Church School (Ruth)

This lesson on Ruth was intended to span one six-week period (Lent, originally) and introduce the Charter of Compassion’s themes.  There is a companion outline for worship (here).

Story:

Really insightful article about teaching bible stories to children!!!  Does the Torah Belong in Picture Books

Themes:

  1. Food Security – Refugees in Moab (search for food) and then gleaning in Bethlehem.
  2. Trickery – Ruth and Naomi’s plan to get Boaz’ attention.  Familiar tricksters include:  Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Anansi,
  3. Family – Defying the societal definitions of family, Ruth stays with Naomi.
  4. Courage – Both women demonstrate remarkable courage as they walk into foreign lands.
  5. Grief – Naomi lost her husband and both sons, and yet she lived.
  6. Inclusion – Ruth was a Moabite and was embraced by Naomi’s Jewish community in Bethlehem.
  7. Holiday – Shavout (the giving of the Torah) is the (Jewish) holiday based on this story (harvest)…  49 days after Passover.

Prayers:

Thank you, God,
for friends and family,
for stories about friends and family,
and for the story of for Ruth and Naomi.  Amen.

Thank you, God, for rain and sunshine,
or flowers and the roots that grow under them,
for unlikely friends and loving family. Amen.

Lesson Outlines:

Date Theme for Ruth Story Activities
March 13There are lots of family structures in the world and in our church. Family – Defying the societal definitions of family, Ruth stays with Naomi. Naomi had a husband and two sons, but after her husband died and then even her sons, she thought she was all alone.  Ruth, who had been married to Naomi’s son, told Naomi that the two of them were family.   This made Naomi very happy.  Our families all look different and sometimes they change.  Who’s in your household? Some people live with a mom and dad, or a grandma or grandpa, or two moms, or whatever. The Family Book by Todd ParrFamily and Pet Graphing: Family members and favorite pets would be graphed.  Pictures are found in the theme unit could be used to make a pictograph.Great worksheets for conversations by Parr

Make a “blessing our families” certificate and/or button.  Supplies from the Gateway ONA Pride box in Katy’s closet … including a bunch of stamps of people and pets!

March 20There is some sensitivity around using food as a craft item, since some folks don’t have enough food to waste it in this way. Another idea is to use bird seed instead of human food, which would also lend itself to gluing. What doesn’t get gleaned can go out in the church yard for the birds. How about the one by Jan Brett? And Thunder Cake, a great book about gathering ingredients, but a bit off the topic of wheat. Food Security – Refugees in Moab (search for food) and then gleaning in Bethlehem. When Ruth and Naomi had made the long trip back to Naomi’s home in Bethlehem, they had no jobs and way to buy food.  But in this land, when people gathered the harvest from their fields, they always left some along the edges for anyone who was hungry.  Even though they didn’t have a farm of their own or money to buy bread, Ruth was able to go to the field to gather grain.(“Bread Comes to Life”: Using the grain Ruth gathered, Naomi could make bread for both of them.  Did you ever wonder where your bread comes from?)

(“Pigeon”: Sharing was important for Ruth and Naomi, it is important even now. But sharing isn’t always what we want to do.  We are going to read a story today about a pigeon who had a hotdog and a duck who wanted a bite of it.)

Bread comes to life by Levenson, Thalersee
also: The Pigeon finds a Hot Dog by Willem
Bread Comes to Life:

  • Collecting wheat… wheat is a main ingredient in bread.   Baking bread.
  • Gleaning Wheat -Supplies: small bowls, storage boxes, sand (or sugar, salt, or cornmeal), grains from dried wheat (or rice or dried peas or beans) Give each child a small bowl. Divide the children into groups. Give each child a storage box with sand in it. Put grains from dried wheat (available at craft stores) in the sand and mix them together. Instruct the children that their job is to pick out the grains and “gather a bushel”. Explain that they are gleaning grain, just as Ruth did for Naomi.
  • Follow this with gluing grains to paper?

Pigeon:

 

March 27Talk with the kids about how sneaky a mouse can be.  Have they ever tried to catch one in the house?  Have they seen the tiny holes that mice can use? Trickery – Ruth and Naomi’s plan to get Boaz’ attention.  Familiar tricksters include:  Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Anansi, et al.Ruth had traveled with Naomi to a land far from her home.  Naomi was the only person that she knew and neither one had money, a job, or a house.  They both had to work very hard to find food to eat and places to stay. One day Naomi had an idea for Ruth to marry Boaz because Boaz had a farm and could take care of them.  The two women had to figure out a way to get Boaz’ attention, and they did!  Sometimes we use our hands and feet to work hard, sometimes we use our brains.  (In the story of this story of the Gingerbread Baby, the Gingerbread Baby has to be thinking fast!) OR (In the story, “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie”, the mouse is a very smart mouse!) Gingerbread Baby by Jan Bret

Another similar option: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, or others in the series.

 

April 3How are two people/animals/objects alike, how are they different, and we’re all in the same group/class together because we celebrate differences. Inclusion – Ruth was a Moabite and was embraced by Naomi’s Jewish community in Bethlehem.When Ruth married Naomi’s son, the two women became family. But they had many differences.  Ruth was from Moab, Naomi from Bethlehem.  Naomi was Jewish, Ruth was not.  When Ruth came to live in Naomi’s hometown, the people of the town learned to embrace someone who was different from them.  Sometimes there are differences even in our own families.  Papa Jethro is a story about a family, like Ruth and Naomi’s, that has differences Papa Jethro (Cohen, Dippold) - A book about interfaith familiessee also:What I Like About Me by Zolan
Whoever You Are by Foxor any comparison books about things alike and different? Comparing animals, shapes, etc.

Friendship Wreath (craft)
Friendship Pin (craft)

Blessing our Families certificates/buttons (see above)

April 10 Courage – Both women demonstrate remarkable courage as they walk into foreign lands. The story of Ruth and Naomi is a story about friendship between two women who are very different but who share a common sadness.  In order to help one another, they reach beyond their difference and find new healing from their sadness.  The story of Owen and Mzee is also a story of unlikely friends who find each other in a very sad time. Best Friends (Owen and Mzee) – simple versionOwen and Mzee, the Remarkable Story of FriendshipTara and Bella (dog and elephant)

The Owen and Mzee website with all kinds of great resources (videos too!)

“Stick Together” Relay - Divide your children up into teams of two. Give each team a balloon. Tell your children that they have to get the balloon down to the other end of the room around a chair and back to the beginning to the line, but they can’t use their hands, arms, mouths, or feet except to pick up and place the balloon at the beginning of the game. Tell your children they can decide where they want to place the balloon, but they must do it as a team and remember to “Stick Together” just like Naomi and Ruth did in the Bible lesson. They may want to place the balloon between their arms, on their hips, between their shoulders, etc.

April 17 – Palm Sunday Grief – Naomi lost her husband and both sons, and yet she lived.We learn many stories about families in our bible.  We learn about Ruth and her family, and we learn about her great-great-great grandson, Jesus.  The stories of Jesus we learn are mostly about his special teachings, but we also tell stories of when he was born, of his family, and even the sad story of when he died.  Today is Palm Sunday, a day to remember a time before the sadness when Jesus’ friends had gathered together in Jerusalem for a holiday called Passover.  As they came into the city, his friends say that people were so happy to see Jesus that they threw their clothes on the street to make a path for him and cut palm branches to wave as they shouted “Hosanna”  (Happy Day!).