We Are the Body of Christ
by Judith Costello
As the Body of Christ, we are called to be Jesus' hands in the world. We fulfill this mission when we work together and spread his love.
As the Body of Christ, we are called to be Jesus’ hands in the world. We fulfill this mission when we work together and spread his love.
To make this message into a visual activity for a large group of active boys and girls, I created a game. But first we discussed the message.
I reminded the children about how mean or rude behavior can spread. We talked about how one mean gesture toward another student can hurt that person’s feelings. That person, then, might go home sad and be mean to family members. From there, the mean or rude behavior could spread into the neighborhood—maybe even out into the whole world. Jesus would be disappointed if we live in that way.
But the opposite is also true. If a person is kind and thoughtful, goodness has the possibility of transforming everyone. Kind and thoughtful behavior spreads the love of Jesus into the world. We are truly being his hands.
To help the children see this image of spreading goodness, we played with dominoes. Here’s how the activity works.
1. Cover a large table with butcher paper. On the butcher paper, draw a large figure of Jesus, leaving the body area of the Jesus figure empty.
2. Ask students to make small self-portraits out of card stock. These self-portraits are attached to dominoes with rubber bands.
3. Give each student a small pile of dominoes. The dominoes represent the people in their lives. Have students think of something Christ-like that they could share with the group. (Some in my group said they would pray, help at home, be kind, say nice things, or share faith.)
4. One by one, have students line up their dominoes behind their self-portrait within the Body of Christ (the empty area in the figure of Jesus), share their Christ-like actions with the group, and then touch the self-portraits to trigger chain reactions of the dominoes falling over.
This activity helps reinforce an important idea: We never know how many people may benefit from a smile or a kind word. But we can be sure that Jesus will use our goodness to benefit many others.
Here are two books that include awesome illustrations to reinforce this idea:
Love Can Build a Bridge by Naomi Judd and Suzanne Duranceau, including a song by Naomi Judd (HarperCollins)
One Smile by Cindy McKinley and Mary Gregg Byrne (Illumination Arts Publishing Co.)
I send these books home for my students to read on their own time.
Of note: Some teachers say “Never loan books. They won’t come back.” But I find that the books I lend always do come back—sometimes in unexpected ways. I trust that God is at work when the books circulate.
Judith Costello writes for national and regional publications and is a Third Order Carmelite (OCSD). She is an artist, freelance writer, and catechist. Judith can be reached at Judith@parentingwithspirit.com.
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