Theme: “Is that fair?”
Familiarise yourself with the story so that you can tell it in your own words.
Lookout some suitable props to illustrate your introduction eg sweets, stickers etc.
Children have a very clear sense of what is fair and what isn’t. Choose some relevant examples of fair/unfair actions and choose some children to help to act them out, eg – allowing a goal when the player is offside, giving sweets to just the girls in the class when everyone’s worked hard, taking playtime away from someone who hasn’t done anything wrong, giving everyone a Good sticker even though some have not done as they were told etc. You may want to actually at this out, rather than just talking about it, by giving out treats or house points randomly.
Emphasise the point in conclusion that people consider something is ‘fair’ if it complies with the rules involved; eg punishment for something wrong, reward for something right.
Tell the story of the Labourers in the vineyard. Ask the children if they think that the landowner was fair. Was it right that everyone should be paid the same even though some had done a lot more work? You may even want to link this to / have a debate on jobs today – is it fair that a footballer is paid more than a nurse for example?
Explain that Jesus’ story is about God and the way he treats us. God isn’t fair because he doesn’t treat us as we deserve to be treated. He continues to love us and cares for us no matter how we behave. God only follows the Rule of Love in his Kingdom. He loves everyone equally, so everyone matters the same, nobody is better than the others in God’s thinking.
So can we try to be like Him and do things for others without looking for any reward in return, i.e. out of love for them as people, not out of personal wants..
Perhaps begin with some quiet reflection considering those for whom life does not seem fair; the hungry, the homeless, the sad, the lonely. Return to the prayer of St Francis of Assisi you used last week:
Lord, make us instruments of Thy peace
Where there is hatred, let us sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is discord, union
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not seek so much to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And dying we are born to eternal life.
Talk about how you can live out the prayer in your own lives.
also this week you could think about love in action: Luke chp 10 vss 29-37 – the Good Samaritan; Exodus chp 1 vs 8 – chp 2 vs 10 – the birth of Moses; Mark chp 2 vss 1-12 the friends of the paralysed man, also many modern examples – including ones from your own community