Interfaith Sunday School for Kids

by Vicki Garlock on April 4, 2018

Air Bubbles in Ice
[U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (public domain)]

The Revised Common Lectionary for Sunday, April 8, 2018 can be found here. This post provides Sunday School ideas for lessons/stories based on John 20:19-22.

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked…Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

There are two things from the Jewish tradition that fit nicely with this passage from the Christian Bible.

Hamsa made in Sunday School class at Jubilee! Community Church in Asheville, NC.

When this passage begins, the disciples are afraid and locked in a room. There are many ways to deal with fear; in many cultures, people use amulets for protection. A hand-like icon is one of the most well-known amulet images in the world.

In the Jewish tradition, this is known as a hamsa. It looks approximately like a hand, with the palm facing outward and five “fingers.” Hamsas can be worn as necklaces or hung in a home or office, and the “fingers” can be pointed upwards or downwards. A nice overview of the symbol’s rich history, from the Jewish perspective, can be found here.

For this craft, the kids simply color a hamsa template. Then, we laminate the colored image and cut around it. We make either a necklace or a hanging decoration by punching a hole near the top and running a piece of yarn through it. You can also apply an adhesive magnet to the back if you prefer to hang it that way.

You can download our hamsa template here.

Another interesting concept from Judaism is ruach {ROO-ach, with the “CH” sound made in the back of the throat}. [This 16-second You Tube video will pronounce it for you.] The word “ruach” has various meanings. It can mean “wind” or “spirit,” but it can also refer to the divine force, an inspiration from God, or the spirit of holiness. Here are a few examples of verses from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament where the word “ruach” is used.

Genesis 1:2b (The Creation of the World – English Standard Version)
And the Spirit [Ruach] of God was hovering over the waters.

Job 33:4 (Elihu Rebukes Job – English Standard Version)
The Spirit [Ruach] of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Isaiah 11:2 (The Righteous Reign of the Branch – English Standard Version)
And the Spirit [Ruach] of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Ask the kids what they think about the Jesus story. Do they think it was Jesus’ actual breath? Or, do they think it was something more like ruach/the spirit of holiness?

You can also ask them if they’ve ever felt “the spirit of holiness”? If they have, you can ask them what it felt like. You might be surprised by much they have to say!

Interfaith Sunday School is a weekly blog offering tips for sharing information about the world’s faith traditions to kids. Posts are published on Wednesdays and focus on one of the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday. Questions? Contact us at 

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