Justice and Honesty
Aim: to understand that God knows everything we do
1 Give the children a hypothetical situation: if you were all alone in the playground and you found a pound coin, what would you do? Would you keep it and not tell anyone? After all, nobody would know. Or would you give it to a teacher? What would be the honest thing to do? Why is it good to be honest?
2 Explain that Christians believe God sees everything anyway, so he’s really pleased when we are honest and he’s sad if we’re dishonest, even if nobody else knows what we’ve done. There’s a story in the Bible, in the Old Testament about a dishonest king and queen. You’d think a king and queen might get away with being dishonest, wouldn’t you? But the more important we are, the more God says we should be completely trustworthy.
3 Read yourself or have children perform as scripted the following rap.
A Tale of Blood and Beetroot
Narrators can read the script while other actors mime the parts, or the narrators could also play the parts as they read. In which case
The gardener is A; Jezebel is B; Ahab is C; Naboth is D; Elijah is E
(As they talk the actors take up poses which reflect their character)
A: Picture the scene:
B:A lean mean queen, keen on beans and aubergine.
C:A king with a thing for gardening Deeply deeply steeped in sin.
D:A calm old farmer, never did no harm, Whose yard has a palace panor ama
E: And a prophet of the Lord whose courage we app laud. Uses God’s Word like a two-edged sword….
E: King Ahab’s got plans involving peas
And cauliflowers and cabbages and things like these.
He’s been watching Charlie Dimmock and Gardeners’ Question Hour
And can’t wait to get his royal hands in compost and manure.
The gardeners have said:!
(A bows to C)
A: Your majesty, it’s been hard
To find a better garden
Than Naboth’s little vineyard.
It’s warm, it’s watered, soil’s a dream
It’s perfect, great for lush green growth.
The only trouble that we’ve seen
Is … it belongs to … er … Naboth.
(C approaches D. D is digging but bows humbly as C arrives)
C: So Naboth! What’s it worth, my man? Now, I don’t want to hassle
But it’s the time of year for planting up my Brussels.
So name your price, Naboth, my lad, oh yes and name it quickly
And I’ll get on with transplanting all my purple sprouting broccoli.’
D: Your majesty, I’m sorry, but this vineyard has been handed
Down my family for years, from my great great great great granddad.
‘Don’t sell your family’s land’ – it is in God’s Law, so honesty
Won’t let me sell my land to you, or anyone, your majesty.
A: The king went home and kicked the cat and sniffed and sucked his thumb and pouted
Lay in bed and watched the wall. His royal wishes had been flouted!
Grumped and groused and stropped and moped and in his room stayed silent, skulking,
Till the queen came up at last.
(B treats C like a spoilt baby)
B: My poppet, why’s my baby sulking?
E: The king explained that nasty Naboth simply wouldn’t sell.
C: And it’s too late now for radishes and cucumbers as well.
B: Who’s king round here?
A: The queen demanded, with a mean-eyed look.
B: You shall have Naboth’s vineyard, sweetie, by hook or by crook.
E: And rubbing bony hands together, cackling with glee
She rushed off to plot evil with a big capital E.
(B points in all directions as if bossing everyone around)
B: Call the town together, pay the private investigator
Or better, two, to shout that they’ve found Naboth is a traitor.
That he’s insulted God and king with dreadful things he’s said.
Then drag Naboth outside and stone him till he’s dead.
(A mimes stoning D. D dies)
A: The deed was done. Naboth was killed. Up went Queen Jezebel
To Ahab. Said:
B: You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell?
He’s dead. It’s yours. Go plant your seeds. Enjoy the exercise.
I’ve heard that blood and bone make simply perfect fertilizers.
(C mimes gardening)
E: As the king dashed off to play with spade and fork and barrow
To sow his spinach, tend his turnips, mulch his favourite marrow,
The wrath of God rose like a storm at so much blatant sin.
A: ‘That’s murder! Greed! Deceit! Betrayal! Get Elijah in!’
(E folds his arms and stands in front of C looking stern)
E: Elijah found King Ahab to confront him with the deed.
The king looked up from dibbling and went as pale as swede.
C: You’ve found me then, my enemy?
A: He said, his voice was hoarse.
C: I knew I couldn’t hide from God.
A: Elijah said:
E: Of course.
Ahab, you’ve done the worst things that you possibly could.
The things God hates – and now, well, Ahab, blood calls out for blood.
Just as you wiped out Naboth so will God wipe out your line.
All your family will perish. And as for your foul queen.
Where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, dogs will eat her too.
Oh Ahab look, and see how low your selfishness brought you.’
(B and C die horrible deaths)
A: It all came true. Justice was done. But what a price to pay
Because a spoilt and greedy couple had to have their way.
(As each person speaks, take up a dramatic pose)
E: So learn from them! God sees injustice, hates what isn’t fair.
D: His mighty voice is for the weak. You criminals, beware!
B: What’s done in secret, right or wrong, remember this: God sees!
C: So love God and your neighbours and take care where you plant peas.
ALL: Lettuce pray… (bow heads in prayer)
Thank you God that you want us to live in a safe place where we can all trust each other. When we are tempted to tell lies or to steal, please remind us how happy you are when we are honest. Help us to tell the truth and to be honest, even when it’s really hard.