To help the children understand that God knows all about us, even the things that make us unique individuals. He made us special.
Luke 15; Psalm 139
You will need:
A simple sheep puppet of some kind eg a sock puppet, a paper bag puppet, a wooden spoon puppet
- Prepare or obtain your sheep puppet.
- Learn the story and practise telling it using the puppet.
- Ask the children if they have ever been lost. How did it happen? How did they feel? How were they found?
- Tell the children that you know a sheep that got lost. Introduce your puppet and tell the sheep’s story.
Idris the sheep lives on a farm under the shadow of the great mountain Cader Idris in North Wales, after which he is named. He is well looked after by Mr Williams, the shepherd, who makes sure that all the sheep in the flock are well fed and cared for.
Mr Williams knows everything about each one of the sheep – its name, its special favourite places to eat grass, how they lie when they sleep at night and probably even what each sheep is thinking! Imagine that! With Idris, that’s not too difficult. He’s always dreaming of the great mountain with which he shares a name, and of what it would be like to climb up to the very top and look out over the deep blue sea.
Well one day Idris got his chance! A boy from the farm came running to fetch Mr Williams to help a ewe give birth to triplet lambs. In the short time that Mr Williams’ back was turned and the gate was open, Idris escaped for his adventure!
Idris ran up the next field and wriggled under a gate that was a bit broken. It was quite a climb up the hill but he was fairly fit and very determined. As he climbed higher and higher the farm looked smaller and smaller, until Idris forgot all about the rest of the sheep and Mr Williams the shepherd. Until, that is, it began to go dark. Idris shivered a bit as the sun went down and shadows from the moonlight began to stretch out across the mountain. He was cold, he was still a long way from the top, and he was beginning to feel a bit frightened.
Stumbling up the mountain, Idris took his eyes off the path for a moment and suddenly felt himself falling! There was nothing he could do until he landed with a hard bump on some very rocky ground. Idris tried hard to get up but – oh no! He had hurt his foot as he fell. He began to cry, but there was no one to hear his bleating. Poor Idris!
Mr Williams the shepherd went back to his sheep when the triplet lambs had been born and were safely tucked up in their pen. Everything looked all right, but he thought he had better check. He counted the sheep by number and by name. ‘Rosie, Penny, Dewi, Gwyn…’ until he reached Idris’ name in his head. Where was Idris? Certainly not in the field. But do you remember what I said earlier, that Mr Williams even knew what each sheep was thinking? He guessed straight away where Idris would be, for he knew all about the little sheep’s fascination with the great mountain of the same name. So, closing the gate firmly to keep the other sheep in, Mr Williams set off up the mountain.
Mr Williams didn’t daydream like Idris: he watched carefully where he put his feet. He had a powerful torch to see the way in the dark, and, keeping to well-worn paths, Mr Williams climbed Cader Idris, calling all the time for the sheep of the same name. I think you can guess what happened!
Mr Williams found Idris and climbed down to rescue him. He tucked the sheep inside his coat, for Idris was still quite small, and carried him safely home. The next day he asked the vet to come and Idris had a special splint put on his broken foot. Idris the sheep never again tried to escape to the top of the mountain called by the same name.
- Tell the children that just as the shepherd knew all about Idris in our story, even what he was thinking, God knows about each one of us. He cares for us too, like the shepherd cares for the sheep.
- God knows the things that are special just to you, the things that make you different from anyone else – your favourite toy, your favourite place to go, your friends.
- Make the point that there is something different about each of us. Even identical twins don’t have the same fingerprints and are different in other ways too. God knows every part of us and loves us just the way we are.
Thank you, God, that you have made us all different. Thank you that each one of us is special to you.