Color My World with Forgiveness
by Amy Swager
Would you like to show your class the power of reconciliation and not just talk about it?
Would you like to show your class the power of Reconciliation and not just talk about it? Here is an activity that truly “illuminates” God’s love and reminds us of the unity we seek in this Sacrament. To help you explain the demonstration to your students, a few helpful statements have been highlighted in bold italics.
You will need a prism (found in most hobby shops), a bright flashlight, paper towels, and some dark grease. Axle grease works great; you can get a small blob from your mechanic. You might want to wear a thin plastic glove on the hand you use to smear the grease.
Close blinds or drapes and turn off lights to make the room as dark as possible. Then shine the flashlight on the ceiling and explain to students how bright God’s love is and how it gives the world light and hope.
Now hold up the prism and explain how the prism is like our hearts. After Baptism, your heart is clean and pure and ready to accept God’s love and use God’s love to make this world a more beautiful place. Shine the light through the prism and make the rainbow appear on the ceiling. This will require some practice ahead of time to find the right angle with the prism to make the best rainbow.
Sometimes, though, you make a bad choice. Maybe it’s just a little sin. Touch your finger to the grease and put just a dot of grease on one side of the prism. Then you lie about the first sin— and look what happens. Smear the dot of grease on the prism. As long as you’ve already messed up, you decide to sin again. You tell yourself that it doesn’t really matter because you’re in trouble anyway. Put a lot of grease all over the prism, covering it completely.
Now God still shines his love on you (shine the flashlight at the prism) but what about your heart? Let the children answer. They will offer something like: “We have covered our hearts with sin so we’re not working with God to shine his love out to the world.”
Allow this idea to sink in and then ask: So what can you do? Even young children will come up with ideas like “apologize,” “ask for God’s help,” “go to confession.” Explain to the children that God wants to share his love with you. He wants you to be on the same team, making the world a more beautiful place. He can clean your heart if you ask him to do that. So you go to confession and say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” and God starts to clean your heart. As you tell your sins, God wipes them away. With a paper towel, wipe the grease from the prism, one side at a time.
Father will say, “I absolve you of your sins”— and guess what? Show the clean prism. Good as new. Now what happens when God’s love shines through your heart?
Shine the light at the prism and let the children enjoy the rainbow. It’s important for students to know that when their hearts are clouded with sin, they always have our Heavenly Father to go to. He want loves them and wants them all to fill the world with kindness and beauty.
Amy Swager has been blessed with a loving husband (Luke), four sons, three daughters, one grandson, and a growing hunger to know God better. She has taught fourth-grade religious education for two years, currently co-teaches the Confirmation class, and has been active with the youth ministry team at St. Martin of Tours Church in Vicksburg, MI.
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