At my church, I help teach an All Ages Sunday School class. There are about 5 of us adults who take turns coming up with the lessons and teaching the class. While the class is mostly geared towards the more juvenile attendees, we try to make the lessons we prepare have meaning for the adults as well. This can sometimes be challenging to pull off. Our lessons often times pertain to the Gospel reading for that particular Sunday. Sometimes we throw in a craft or a game or a coloring activity to make it more fun and meaningful. And sometimes we do “special” lessons pertaining to the church season– for an example, this next Sunday, our lesson will pertain to the Lenten season.
When I was approached many years ago and asked if I would be interested in teaching Sunday School, my first knee-jerk response was to run far far away. What... Me??? Teach Sunday School? You’ve GOT to be kidding!! After all, I’m an introvert of the worst kind and I certainly didn’t feel qualified in the least. As a matter of fact, I felt that the children knew more than me and could probably teach ME a thing or two. And you know what? They have. I never expected I would learn so much while teaching Sunday school, but I do. It’s funny how God works in our lives sometimes.
I can’t tell you how many Saturday nights as I’ve sat at the computer planning a lesson, or thumbed through my Bible looking up scripture passages, that something has been revealed to me and how many times my brain has thought, I did not know that! It is in this way that teaching blesses one. There is a shortage of people at our church who are willing to teach Sunday school and while I perfectly understand people’s hesitancy, it still saddens me. There is SUCH a need. A need for new faces, new ideas, new ways of doing things, new thoughts. A need for more hands and more help. And yes, even a need to give those few teachers who teach year after year after year a little break. I think fear holds a lot of people back from saying yes to teaching. That’s unfortunate. I think a lot more people would teach if they knew how much they would get out of it in return and how much they would learn.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the lesson I taught this past Sunday. A very simple lesson and one I just can’t get out of my head. A lesson I feared would be boring or way too juvenile for the adults in the class, but one I think we all enjoyed. It all pertained to a passage from the Gospel reading which was Luke 13:31-35. Our focus was on verse 34.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
This lesson, titled Under His Wing, had a very simple yet beautiful theme, which was God’s love and care for his children. In this lesson we talked about motherly love and the saying “There’s no love like a mother’s love.” We looked at pictures of animal mothers with their babies– a chubby little hippo laying next to his BIG fierce protective pink and gray mother, a beautiful white swan floating on the water and peeking at her cygnets who are protectively tucked under her wing, a tiny lion cub nuzzling up under his mother’s chin, a curious joey poking his little head out of his mother’s warm and cozy kangaroo pouch, a sleepy-eyed little piglet laying lovingly across his snoozing mother’s snout, and a human mother tenderly kissing her infant’s sleeping face.
And then, one last picture– a picture very fitting for this lesson since it pertained to the scripture we were focusing on. It was a picture of a mother hen with her wings held out from her body–wings which were sheltering baby chicks who were tucked away safe and close to their mother. ( I just love all the little chicken feet in this photo).
We then discussed how this love and protection given by ALL these mothers is a perfect example of the love Jesus has for us, his children. And then we read the verse. A simple verse about how Jesus, just like a mother hen, gathers us all under the shelter of His wing. How He wants to gather us in His arms and care for us and protect us. How some of us stray away, just like those baby animals who sometimes stray from their mother. But how He never stops caring or looking for those children who have strayed, even if it is just one. That’s the kind of love He has for us. I don’t know about you, but that sorta gives me goosebumps.
We finished the lesson with a simple chicken cardstock template craft which involved cutting, assembling and pasting. Then we took little chenille Easter chicks and let the children glue the little chicks under the wings they had glued on their chicken. A craft that was hopefully for the children, not just another craft, but a reminder of how Jesus gathers his children under the shelter of his loving wing.
After the craft and just for fun, we had a snack of yellow marshmallow Peeps® chicks.
I think they got this lesson. Not just the children, but the adults as well. I know I did. Quite honestly, I was surprised at how this lesson comforted me– a lesson that I had feared wasn’t going to hold anybody’s interest and one where I had just gone through the motions while preparing it, without thinking too much about its meaning. A lesson that I can’t stop thinking about now and whose meaning and impact didn’t hit me until later– until I was actually teaching it to the class.
How comforting it is to me to know that Jesus holds me in his arms, under his loving protection, just like the hen protects her brood under her wings. And when I stray from him, as I so often do, I am assured He will come looking for me, NEVER giving up on His love for me. He’s always looking to take me back under the loving shelter of his wing. I never really thought of it that way. Have you?