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Numbers 21.4-9; Psalm 107.1-3,17-22; Ephesians 2.1-10; John 3.14-21

Children's session

Nicodemus was a Jewish leader who was a Pharisee. Jesus speaks to him of being sent because of God’s love, to offer eternal life to the world. He uses the image of light and darkness to explain the concept of judgement. Those who do wrong things avoid the light, because it reveals what they are doing, but those who do what is good and true are attracted to the light.   

This week we explore trusting in something eternal. 

Extra ideas including resources for very young children can be found by using the Jump to this week's menu on the right.

Prepare
Childrens Session

Read Bible notes on John 3.14-21

What do you understand ‘eternal life’ to mean? How easily are you able to trust in this promise?

Eternal life may be a difficult concept for children. It might be useful to share with them the words of John 17.3: ‘This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’ Focus on eternal life in terms of an enduring relationship with God.

Provide the following play materials for very young children throughout the session: a pot of bubbles and bubble wands.

For Mothering Sunday.

Go to www.rootsontheweb.com for all links, templates and images. 

Gather

Use the song, prayer and activity to gather the group and introduce the theme. (5 mins)

Childrens Session
Very young childrens Session

 Gathering song

Sing to the tune: Our God is a great big God

God gives me a brand new start,
God gives me a brand new start,
God gives me a brand new start,
it’s a chance to make my mark.

Childrens Session

A gathering prayer for children

Move round the group and lay a hand on the shoulder of each person, as you pray: God loves (insert name).
Finish by saying:

Loving God,
help us together to discover more about your love today.
Amen.

 

What will last for ever?            W E S

  • Ask the children to tell you about a special building that is very old. Do they think it will last for ever? Talk about the way that things on earth don’t last for ever, but God’s love for us does. 
Share the Word
Childrens Session

Read the story and pause at the  to share these points with the children (see Stop and share below). Then use the activity to explore the passage together. (10 mins)

 Click on the image to view a PDF.  

 

Stop and share

  • Talk about ‘being in the dark’. As well as physical darkness, we often use this to mean not knowing or not understanding something.
  • Explain the reference to the bronze serpent – this was made by Moses and was said to have the power to heal someone from a poisonous snake bite.

  

Listen in the light        W E S

You will need: a candle.

  • Make the room as dark as possible. Ask the children to close their eyes and cover them with their hands.
  • Read the story again and, each time the word ‘light’ is said (it comes 7x), tell the children to do something to make the room a little lighter:
    1. Remove one hand from over your eyes.
    2. Remove the other hand from your eyes.
    3. Partly open your eyes.
    4. Fully open your eyes.
    5. Open curtains or blinds.
    6. Switch on the room lights.
    7. Light candle.
  • Talk about how it felt hearing Jesus’ words as it became lighter in the room.
Explore and respond

Use these ideas to help the children make connections between the Bible passage and their lives. (20 mins)

Childrens Session

Play a memory game         W E

A reminder that Jesus said God’s love is for everyone

  • Sit in a circle and ask the first person to say, ‘God loves everyone who…’ and add an attribute, e.g. ‘God loves everyone who is wearing red.’
  • The next person should repeat what the first person said and add their own attribute, e.g. ‘God loves everyone who is wearing red and has a cat.’
  • Keep the game going round the circle, adding to what needs to be remembered each time. Finish by emphasising that God loves and offers eternal life to everyone no matter who they are.

 

Make a Möbius strip           E S

Explore the concept of eternity

You will need: strips of paper about 2cm x 10cm, pens, glue.

  • Give each child a strip of paper and ask them to write part of the passage (e.g. John 3.16) across both sides. NB, The writing on one side needs to be done upside down.
  • Help everyone to fold their paper strip into a ring, putting a half twist into it as they do it and glue it in place.
  • The Möbius strip is an infinite shape which has no start or end – if you draw a line along it with a pencil, you will get back to exactly where you started. Encourage the children to play with it and think about what eternity means.

 

Sing

 Songs from Same Boat Music. 
Everybody Praise Him

Find more suggestions on the Hymns, songs & music page.

 

Talk together and talk to God

Use these questions to discuss the Bible passage and then bring your thoughts together by praying to God.

Talk together

  • How does darkness make you feel? How does it feel when light comes into that darkness?
  • In what ways did Jesus’ words make Nicodemus feel brighter?
  • How can we share God’s light with others?

 

Talk to God: Say sorry to God         E S

Ask for and be assured of God’s forgiveness

You will need: candle, lighter, snuffer.

  • Light a candle – ensuring safety. Invite the children to come up one at a time, think of something they want to say sorry for, and extinguish the candle with a snuffer, saying the words, ‘I am sorry.’
  • After each child’s turn, relight the candle and say, ‘God says, “I forgive you”.’

  

Childrens Session

Activity sheet

Go with God

Consider together what you have explored, what that means for each of you and how it might influence your daily lives. (10 mins)

Childrens Session
  • Sing the hymn ‘We are marching in the light of God
  • Ask the children to think of ways we can live in the light of God’s love, e.g. praying, serving, singing. Sing the song again, replacing the word ‘marching’ with the children’s suggestions.

 

A sending out prayer for children

Invite everyone to face the door.

Jesus,
help us to trust you
as we take your love out into the world.
Amen.

 

Go with God 24/7

Encourage the children to put their faith into action

This week, whenever you switch on a light, think about God’s promise of eternal life.
S

 

ROOTS at home resource

Before you finish, give out the ROOTS at home resource to encourage faith at home.

Childrens Session
Very young childrens Session

Sing

To the tune: Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Farewell friends, as we depart,
keep these stories in our hearts.
Through these days of Lent we know,
that our faith in God may grow.
Through temptations in our days,
be like Jesus through our ways.

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