Sticking together – Ruth

Aim:

To show that God is pleased when we are good friends.

Bible base:

Ruth

You will need:

  • A selection of methods of sticking things together, eg Blu-tack, staples, sticky tape, superglue
  • Some small pieces of paper, card, material, wool to stick together.
  • Two sticks and strips of card
  • 5 paper plates for ‘plate head’ puppets

Preparation

  • Make two signposts (strips of card stuck to a stick), one saying ‘Bethlehem’, the other ‘Moab’.
  • Make ‘plate head’ puppets to represent Naomi, Orpah, Ruth, Boaz and Obed.  Draw faces on paper plates with marker pens and add material, wool for hair, beards etc.
  • Read through the story outline below to familiarise yourself with it.

Presentation

Introduction

  1. Talk to the children about different ways of sticking things together.  Demonstrate a few using the methods you have brought.  Allow the children time to make suggestions themselves.
  2. Finish with the superglue method emphasising how difficult it is to separate the pieces of card stuck together with this.  Tell the children that some people are such good friends that they ‘stick together’ whatever happens.  Today they will hear about a woman in the Bible who stuck with her friend even when things were difficult.

Story

You could invite children out to hold up the different puppets and signposts as you tell the story.

Introduce the children to your Naomi puppet and show them your ‘Bethlehem’ signpost.  Tell the story:

Naomi lived in the town of Bethlehem with her husband Elimelech and her two sons.  Things were looking bad for the family, as the fields in Bethlehem were dry and dusty, there was no food left to eat and everyone was hungry.  Elimelech decided it was time to leave and move to a place where there was food.  So all the family went on a very long journey to the country of Moab and settled there.

(Show ‘Moab’ signpost.)

The two sons grew up and married two girls from Moab, called Ruth and Orpah.

(Introduce your Ruth and Orpah puppets.)

Sadly, Elimelech died and then about ten years later Naomi’s two sons died, leaving her all alone.  Naomi had heard that there was now food in Bethlehem, so she decided she would go back home.

(Hold up ‘Bethlehem’ signpost.)

Ruth and Orpah couldn’t leave Naomi to make the long journey on her own so they decided to go with her.  As they travelled along, Naomi tried very hard to tell Ruth and Orpah to go back and eventually Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye and went back to Moab.

(Hold up ‘Moab’ signpost.)

But Ruth just wouldn’t leave Naomi so they travelled on together.  When they reached Bethlehem it was harvest time and the farmers were beginning to bring in the crops.  Naomi’s old friends were so pleased to see her, but Naomi was sad – her husband and sons were dead.

Naomi and Ruth were very poor.  Ruth would go out into the fields each day and pick up any leftover pieces of corn.  Ruth didn’t know that she was working in a field which belonged to a rich relative of Naomi’s.  His name was Boaz.

(Show your Boaz puppet.)

Boaz found out that Ruth was a foreigner and was very kind to her.  Boaz married Ruth and they had a beautiful baby son called Obed.

(Hold up Obed puppet and then Bethlehem sign.)

Ruth who had been such a good friend to Naomi was the happiest woman in Bethlehem!

Application

  1. Ask the children why they think Ruth stuck with Naomi.
  2. Talk about how hard it must have been for her in a strange land, far away from the people she knew.
  3. Make the point that being a good friend isn’t always easy – sometimes it will be difficult to keep on being friends.  God is happy when we are good friends.

Prayer

Thank you, God, for friends.  Help us to be good friends who stick with each other whatever happens.  Amen.

Giving your all – Easter

Topic:

Easter

Aim

To help pupils understand the Bible teaching that God gave everything, so that people could be his friends.

Things you’ll need

  • An Easter egg for a prize
  • The means to play an Easter song or hymn

Bible Base

John 3:16

Content

1 Ask for five volunteers to take part in a competition. Choose a simple contest that needs great determination and concentration (eg not laughing whilst standing on one leg, whistling a tune without smiling etc). Make sure it doesn’t just rely on physical strength as this will always be biased towards older children. Award the winner the prize and make the point that she/he had to try really hard to win – they had to give it everything.

2 Ask all the pupils what one thing they would like to be or have above all else. After you’ve heard from several of them, explain that to achieve their dreams they might need to give it everything. To be a great footballer or actress or to own a private jet will take years of commitment and trying.

3 Tell the Easter story in this way:

I wonder what God would say if we asked him the same question? What would God want above everything else? The Bible gives an answer to that question. It says that what God wants more than anything else, is for people to know that he loves them and to be friends with him. Christians believe that God has given everything to make that happen.

First, the Bible says, he sent his Son Jesus to earth to show people what God is like. God was prepared to send his only Son from heaven to earth. That’s what Christians celebrate at Christmas. But that wasn’t all. Jesus also wanted everyone to know how much God loves them and to be friends with him, so he was prepared to give up everything. That is what Christians believe happened at Easter.

In the Bible it says that Jesus was arrested and killed, not because he had done anything wrong, or just because people hated him. He gave up his life because his death was a punishment for all the wrong things others had done. He died that so that people could be friends with God. To make this possible, Jesus had to give up everything. His friends all left him, he was arrested and beaten by the soldiers, and then he was put on the cross to die. But the Bible says it didn’t end there. Three days later Jesus came back to life again. He had given everything, including his life, but God raised him to life again.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

1 Read John 3:16. Point out that God was prepared to give his own Son for us.

2 For Christians, Easter is the most important festival. It reminds them of their belief that God gave everything so that they could be friends with him. For Christians the only way to respond to what God has done for them is to give themselves to God – loving him and being determined to live the way he wants.

For everyone

We all have dreams and ambitions. Is your dream worth doing your very best to achieve? Are you willing to give your all for your dream? And is there any one you care about enough to give everything for?

Response

1 You could use this prayer to finish:

Dear Lord, thank you that you gave everything, so that people could be your friends. Help us to be people who are prepared to give everything for those we care about. Amen.

2 As the children leave, play a quiet Easter hymn. Introduce it as a song that Christians sing at Easter, to help them remember the story.