Peter and Cornelius
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Everyone - Using the program Actual Reality (out of print-but kept here as many rotation churches have it), we will apply the story of Peter and Cornelius to contemporary racial tensions. This program is designed for teenagers, but the section on “Color Blind” has some excellent discussion starters and graphics that will also appeal to younger children.
Cal and Marty’s Scripture Memory Game (older grades, optional). Children can build their speed for the memory verse or any other related verses with this program This software is FREE to supporting members! Check it out.
is found in the Bible Background forum.
- Children can state at least one reason that Peter might not have liked Cornelius.
- Children can identify prejudices in their school or neighborhood.
- Children can apply the lesson Peter learned to situations in their school or neighborhood.
- Extra adult readers (one per computer for younger groups, one per two computers, older groups)
- Paper easel
- Pictures of a Hebrew Peter and a Greek soldier Cornelius
- Pictures of an American dressed child and a child dressed in traditional clothes of another culture. (If possible have all pictures blown up so they can be seen across the room)
- Paper for making notes
- Read the biblical background notes and answer the questions raised in the “themes” section to figure out what this story means to you.
- Read through the lesson and decide how best to manage your time
- Know the programs. You must check them out ahead of time if you are going to be an effective leader.
In Actual Reality CD:
- Go to: Stuff to know - Newspaper - Are You Color Blind?
- To reach the different sections in “Are You Color Blind?” you click on the letters C O (first only) L and R.
In Cal and Marty CD
- You need to open an existing verse set – saved under “Peter and Cornelius.”
- Instruct children to play Acts 10:28b first and other related verses after they have mastered the main memory verse for this section. (Note: Churches will need to input this verse into the game. It is recommended that older children do the inputting themselves as part of the lesson).
Show pictures of “Peter” and “Cornelius” and ask the children to describe what they see different about the two people. Point out that Cornelius was a soldier, and that some of the soldiers carried out orders to kill Christians (although there is no mention of Cornelius doing this, Peter certainly would have been justified in being afraid of him or suspecting a trap.)
Explain what else was different about them: what they ate, cleanliness laws, etc. If this is the second week or later you can ask the children for some differences.
Did Peter and Cornelius think these differences were important?
Does God think these differences are important?
Read key passages from the story:
Show pictures of contemporary children and ask the children to describe what is different.
Are those differences important to you? To people at your school?
Are those differences important to God?
Move the picture of the child from another culture next to the “American” picture.
Ask: If this child were to come to your school, how do you think s/he’d be treated?
Move the picture of the “American” child next to the one from the other culture
If you were to move to (country name), how do you think you’d be treated?
Read/summarize the story of Peter and Cornelius emphasizing and reading together Acts 10:23b-28, 10:44-48.
- Who decided that Cornelius was okay? (God)
- Who decided that Cornelius should become part of the church? (God)
- Why did Peter decide to baptize Cornelius? (God had already given the Holy Spirit)
Pass out a navigation sheet for running through the Actual Reality program.
Remind them that when there is something from this story that reminds you of the Peter and Cornelius story, you are to make a note of it.
- How is this section on “Color Blind” remind you of what happened in Acts 10?
- Are Christians supposed to be color blind?
- Why do you think some people make judgments based upon someone’s skin color?
- What do you think Christians should do when they see prejudice?
If you get a good discussion going in the main lesson about racial issues, you can continue to discuss it, referring back to your scripture or the computer lesson as needed. If discussion has faltered, finish with memory verse work or journaling.
Memory Verse – Cal and Marty’s Scripture Memory Game – open existing verse set – Peter and Cornelius (or have the kids input it, adding their own commentary and quiz to go along with it, then have them switch computers, --playing each other's version of their memory verse).
Give the children one of the themes below – whatever seems to be most appropriate given your discussions. Use WordPad to journal. Print out at the end of class.
- Make diary entries for Peter, beginning before the dream and ending after the meeting with the Jerusalem church.
- As Peter, write two letters to Cornelius before you have the dream and again after you have met him.
- Re-write the Peter and Cornelius story as if these two were kids that went to your school, and the differences weren’t Jew/Greek, but white/black, or American/immigrant.
- Write a letter of apology to someone that you have picked on because of outside appearances. Use Acts 10 in your letter.
- Write a letter to someone who picks on other kids, and explain what God wants using Acts 10 in your letter.
Adjustments for age levels and abilities
I went through the “Color Blind” section with my 5 year old and she enjoyed the graphics and stories told there, but I don’t know that she got anything out of the message even with my prompting. Part of the reason, I think, is because she has led a protected life and is “color blind.” I took the approach with her that one of the bad things she might learn in kindergarten is that some people treat people with different skin color differently, and that we believe that is wrong. I’m not exactly sure at what age children become aware of racism, but we should keep in mind that for some younger ages this lesson is more “prevention” than “cure.” For the younger child, focus on the message that God created us each exactly the way God wants us to be – my daughter really liked the idea of God making someone blue -- and that it is our insides, not our outsides that count with God.
Jesus dealt with this issue a lot.... whether it was people who were cast-out because of their health (lepers), or ethnic group (Samaritans), or sin (woman caught), or job (Zaccheus). How do we see past these things?
BLINDFOLD your kids, and invite other kids to read from a script while wearing silly clothes and hats. The blindfolded kids won't know why others are laughing. Was it what came "out of" the person? No. It was something silly like their appearance that others reacted to. Jesus said it wasn't what WENT IN, but what CAME OUT of a person that matttered.
A lesson written by Lisa Martin from: Trinity UCC
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