by Jennifer Underwood, Director of Children’s Ministries
This year, for our 4th through 6th grade Sunday School class, we have selected a new curriculum designed for Preteens, called Rio. Like the Tru Curriculum we use for the younger two age groups, Rio makes use of the Big Bible Panorama and the Big God Story,* but takes the lessons a little deeper and encourages the children to think on a higher level, while providing them the opportunity, through journaling, to open up and share their thoughts and questions surrounding the lessons at an age when they are facing the impulse to become increasingly closed down and private. It does a wonderful job of answering the question of relevance that starts to percolate in children of this age, “This stuff happened and these people lived thousands of years ago, how could I possibly identify with this?” As the parent of a sixth grade boy, I love reading these lessons each week and thrill at the questions I know he will be considering in Sunday School and the issues he will discuss.
This week, the 4th through 6th graders are learning about Jacob and Esau as a continuation of their study of God’s Promises. After reviewing how Jacob stole Esau’s birthright by tricking his father into blessing him with it, the lesson looks at several key issues. The kids start out by navigating an obstacle course using goggles blurred using Vaseline to demonstrate that even when we know the outcome in the end (God’s Plan), the path in front of us can seem fuzzy and unclear. This leads into a discussion of times when they’ve felt their path was unclear and how to trust God even when we feel unsure.
The lesson goes on to discuss deceit and the weak and sinful nature of Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau. The children are asked about times in their lives when God has turned a bad situation into a good one, for our gracious God often uses even our mistakes and sinful nature to his glory, restoring us in the process. There is comfort in knowing that God always fulfills his plan, even when we have attempted to twist it with our own deceit. The Lord accomplishes his plans in spite of us; He keeps his promises.
He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant. —Psalm 105:8–10
Join us this Sunday at 9:15!
* The Big God Story is the way the curriculum describes the entirety of salvation history from creation to the end of times. This helps the children understand the Bible as the complete, sufficient and continuous illustration of God’s Plan. The Big Bible Panorama is a visual timeline of salvation history. Each week, the children in each class look to the Big Bible Panorama to see where this week’s lesson falls in the course of salvation history.