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Tummy ache

To use a gospel story of healing explore the idea of wholeness

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To use a gospel story of healing to explore the idea of wholeness.

Preparation and materials

  • Bottles of medicine, pills, etc.
  • Vitamin packs.
  • A bowl of fruit.
  • Some vegetables.
  • A bottle of milk.
  • Quiet music, with a peaceful feel - perhaps some Enya (optional).


Suggested 'script':

  1. Begin by asking the children if they've ever had tummy ache. Lots of them will have had a 24-hour bug, or variations. Ask them how they felt. How does tummy ache make you walk?
    Would you like to always have a tummy ache?
  2. Tell the following story about a woman who had tummy ache for 12 years. Right low down, all day and all night.
    What would you do if you had tummy ache and it wouldn't go away? See the doctor - and so she had. In the time that she lived, you had to pay to see a doctor, and she'd spent all the money she had, but it didn't get better.
    It got so that she lived all on her own, and people didn't want to talk to her. They walked round her in the street, in case they caught it. The people didn't want to sell food to her in case they caught it.
    Can you imagine how sad she was? Put on the music, if you are using it, at a low volume.
  3. Ask the children to shut their eyes, and think about that woman: the pain in her tummy, the sadness at no one wanting to be kind to her, no one being her friend. Ask the children to spend a few moments with their eyes shut, thinking about the woman who had a bad tummy ache for 12 years, and imagining how she must have felt.
  4. Keeping their eyes shut, ask them to imagine how it feels if someone tells you that there's a man called Jesus, and he might be able to make you better. Can you feel your heart leap with hope, and excitement? Straightaway, you walk to the town where he is. Keep your eyes shut and listen. Can you hear the excited crowd shouting 'Jesus, Jesus'? In your imagination, go to the crowd.
    And then you realize that you can't ask him to make you better. It would be too awful if they pushed you away, told you to leave him alone. So you gently creep round the back, to touch the edge of his clothes.
    And as you touch his clothes, you know that you're better! The tummy ache is gone - but Jesus swings around and asks, 'Who touched me?'
    What can you do? You don't want to own up, and besides, lots of people are crowding round. It may not have been your touch that Jesus felt.
    But you know it was.
    Slowly, you stand up straight, and walk round to face Jesus.
    What does he look like? Is he tall? Looking down crossly at you, or is he looking at you kindly, smiling?
    He simply says, 'Your faith has healed you', and tells you that you can go. And you do. You go home, and thank God for being well again.
  5. Now open your eyes. How did you feel when you realized you were better? How did you feel when you heard Jesus calling for you? What was it that made you well?
  6. Show the objects you have with you - the medicines and pills. When do we need these? When we have an illness.
    What about the fruit and veg and milk? We eat and drink those to keep us well. Explain that we have to make an effort to keep ourselves well. We need to do our bit so that we don't get ill as often as we might.
    And when we are ill, we take our medicine and that helps to heal our bodies. Often, when someone is ill, other people pray for them to be made better. It's good to hold people in love, to be aware of caring about them. We ask Jesus to heal them, like the woman who touched his clothes. Usually it takes a bit longer, though! Sometimes they don't get better, and that's very hard, and very sad. But the woman in this story did get well - and she probably told everyone for ages afterwards how she was made better.

Time for reflection

Lord, help us to look after ourselves the best we can, to eat well, and to take exercise.
Help us when we are ill to be patient and wait for our bodies to get better.
Bless the nurses and doctors, and everyone who looks after people who are sick.
In a quiet moment, think about anyone you know who is ill. Ask God to help them.


'Kum ba yah' (Come and Praise, 68).

Publication date: September 2000   (Vol.2 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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