Pause for Thought in the Classroom - What Is God Like: Part 2
God loves to have relationships with people
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Key Stage 2 - Church Schools
To consider that God wants people to be his friends.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to arrange for two children to act out the scenario in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3. They will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly.
- Optional: for the first extension activity, you may wish to prepare a worksheet that contains jumbled names or clues about characters.
- Explain to the children that we are going to be thinking about God as a friend.
Ask the children to share their answers to the following questions.
- Do you like having friends?
- How do friends make you feel?
- What do you like to do with them?
- Do you ever fall out with your friends?
- Do you ever hurt your friends?
- Point out that Christians believe that God likes having friends and that’s why he made the first people. The first book in the Bible, Genesis, describes two people called Adam and Eve. God wanted to share his beautiful world with them. He made a beautiful home for them in a lovely garden and he came to talk with them every day. It was a very happy place, and Adam and Eve knew only joy, peace and contentment. There were never any unhappy days.
However, God knew that there was a thing called badness, or evil. (Remind the children that there are many stories and films about good and evil.) God knew that badness would hurt Adam and Eve. It might frighten them, hurt them or spoil their fun. He didn’t want that, so he told them not to go near one of the trees in the garden, which had fruit that would teach them not only goodness, but badness, too.
Sadly, one day, Adam and Eve did the one thing that God had asked them not to do. They ignored God and ate the fruit, and their eyes were opened to badness and evil. They were so ashamed that they hid from God when he came to see them that night.
God was sad because this meant that he was too bright, pure and holy for them to look at any more, just like we mustn’t look directly at the sun. Adam and Eve had to leave the beautiful garden of light and although God still loved them, things would never be the same.
- Ask the children who are going to act out the scenario to come to the front.
Explain that Matthew really likes Jonathan. He would love to be Jonathan’s friend. Jonathan is funny, popular and great at football.
Matthew: Hi, Jonathan.
Jonathan: Hi, Matthew.
Matthew: Could I please be your friend? I think you’re great.
Jonathan: Well, you’d have to share your sweets with me.
Matthew: No problem.
Jonathan: And you’d have to help me with my homework.
Matthew: No problem.
Jonathan: You’d always have to stick up for me in fights, too.
Matthew: That’s OK, I suppose.
Jonathan: Actually, you can only be my friend if you always do what I tell you.
Jonathan: Yes, always.
Matthew: I’ll have to think about that.
- Discuss with the children how they might reply, and what problems might come up in this friendship.
Time for reflection
Explain that in the story of Adam and Eve, God was a bit like Jonathan. He wanted them always to do what he told them. However, there was one massive difference: God loved people more than anyone in the world could ever love someone else, and he would never lead them into bad things. He would always be on their side and he always wanted what was best for them. He would be people’s best friend forever!
Ask the children to think about the good qualities that a friend might have. Ask them to consider how God shows these qualities in his friendship to people. For example, Christians believe that God always forgives, always loves, never gives up on people and so on.
Optional: read the passage from 1 Corinthians 13 that speaks about love. The Bible tells us that ‘God is love’, so these qualities of love are true for him.
‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’
You may wish to read the above passage slowly, allowing time for thought after each statement.
Thank you that you want to be our friend.
Thank you that you will never lead us into harm.
Thank you that we can talk to you at any time, knowing that you are always listening.
Thank you that you keep your promises and that you never give up on us.
- Depending on how familiar the children are with Bible stories, they could do the following activities.
- Unjumble the names of some of God’s friends, for example, HONA, VIDDA, RAMY, SOMES and PRTEE. (Answers: Noah, David, Mary, Moses and Peter)
- Work out the names of God’s friends from clues like the following examples.
- This man obeyed God and built a huge boat. (Answer: Noah)
- This young man killed a giant with little stones. (Answer: David)
- This woman had a very special baby. (Answer: Mary)
- This man led thousands of people through a sea. (Answer: Moses)
- This man was a fisherman in Galilee. (Answer: Peter)
- The children may like to write down the qualities that they would look for in a good friend. This could be in the form of a wanted poster. For example, ‘Friend wanted, must be . . .’