Understanding in a Big World
To show that God understands everything about us, wherever we are from
by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To show that God understands everything about us, wherever we are from.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the following foreign language words and nationalities written or printed on individual sheets of paper or card:
- Optional: A crown.
- Ask some volunteers to come to the front and hold up the language words. Teach the children to say each word out loud. If you don't know how to pronounce them, and can't find anyone to help, just have a go and have some fun! Ask the children if they know what each word means.
- Say that all the words mean the same thing - welcome. Now ask them to tell you which nationality's language each word is from. Ask some more volunteers to come and hold the nationality words up so that everyone can see them, and then together try and match up the language with the nationality. The answers are:
Arabic (North Africa): MarHaban
Greek [Hellenic] (Greece, Cyprus): Kalos orisate
Hebrew (Israel) [to a man]: Baruch haba
Eskimo [Inuktitut] (Alaska): Qaimarutin
Russian: Dobro pozhalovat'
Spanish (Spain, also South America) [to group]: Bienvenidos
- Say that there are thousands of languages in the world, and that it must be impossible to understand every one. But Christians believe that God understands everything that everyone thinks or says. God knows exactly what it's like to be a human being no matter what language you speak. Tell this story, using the crown as a visual aid if you wish.
Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one that he visited realized that he was their ruler.
One day he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. The king ate the coarse food the poor man ate, and spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he visited the poor man again and this time he disclosed his identity. 'I am your king!' he said.
The king thought that the man would surely ask for some gift or favour, but he didn't. Instead he said, 'You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!'
- Explain that Christians believe that Jesus was like a king who became a poor man - he became a human being even though he was God. Because of this, Jesus knows everything about us, and understands us - no matter what language we speak.
Time for reflection
You may like to pray the Lord's Prayer in French:
Notre Père qui es aux cieux
Que ton nom soit sanctifié
Que ton règne vienne
Que ta volonté soit faite
Sur la terre comme au ciel.
Notre pain de ce jour.
Pardonne-nous nos offenses,
Comme nous pardonnons aussi
A ceux qui nous ont offensés.
Et ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,
Mais délivre-nous du Mal.
Car c'est à toi qu'appartiennent le règne, la puissance et la gloire,
Pour les siècles des siècles.
Thank you, God, that you understand every word,
wherever it is spoken.
'In Christ there is no east or west' (Come and Praise, 66)