–for Jaclyn Davies
What a year we have all had! The second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021 has been such a unique experience for so many people, especially students and educators, who had to learn how to navigate the virtual learning environment. Although the Church of the Good Shepherd had to close its doors for awhile and, as a result, suspend the in-person Sunday School program, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to offer Sunday School programming for our Church families virtually during the Lenten Season of 2021.
During this five-week online program, the children attended live virtual sessions, and learned many valuable lessons about God’s love for all of us. Both teachers and students alike benefited from the lively discussions and fun activities.
During the Week #1 session, we discussed the topics of kindness and forgiveness. Our Pre-K through 1st grade group learned about the story of “The Kind Man”, based on Luke 10:25-37, and discussed various ways they can show kindness to others. The older children learned the story of “The Unmerciful Servant”, based on Matthew 18:21-35, and discussed the importance of forgiving others.
In Week #2, the children learned that God loves us unconditionally. We discussed some of the parables that Jesus used to teach about this unconditional love that God has for us, as well as continuing last week’s discussions about forgiveness. The children shared their thoughts about how God’s love is different than people’s love, why it’s important to love and forgive others because God loves us, and ways in which we can all follow Jesus’ example to love others.
For the Week #3 session, the children learned about the importance of giving. They heard a bible story about a poor widow who gave everything she had as an offering to her church, and how even though her offering was very small, Jesus considered it to be far greater than the rich people who gave only the extra money they had left over after buying everything they wanted. Jesus taught that when we give, we worship and honor God. The children discussed how giving an offering is one way to thank God and show that we love him. We talked about the many wonderful ways our church uses the offerings our church community provides to share the good news about Jesus’ love. Finally, the children learned that God wants us to be cheerful givers. We shouldn’t give because we feel we have to. Rather, we should give because we love God and want to worship him! God has given us everything we have, and giving back to the church is a way to say thank you for all that God has given us.
In Week #4, This week in Sunday school, we talked about a very important verse in the Bible: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The children listened to a bible story about how Jesus was welcomed by the people. Then, the children discussed how exciting parades can be, and how they would feel if they saw Jesus riding down their street. We also talked about what it means to be a Christian. The children learned that a Christian is someone who admits our sin, believes in Jesus, and confesses that Jesus is our Savior. They also learned that Christians should obey God’s commands, follow his plan, and tell others about Jesus. Finally, we discussed the Good News that God loves us and he planned from the beginning to send Jesus. He knew that people would disobey him and sin. Sin separates us from God, but God sent his perfect son Jesus here to die for our sins because he loves us. The children discussed how it makes them feel to know that God loves us all that much.
For our final lesson during Week #5, we learned about the importance of Easter, and how it is a time to remember how Jesus died on the cross and came back to life. We encouraged the children to take time to thank God and celebrate that Jesus is alive. We also discussed various ways that we can all celebrate the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection with all of our family, friends and neighbors.
The program culminated with a fun Easter Egg Hunt held on the Church grounds. Although we made sure to follow recommended social distancing and masking protocols, all of the families who attended had a wonderful time!
We are so thankful to the families who participated in this program! It was a true blessing to be able to share the Lenten Season with our Sunday School community, despite the difficult situation created by the pandemic. We look forward to returning to Church in the fall for in-person classes and family-friendly activities!