Discipline - keeping on track
For Christians, following Jesus is sometimes compared to setting out on a journey or embarking on a race through life. There are several Bible passages that pick up on this theme (see Bible passages with a sports theme). It is a journey or race in which there are rules to help everyone keep on track. What are these rules and what does it mean to keep to them? The following idea explores the rules in the Christian's special book (The Bible) and illustrates the good that can come from sticking to these rules with related Bible stories about Daniel and his friends.
Those involved in competitive sports need to keep to the rules - the referee's whistle, the starter's pistol or the umpire's decision. Connect this to the 'golden' rules that you might have established for the classroom, or the school's rules for lunchtime, or those for good playground behaviour. In the journey or race of faith, there are rules too. Christians - and others - turn to the Ten Commandments in particular. In addition, there are many Bible stories that show the good that can come when God's people stick to these rules.
- For the Ten Commandments, see Exodus 20:1 - 17.
- For Jesus' summary of the Ten Commandments, see Mark 12:28 - 31.
- For the story of Daniel and his three friends, see Daniel 1 and 3.
You can find a retelling of these stories in The Barnabas Children's Bible (stories 56, 213, 216, 217).
1. A simple way to teach the commandments is to use the fingers of your two hands, with each digit representing one of the ten commandments. For example:
God is number one, his image is secret, his name is special and his day is holy.
Honour your parents and don't break your marriage (link up the small fingers of both hands for these two commandments);
Don't steal, don't murder, don't lie, don't want what others have.
2. Another way to teach the commandments is to take Jesus' summary of the commandments and turn it into a simple exercise movement. For example:
Love the Lord your God (both hands held up high, pointing upwards)
Love your neighbour... (both hands reaching out wide, pointing away on both sides)
... as you love yourself (= value yourself as the person you were made by God to be) (both hands crossed over your heart)
3. There are many stories in the Christian's special book about God's people being challenged to go off track and forget God's commands. These stories, particularly those about Daniel and his friends, were written to encourage believers to stick to God's rules however strong the temptations are to break them. It is the same for sports men and women - to resist the pressure to use drugs to improve their performance or find other ways to cheat.
4. Tell one of the stories about Daniel and his friends using the Story circles method.
In Daniel 1, Daniel and his friends are challenged to break the rules about what they are allowed to eat. They stick to God's healthy food diet and end up stronger than all the rest.
Have actors come out and act the roles of the king, the guards, Daniel, his friends, the cooks with tempting forbidden food, the other courtiers.
In Daniel 3, Daniel's three friends are challenged to bow down to an idol (link to the second commandment) but they keep the rules and will only worship the one true God. They risk loosing their lives in the furnace but God is faithful and sends an angel to keep them safe in the flames. Even the king is impressed.
Have actors come out and act the roles of the king, the builders, the great statue, the herald, the orchestra, the three friends, the others at court, the furnace and flames.
5. There is also an assembly outline Ten Commandments focusing on the commandments with sections you could use for an RE lesson.