This will be my last Sabbath teaching Primary for a long time to come, as our mission is coming to an end. Teaching little children has been a great blessing the last 18 months or so. Preparing the lessons, I'm reminded of the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though they are easy enough for 4-7 year-old children to understand, they are important principles. While changes in children are blatant and huge over a short period of time, changes adults are subtle. Participating in their transformation, I've been given a front row seat to the miracles of free-agency and charity. These little people bring true joy to all those who are routing in their corner.
This week's lesson is Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, a principle often ignored in this modern age.
I'll give each child a blank month calendar with Sunday's colored red. We'll discuss calendar usage and what is special about Sunday. I'll tell the children that since the beginning of the world, one day each week has been set apart for learning and thinking about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and for doing good to others. This day is called the Sabbath.
I'll read. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it," Exodus 20:8-11. I'll explain that keeping the Sabbath day holy means we do things that remind us of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, such as going to church, reading the scriptures, and doing other reverent things. We should not work on Sunday, if possible, and we should not do things that keep us from thinking about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Next, we'll play a bean bag game, where I ask them if certain activities should be done on the Sabbath: church, house cleaning, visiting relatives, shopping, movies, reading scripture or other wholesome things, praying, sports, TV, going for a walk, playing games with family, visiting the sick.
Next, I'll read Jesus Healing a Man with a Withered Hand. "And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other," Matthew 12:10-13. I'll explain that the Pharisees were people who didn’t like Jesus Christ and what he did. They tried to trap him into saying things that were wrong or against the law. Jesus pointed out that if the Pharisees had a sheep that fell in a hole on the Sabbath, they would help it out. Since people are more important than sheep, helping people is a good thing to do on the Sabbath. If an activity is something that Jesus would do, such as helping or being kind to others, it is a good thing to do on the Sabbath day.
Next, I'll talk to them about preparing for the sabbath: washing and ironing clothes to wear to church, cleaning the house, preparing meals to eat on the Sabbath, and finding scriptures and other items needed for church. We'll sing Saturday is a Special Day: Saturday is a special day. It's the day we get ready for Sunday. We clean the house and we shop at the store, so we won't have to work until Monday. We press our clothes and we shine our shoes and we call it our get the work done day. We trim or nails and we shampoo our hair, so we will be ready for Sunday.
Finally we have a cute little activity book to color. I don't usually like canned activities, but this one also has a space for my favorite narration drawing activity. While we are coloring, I'll bear my testimony to the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. To give them some ideas for ways to keep the day holy without boredom, I'll tell them how I keep my both my online and art journals, walk in nature, play my instruments/sing, write letters to family and friends, and play games with my family.