. Then ask everyone to think about something they will try to do next week that might be difficult to do. They can share their ideas or not, as they choose.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for helping Moses bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Thank you for caring about how people are treated and how we live our lives. Help us remember that you are with us and that you will help us do what is right. Amen.

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