During COVID-19 restrictions, I designed a class chapel game for our Reception – Year 2 students. You need a giant ball of wool for this game, the following Kimochi feeling cards,
and the adapted bible verses from Philippians 4:4-7:
Rejoice with God! Again I say, Rejoice.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone.
Do not worry about anything,
but talk and pray about everything,
so you can experience God’s peace.
To begin our game, I held onto a strand of wool and then threw the ball of wool to a student who chose a Kimochi feeling card. They then shared something about that feeling. E.g., I feel happy when I play with my dog. I feel sad when my mum goes to work. I am thankful for my friends. I am brave when I go to the doctor. I am kind when I play with my brothers and sisters.
After each student’s turn, they held onto their strand of wool and threw the ball to another student who shared something about the same feeling. At different intervals, other students chose another feeling card and then shared their experiences of this feeling. When everyone had their turn, we had made a beautiful web of the things in our life that had either brought us joy, worry, gratitude or peace.
As we laid down our web of life, I used the feeling cards and our conversation to introduce our bible reading from Philippians 4:4-7.
Rejoice with God! Again I say, Rejoice. There are so many things in our daily lives that bring us joy; we need to be aware of this and take the time to look for and name those things.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. In choosing to show kindness and care to those, we interreact with, we are being expressions of God’s loving presence.
Be Thankful. Sometimes we forget to thank God for the blessing in our lives and those who help us each day. When we are aware of these blessings and the people who nurture us, we can create a positive attitude within ourselves which can then allow us to look more positively at our life circumstances.
Do not worry about anything, but talk and pray about everything. Everyone has worries and problems that cause us concern. We are not meant to hold onto these feelings. They are intended to be shared with those we trust and spending time with God in prayer so that we can experience
the peace of God which passes all understanding. When we name the things that we are fearful of, God’s peace can give us the strength to face, cope and deal with these concerns in the hope that we can eventually move forward. As we experience this peace, we can then look into our world with a different set of eyes and once again be able to name the joy and blessings in our lives.
I gave each student a set of Kimochi cards to remind them of the different feelings that we can experience each day. The cards were a prompt for each student to stop, think, and name their feelings or thoughts and to share this with others or God.
Whilst I have simplified this reading for our younger students, I believe that this reading can benefit all ages as it reminds us that there is a cyclic rhythm to our lives that invite us to look for, rely on, and emulate God’s presence in our daily lives.
This cycle begins with looking into our world each day and naming the simple things that bring us joy, pleasure and contentment. These experiences are a significant part of our connection and relationship with God. They allow us to experience a gentleness and peace that we can emulate in our daily living. They also create in us a spirit of gratitude. These experiences then spiritually and mentally prepare us to cope with the fears and worries that arise in our lives. There is the realisation that God is present in all the seasons of our life. In the dark and troubling times, we can turn to God in prayer. We can name our concerns so that we can open ourselves to the peace and tranquillity of God, which can then lead us back to the opening verse of this bible reading by being able to see and acknowledge the simple joys and pleasures of life.
As we continue to live with and enter a new way of dealing with COVID-19, may this reading from Philippians 4:4-7 remind our students, staff and ourselves to look for daily blessings, be God’s gentle presence and draw on God’s sustaining peace so that we can experience and emulate God’s loving and comforting presence in all aspects of our lives.