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- Chinese (华人事工)
Last week, the Sunday School students discussed good works, those things that we do as God’s hands in the world. The children learned about Dorcas (Greek version of the Aramaic “Tabitha,” which means gazelle) a disciple who lived in a city called Joppa and cared for the poor by making them robes and other clothing (Acts 9:36-43). When Dorcas died, the disciples sent two men to the nearby town of Lydda to ask Peter to come immediately. Peter found Dorcas’s body in an upstairs room where it had been washed and placed; she was surrounded by weeping widows who showed Peter the clothing Dorcas had made for them. After sending everyone out of the room, Peter prayed and asked the deceased woman to get up, which she did. He helped Dorcas to her feet, and called everyone back to present her to them.
While Dorcas’s acts seem humble–the sewing of a garment, the embracing of individuals–in comparison to Peter’s service of reviving her from the dead, we see from this account how significant Dorcas was to this community. We recognize in the widows’ reaction that Dorcas had extended God’s grace and love to them. She exemplified what we learn in Matthew, that those who know God are “the salt of the earth” (5:13) and “light of the world” (5:14). Dorcas’s story is exciting and important for all of us. We may not feel adequate or equipped to be Peters raising the dead, but to provide a piece of clothing? The children recognized that each of us has the capacity to extend love to those who don’t feel it. We discussed scenarios and how to step out of our day-to-day worries and desires to do the good work: What if you’re hurrying down the hall to get in line first and someone you pass drops all his or her books? What if you arrive to your family’s house eager to play with your cousins and you spot your grandfather sitting alone in another room? Every day is ripe with opportunity to shed light and bring flavor to God’s creation.
In the first-second grade classroom, we used hands-on activities as analogies to explore the concepts of light and salt. For light, we used an empty paper towel tube with one end covered in aluminum foil. Though the classroom was flooded with bright light, no matter which direction we turned the tube, it remained dark inside. We turned on a small flashlight, a light that wasn’t stronger or any different than the light all around us; however, when placed inside the darkened tube, this small light flooded it and we discovered at the tube’s bottom a drawing of a figure clasping a heart. We see in this analogy, though our light may seem small compared to God’s, it is no less powerful for it is God working through us; this liberates us from judging our own significance and allows us to just be willing hands for His good works.
For salt of the earth, the children got to taste a small piece of fudge made without salt, and then a second with a few grains of salt added on top. They could immediately taste the difference. We pointed out how such a few grains of salt were so strong, and how salt is used in cooking and baking to make flavor stronger, to make the dish more of itself, just as those who know God can bring life into the fullness of God’s design.
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