Use this preteen Sunday school lesson and ideas to help children deal with grief.
1. Rest in Peace-Before class, go to a cemetery and use newsprint to make pencil rubbings of grave markers. Or if possible, take kids with you during class and hold this lesson at the cemetery. Begin the class by pulling out the rubbings one by one and talking about the information on the tombstone. Ask kids to speculate about the person who was buried there.
2. The Story Stone-Read about the death of Abraham in Genesis 25:1-11. Give each child a sheet of paper. Have them design and write a tombstone for Abraham.
3. Good Grief-Before class begins, write the following Scripture references on separate slips of paper: Psalm 23:4; Matthew 5:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 1 Peter 5:6-7; and Revelation 21:3-4. Fold the pieces of paper and set them aside.
*Say: When we grieve over a person’s death, we’re usually depressed about losing someone we know and love. It helps if we remember Bible verses about how God is with us, especially during times of sadness.
Ask for volunteers to draw a slip, look up the Bible verse, and read it in an easy-to-understand translation. After each verse is read, *ask: How can these words from the Bible help us when we’re grieving?
4. Mourning Into Dancing-Bring to class a piece of burlap. Ask a volunteer to read aloud Psalm 30:10-12.
*Say: When people in the Old Testament grieved, they wore sackcloth. It’s sort of like this burlap. It reminded them of their sorrow and sadness about the person who died. But the psalmist reminds us that it’s our faith in God that eventually takes away sadness and turns it into happiness or dancing.
*Ask: Have you ever had someone close to you die? Explain. What good memories do you have of that person? How has your faith in Jesus helped you get over your sadness?
*Say: You may always feel a little sad when you think of the person who has died. But God helps us get where we’re not as sad as we were at first. God can take away our sadness.
5. Snack-Let the children put together the snack in “Food for Thought.”
FOOD FOR THOUGHT You’ll need: Heat-and-serve bread sticks, no-stick cooking spray, sugar, cinnamon, a knife, and cookie sheets.
Directions: *Say: When we’re sad, we can remember that Jesus is always with us! The cross helps us think about him when we’re sad because someone has died.
Give each child one and a half bread sticks. Have children pinch the long and the short pieces together to form a cross. Have the children sprinkle the top of the cross with sugar and cinnamon. Spray a cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Place crosses on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Then enjoy.
Created for Grades 4 to 6
Elaine Friedrich is a director of elementary ministries in Texas.