Have children name the parts of the body that your congregation uses in worship – mouths for singing, ears for listening to the Bible, minds for thinking about God, etc. South Africans can teach North Americans much about worshiping with all of ourselves. Ask children to think of ways they might use the parts of the body they didn’t mention when answering the first question – legs for dancing, hands for clapping/drumming/working, eyes for seeing God’s beauty, tongues for tasting the goodness of food God has given, etc.
Participating: Go outdoors and ask children to name where they see God – parents playing with their children in parks, birds singing praises, flowers reflecting God’s beauty, children sharing balls or jump ropes, rain watering plants for growth, people without homes sharing coffee, etc.
Ask, “How might we join in what God is doing right now?” Responses may be, “Asking kids who aren’t playing to join our soccer game/our jump-rope group,” or “Inviting hungry people to share our food,” or “Cleaning up the litter that harms God’s creation.” Find ways to engage in the activities the kids mention.
If the class has picked up litter in alleys or along roadsides, ask if there are ways to use any of the gathered objects in worship – pebbles in a tin can may be made into a percussion instrument with a bit of duct tape sealing the open end, cardboard boxes can serve as a drum, collages or mobiles can be fashioned with found “treasures,” aluminum cans may be recycled for cash that can be contributed to the offering, etc.
Children may want to draw pictures of ways they worship God, incorporating some of the objects collected on their outdoor excursion.
Some class members may want to write a skateboarding/soccer prayer or a worshipful jump-rope chant. The class might work collectively to put these words into a song or a rap accompanied by dancing with the recycled drums and shakers. If the class doesn’t compose their own music, they could learn one of the South African songs in Hymnal: A Worship Book (#64, #434 or #583). Songs from other African countries include #267, #397 and #422. God loves all his many people, #397, fits well with “the Rainbow Nation” theme. In Sing the Journey, South African songs include #2, #57, #78 and #88.