Friday, March 8, 2013

Fearfully and Wonderfully

I've been working for awhile this morning, trying to put together a Sunday school lesson for my daughter's class.  The class is called "The Friendship Group", and consists of adults from around the community who are differently abled - as my daughter.  One of the reasons I love the church we've been attending is that they have arranged their Sunday services and schedule in order to accommodate this group.  Most of the adults are in some kind of independent or assisted living.  They do not drive, so depend on counselors' schedules, to get where they need/want to be.  So, the church created a 'Bridge' service, between their early praise and worship, and their later traditional services.  After the service, the Friendship group has their class.

It's a fun group to work with.  I'll never forget the first time my daughter and I attended.  We were welcomed warmly - even enthusiastically.  And I was the center of questions about Sierra's programs and involvement in special needs activities.  One woman told me about a group who met at the church on the third Thursday of every month to plan and sponsor events where members advocated for themselves in the community.  People First.  She searched through her purse for an address book from which she copied out the name and phone number of the group's sponsor.  "And by the way," she mentioned, "I am the President of People First."  Of course she was - what a positive, capable woman!

This group probably knows more about how God works in their lives than I do; I am humbled by the fact that I am supposed to plan their class.  My goals are to share how He has worked in my life, share experiences or insights I might have had.  I want to relate these to scripture.  I want to present them in a way that can be easily understood.  I want the group to take something practical away from the class.  And, I have learned they love to color and craft, so I want them to have a project to work on.

So, this morning I read my daily Scripture.  It included some wonderful praise psalms; I had been considering marrying psalms with some of the old-time gospel music this group loves - and then I veered off.  God always leads me to other places....

Here's what I came up with.  The theme is Psalm 139:14  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.  We'll start with talking about the outward signs of being a Christian - prayer, reading scripture, treating others with respect, spreading the Word.  I feel like I have to be a little careful here because it's so easy to equate our works with how much He loves us, kind of a quid pro quo...  Where I want to go is to the connection between what we do and who we are - who we are because God made us, and that He made us on purpose.  Just the way we are.  They kind of know all of this - they're pretty darn positive and encouraging, even in their lives where they meet up with prejudice against their differences.  Hence, the passage...I want them to leave this lesson knowing that they are valuable, treasured, and loved.

Then I'll play this Glenn Kaiser song, and give the group the lyrics.

Fearfully, Wondrously Made

I was there when you turned your face to the wall
I was there when you felt you were ten feet tall
I was there when nobody knew your name
I'll be there and I'll tell you again and again

You are fearfully, wondrously, gloriously, lovingly made
You are loved, you are wanted, desired
I'll tell you again and again
You are fearfully, wondrously, gloriously, lovingly made

There were times when you wondered if I was around
There were times when you stumbled and fell to the ground
There were times when you tried to avoid every test
But everything works for your good, when you love, when you trust you find rest

After listening, we can talk about who is speaking in the song: I was there....  And we can talk about how God is always with us - He truly loves us.

Then, I found this great video from Mark Lowry,  who ends with looking at our original and unique thumbprints.  We are wonderfully made by God.  We are thumbodies (well, he is a comedian...).  So I thought our craft could be thumbody portraits (ink stamp prints on paper - they add the unique bodies and features...).   I hope to keep this part pretty open-ended - Because the thumbprints aren't 'realistic' people to start with - we can draw symbols that represent how we think of ourselves - how we want others to see us - how we are fulfilling God's hope in us when He made us.  

Heavenly Father, anoint this ministry with love and understanding.  Help us to learn and fulfill your plan - for us and in the world around us.  Thank you, for your unending love.

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