The Tearing and Restoring Magic Trick
that illustrates brokenness and restoration
The following "notes" describe what could be an opening lesson demonstration by the teacher which is then taught to the students (kids love to learn tricks), and would serve as something they could demonstrate to others.
Note below how I've added a follow up that turns the trick into a bit of an art project that has deeper theological meaning. These are just notes. At the time of writing, I have not yet done this lesson. But I have done and then taught magic tricks with my Sunday School kids. They love it.
Youtube has several versions of this trick. The napkin version shown above requires some "palming" of the paper but is really easy to teach.
In the classic "torn paper" version of this trick, the magician prepares two pieces of paper. The first piece is repeatedly folded into a small folded package and then glued to the back upper corner of the second unfolded sheet (or simply holding it in the upper corner). The audience can't see the paper you folded behind the unfolded one because it is hidden behind the sheet and by your hand. To perform the trick, the magician starts to tear the unfolded sheet several times and then folds it up -- keeping the previously folded full sheet hidden behind the newly torn pieces. Once they've torn it enough, they simply FLIP the torn and folded piece in their hand and begin to UNFOLD the untorn sheet -- keeping the torn pieces behind it.
The "napkin" version of the torn paper trick might be easier for younger students and hands.
As we teach this trick to our students....
I wonder if we should draw the outline of a person on the napkin before we tear it, and on the whole napkin that is in your hand.
I wonder what we should say as we tear the first napkin.
To be healed or restored doesn't mean we don't bear the scars or signs of our brokenness. In a literal sense, we like the Prodigal Son, his father, and older brother still remember our sins, what went wrong, and have regrets. Jesus gives us rest and relief, but our "scars" still itch! ...probably to remind us of what we once were and have been saved from.
To illustrate this, we are going to create and then "tear" a labeled representation of ourselves, then "heal" it by taping it back together with "love/forgiveness."
During the tearing process, the teacher can suggest things or ask individual students to contribute an idea of "what breaks a person." What sins hurt us. Each student will end up with a torn representation of themselves. Older kids can discuss the "ways which some people" try to heal themselves (possessions, drugs, money, prestige). Forgiveness is one step toward healing, but what are some of the other "tools" (tapes) that God gives us to continue our restoration? (Prayer, worship, service, scripture, humility, etc.) Write these things on masking tape and begin to restore your person by taping yourself back together. (Such healing is done through the spirit which can work through our own acts of healing and through others whom God sends to us, and all these opportunities to continue to receive healing.
"Justification" and "Sanctification" are the classic theological explanations for our being "saved" restored, reconciled to God, and the ONGOING need to engage in "saving" healing practices.
Young children might benefit from writing on bandaids and restoring their person with those.
And it goes without saying that real saving is no trick.