To help children understand that it is important to learn from others in history.
Things you’ll need
A variety of objects on a tray covered with a tea towel for Kim’s Game.
1 Ask for two volunteers to play Kim’s Game. Allow the volunteers thirty seconds to look at the objects on the tray, then cover the tray with the tea towel. Ask the volunteers to take turns to name one object at a time. See who can keep going the longest.
2 Now tell the story of Belshazzar’s feast from Daniel 5. Explain that God expected Belshazzar to learn from his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar had learnt that he was not more powerful or important than God. God expected Belshazzar to remember and learn that lesson.
King Belshazzar was a rich, powerful, proud ruler who thought he was more important than God and could do whatever he liked.
One night he gave a huge party and invited hundreds of his wealthy, important friends. There was a lot to drink and they drank too much. They didn’t care what God thought. They even drank wine from special ceremonial cups they had stolen from God’s Temple.
Suddenly, something amazing and terrifying happened. A hand appeared all by itself and began to write strange words on the wall. King Belshazzar went white. His knees knocked together. The great king was shaking with fear!
King Belshazzar sent for Daniel – who did care about what God thought, and had a special gift for understanding things like this.
Daniel told the king that he should have learnt from his grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar. He had been a proud man who thought he was more important than God and did all sorts of evil things. God punished him. He lost his throne and became an outcast. But he had come to his senses and realised that he wasn’t as important as he had thought and he began to do things right. Then God let him become king once again.
King Belshazzar hadn’t remembered and learnt this lesson from history. He had carried on doing what he wanted, not what was right. Daniel explained to the king that the strange words written on the wall meant that God was going to punish him for all the evil things he kept on doing. The message said that his life and his kingship were over. He should have remembered what had happened to his grandfather.
That very night King Belshazzar was killed.
A Christian viewpoint
God expects Christians to look back at what he as done in the past and to learn from that. Usually that means looking at the Bible, but also it means looking at what God has done in the lives of people since the Bible was written and learning from them.
Remembrance Day is a time for us not to be like Belshazzar, but to look back and learn. We can look back and see how people hated others because of their religion or nationality. We can learn from that and decide that we will respect and be friends with those who are different from us, not hate them.
Finish with this, or a similar, prayer:
Dear God, thank you for people who stand up for what is right. Thank you for people who have learnt from what others have done. Help each of us to learn from others and from what we know happened in the past. Amen.