Note to the Teacher
The key idea from this scripture and for this lesson is that we as followers of Jesus are called to be a sign of God’s love and protection for others in the world. The ice breaker gets students talking and gives them an opportunity to talk a bit about themselves. The discussion encourages students to think about the story of The Flood, Noah’s Ark, and the rainbow on a deeper level than the typical children’s story we often hear. The activity allows students to ponder symbols of God’s love and protection and what it means for us to be a symbol for God ourselves. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker (10 minutes)
(Can be done both in-person and online.)
High-Tech Option: Download the “Grow Games” app on your smartphone. Once downloaded, click on the “icebreakers” button on the bottom, and click “Break the ice.” Ask the question that appears on the screen; allow for laughs and discussion; then click “Break the ice” again and ask the next question. Go through a few these for about ten minutes.
Low-Tech Option: Google “Would you rather questions” and ask the students a few of these. If on Zoom, say to students, “Set up a virtual background if you agree with A; leave your screen where you have no virtual background if you agree with B.” If you are meeting in person, have the students stand if they agree with A and sit if they agree with B.
Third Option: Have a student (or volunteer from your church) join your session in disguise. If they are joining online, make sure that they also change their screen name/identity on your video conferencing platform. The person in disguise must protect their identity, a bit like the “Masked Singer” – they can provide a few clues about their actual identity and you could provide students a list of potential people that the person in disguise could be. You could also allow the students time to ask twenty “yes or no” questions of the person in disguise in order to help them guess. The purpose of this option is to more deeply tie into the concept of protection in the Noah’s Ark story, as the person in disguise wants to protect their identity.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our Scripture reading today is from the book of Genesis, after the story of Noah’s Ark: God floods the world to destroy it because it has been so corrupted by sin. The waters have receded now, and God is making a promise with Noah and his sons.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
The story of Noah’s Ark is often described as a nice children’s story, but it is actually a demonstration of God’s mighty power, an unwillingness to compromise with sin, and a change in our understanding of God as a protector of creation.
- When you consider God’s power, what do you think of? Is there any limit to God’s power? If so, what is that limit?
- Why do you think God is so against sin? I mean, aren’t there some sins that really aren’t that bad? Why does it seem that God rages against it?
- At what point in the scripture we read do you see God shifting to being a protector? How do you see God as a protector in your life?
- Is there anything in your life that you are very protective of? If you are comfortable sharing, what is it and why?
- God uses the sign of a rainbow to show that the covenant, or promise, God is making with Noah and his sons is real. This sign shows how God is a God who protects and loves, even when things in this world are hard. Have you had personal experiences of God as a protector and one who loves you?
- The story of Noah’s Ark shows that God is making everything new. What do you think that means for your life? How is God making you new?
- If God is making all things new, that means God is at work in you, creating newness within you too. How does that make you feel about yourself? About others?
Transition to the next point by saying something like, “God is in the business of making things new. As people who are made new by God, we should be the sign to others that God’s promises to make people new are for them as well! Just as the rainbow was the sign, we are to be that sign for others.”
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
If meeting in-person:
Find several bulletin boards or cork boards and get a bunch of different colored thumb tacks, enough for each student to have ten. Tell the students that you want them to create a sign on the bulletin board with their thumb tacks that shows God’s love. This could be a cross, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, a picture of food for God’s provision, or whatever students feel like is a sign that shows God’s love. The challenge is that they use only ten thumb tacks to make the picture.
Give the students ten minutes for this activity. Then allow the students to present their “signs” and how it shows God’s love for them.
There are many symbols that can be created to remind us of God’s love. Just as God put a sign in the clouds (a rainbow) to show his promise of love and protection for his people, he calls us to be a symbol of his love and protection for the world.
What can you do this week to be a symbol of God’s love and protection to those around you?
Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
If meeting online:
Give students ten minutes to go around their house or wherever they are to collect five items that they can use as symbols to show God’s love and protection. Tell them that they need to be able to connect the objects they select to God’s love and protection in a real way. For example, if someone gets a whisk from the kitchen, he/she must explain how that whisk shows God’s love (maybe because whisks are used to make meals, and God loves us by providing meals for us).
Give students time to explain their items and how the items symbolize God’s love.
There are many symbols that can be gathered to remind us of God’s love. Just as God put a sign in the clouds (a rainbow) to show God’s promise of love and protection for people, God calls us to be a symbol of his love and protection for the world.
What can you do this week to be a symbol of God’s love and protection for those around you?
Total time: 50 minutes
If meeting in person:
- Smartphone to download app
- Bulletin boards or cork boards
- Enough colored thumb tacks for each student to have ten
If meeting online:
- Random items in a house
- Device to connect to Zoom or other platform