This is a Sharing Time I did this year on the topic of Repentance. (Previous entries in my Primary ideas series are A Chieko Okazaki Sharing Time Lesson and How to Sincerely Enjoy Working in Nursery.)
- Plain Tshirt (that can be thrown away)
- 6-10 miscellaneous costume accessories (hats, scarves, jackets, wigs, wings, tutus). It works best if these are things that would partially obscure, but not entirely cover, a Tshirt.
- A hanger for each accessory in #3, plus one more
- With Sharipe, write “I told a lie” in large block letters across the front of Tshirt
- Label each costume accessory hanger by attaching 8.5×11″ paper with one of the following phrases:
- Pretend it never happened.
- Make up an excuse.
- Do something good to make up for it.
- Tell more lies to cover it up.
- Blame it on someone else.
- Get rid of the evidence.
- Say that telling a lie isn’t bad after all.
- Label an empty hanger “JESUS CHRIST ATONED FOR OUR SINS”
- You will need some kind of rack system to hold all the hangers. You could string yarn/wire from hook to hook using the hooks that many church blackboards have across the top. You could hang all the hangers on one sturdy hanger, then hang that hanger on said hooks. A coat rack would probably be easiest if you have one. (I used the many hangers on one hanger method.) It doesn’t matter if they are clumped together and not displayed so that you can see all of them at once. In fact, it can add drama to reveal them one at a time with only small preview glimpses of the upcoming ones.
Start wearing the shirt. You can cover it with a coat and then reveal it, or just have it visible from the start. Explain that you did something wrong. For Junior Primary, have one child read the words on the shirt for everyone else. Show the children with your body language that you feel bad about what you have done. Tell the children you feel bad about what you have done, and you would really like to get rid of the bad feeling.
Then say that you have some ideas for how you can get rid of the bad feeling. Take one of the hangers off the rack and read the idea for getting rid of the sin. Take the associated costume item and put it on. Ask the children if it made your sin go away. Your shirt is still visible, so the children will say no. Take each item in turn, trying in vain to cover up the words on your shirt. Some of the items cover your sin a little bit, and you can try to stretch them over your shirt as best you can. But even to the extent that it is covered, we know the sin is still there! Your increasing exasperation with so many failed attempts, and your increasingly fabulous appearance, are the attention-getters for this lesson.
Finally, give up and take off all the costume accessories that didn’t work. As one final attempt, take the hanger labeled “Jesus Christ atoned for our sins.” Express real hope about this option, but also some confusion–there’s nothing on the hanger! How does this work?? Take off the Tshirt and place it on the hanger, and hang it back up on the rack. Explain that repentance through the atonement of Jesus Christ is the only way we can actually get rid of our sins, instead of just trying to cover them up. When we repent, we take off our sins and Jesus puts them on himself through the atonement. Then we are truly free of our sins.