A Camel through the Eye of a Needle
To illustrate Jesus' saying.
by Gill O'Neill
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To illustrate Jesus' saying that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Preparation and materials
- You will need three PE hoops of different sizes, and a needle threaded with cotton, preferably out of sight of the children.
- Begin the assembly by asking for two volunteers to come and hold the largest hoop for you. They should hold the hoop so that it is vertical, and about 50 cm from the floor.
Now ask for a volunteer who thinks they can pass through the hoop. You could choose several different children, starting with a smaller child and ending with someone taller.
After the last child has climbed through the largest hoop ask them if it was easy. Hopefully they will say yes.
- Now ask the same child or children if they can do it again. Change the large hoop for the middle-sized hoop, and let them climb through. You could encourage the children in the audience to applaud.
Again ask the children if that was easy.
- Change this hoop for the smallest version - you can make a fuss as you hold up the hoop, as if you were a magician's assistant. The audience may be encouraged to gasp!
Ask the children to get through this hoop as best they can. On completion again encourage the audience to clap and ask the children to return to their seats.
Put the hoops down, but keep the two volunteer hoop holders at the front.
- Next, ask the assembled children if there is anyone who can do a convincing impression of a camel. Choose someone who you think will be confident, and ask them to join you at the front. As the child starts their impression, ask him/her to demonstrate the following to the audience:
Camels have big eyes,
and long fluttery eyelashes,
and a hump.
- Ask the two volunteers to hold up the largest hoop again. Now ask the 'camel' to climb through each hoop in turn (preferably in character). The smallest hoop may cause difficulties.
- Finally take out your needle and hold it up to the audience. Slowly pull out the strand of cotton, and attempt to look through the eye.
Explain to the 'camel' that as it is so clever, perhaps it could try to go through the eye of the needle. Your two volunteers could hold the needle low for the camel to climb over, and up high for the camel to go under; 'The camel can go over it. It can go under it. But no, it can't go through it!' (Many of the children may recognize this line as being similar to 'Going on a Bear Hunt'.)
- Now read Luke 18.18-27 from a children's Bible (or use the Good News Bible version below).
A Jewish leader asked Jesus, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?'
'Why do you call me good?' Jesus asked him. 'No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.'
The man replied, 'Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.'
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, 'There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come to me and follow me.' But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich.
Jesus saw that he was sad and said, 'How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.'
The people who heard him asked, 'Who, then, can be saved?'
Jesus answered, 'What is impossible for man is possible for God.'
Conclude that what often happens is that people get so caught up with the things they own, and in striving for more things, that they forget what is truly important about being a good person.
- You could also point out that some people who study the Bible think that Jesus was talking about a gate in the Jerusalem city wall, which was small and called 'the eye of the needle'. Rich people and their camels would only fit through if they took all their valuable possessions off the camel first.
Time for reflection
You could light a candle for the children to focus on. Ask the children to think about the following:
Think of a time when you were so pleased with the things you have, perhaps birthday presents, sweets or pocket money, but forgot to share.
Think of a time when you were so busy thinking about winning a game, you didn't notice someone hurting.
Think about a time when you were so busy with lots of friends, you didn't notice someone feeling lonely.
Help us, Lord, to think of others, not only ourselves.
May we offer our help and friendship, and learn to share with others.
Help us to see that by sharing and caring we make not only others,
but also ourselves, feel so much happier.
'Thank you Lord for this new day' (Come and Praise, 32)
Scriptures quoted from the Good News Bible published by The Bible Societies/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd UK © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.