On the May 7/8 weekend we learned about the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. Our new storyteller Jason A. told the story and did a great job making it interesting for the kids and driving home the application points. We talked about how technically Zacchaeus is the bad guy in the story, but because Jesus forgave him, he was changed... so much so that he because extremely generous in his desire to right the things he had done wrong in his life. The Family Connect idea for this week is taken from the 252 Basics curriculum, but we thought it would be a better at home activity than at church! Enjoy!
SUPPLIES: You’ll need a Bible; medium or large mixing bowls (one for every two or three children); spray bottles with a “stream” setting (one bottle for every two or three children); water; salt; blue, yellow, and green food coloring; towels; and smocks (if desired).
Open your Bible to Colossians 3 and read verse 13. Lead the kids to repeat the verse several times, one phrase at a time. What does the phrase “forgive the things you are holding against one another” mean? (It means choosing not to stay angry at others when they do things that hurt us; it means loving others even though they have done something wrong to us; it means letting go of the hurt and anger we feel when people do wrong things to us.)
Ahead of time, fill some bowls with water and place them in the freezer. This activity is best done outside. However, if you choose to do it indoors, spread towels over the floor or a table and set out the prepared ice-filled bowls. For the spray bottles, you will also need to prepare a mixture of one part salt to three parts hot water. Stir until the salt dissolves. (If the salt isn’t completely dissolved, it can clog the spray bottle.) Pour about a cup of salt water into each spray bottle. Add about 20 drops of food coloring to each bottle. Replace the sprayers and set them to “stream.” Wrap the bottles in towels to keep them as warm as possible.
Give each child a spray bottle. Encourage the kids to take turns spraying water onto the ice. In the beginning, encourage them to repeatedly spray the same area. After about a minute, the water will begin to melt the ice, and a colorful ice sculpture will begin to take shape. Ask the kids to describe what they see (water melting the ice, water changing the shape of the ice, colors swirling together, colored water going into the ice) and possibly hear (water bubbling inside the ice, the ice cracking as it melts).
Chat with your kids about how the ice is like our hearts, and that God can use forgiveness to change people’s hearts the same way their colored water is changing the ice, just like it changed Zacchaeus’s heart. Share a time when forgiveness changed you or someone close to you.
Further Discussion Questions:
- Why does God not want us to live weighed down with hurts and bad feelings toward others?
- Are there ever any situations in which it’s okay not to forgive someone? Explain.
- What are some reasons people give for not forgiving someone? What do you think God says about that?