Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will watch the Veggie Tales movie Esther and will reflect on how they can and should speak up for what is right.
The Book of Esther
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)
Lesson Objectives for the Esther rotation
By the end of the rotation, the students
- will learn where Esther is in the Old Testament and be able to locate the book.
- will learn that God is always watching over them.
- will learn that God always helps His people.
- will learn that God is in control and that we should worship Him.
- will be able to repeat the memory verse.
Additional objectives for Movie workshop
At the end of the session, the students will be able to
- recognize that standing up for their faith is not always easy, and sometimes involves great risk.
Teacher preparation in advance:
- Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study, Saturday, ___ at the church. It will be very important for you to attend this study led by ___. Please RSVP to ___ (also let her know if you need child care that morning).
- Learn the memory verse.
- Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.
- The bin with supplies is located in the Children’s Ministries Office. Purchase or request additional supplies from ___.
- Preview the video. Be familiar with the places where the video should be stopped for discussion. (Neil MacQueen’s "Two Most Important SHOWING TIPS: 1.) Use the PAUSE button. It’s your most powerful ‘video’ teaching tool. 2.) Don’t be afraid to view an important scene a second time. Kids (and adults) watch movies over and over all the time.")
- Cue video to starting place (right after the lost puppies audition song). We won't show the opening.
- Make two sets of cards for the memory verse review game. Write each word or phrase from the verse on a separate 8½x11 piece of paper.
Students will sit in seats or on the floor facing the video/projection screen.
- Popcorn, lemonade or water and cups, wet wipes, vcr setup, Bibles, 2 sets of memory verse cards.
- Video: Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen, Big Idea’s Veggie Tales, 2000, (Available through discount retailers, amazon.com,...) About 36 minutes long.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge.
Tell the children that today they are going to see a movie about a young woman named Esther. Ask them what they know about her story and fill in the rest. Tell them Esther had to do something that she didn’t really want to do. It was hard for her, but she knew that it was what God wanted her to do.
Ask them what "hard things" they have to do that they don't like. How do they decide to do them?
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Tell the children: "This is a long story in the Bible, and we do not have time to read the entire story and see the video. Briefly, the king of Persia, Xerxes, has selected a beautiful young Jewish woman to be his queen. Her cousin, Mordecai, told her to keep her Jewish nationality a secret. King Xerxes made a man named Haman his chief advisor. However, Mordecai (Esther’s cousin) would not bow down to Haman. So Haman, with King Xerxes’ permission, proclaimed that on a certain day, all Jewish people were to be killed. Obviously, Mordecai is very upset. In our Bible reading, he gets word of this to his cousin Queen Esther in the palace. (Have your Bible open in front of you to reinforce with the children that the story comes from the Bible.)
Read the scripture: Esther 4: 7-17. (Encourage the children to use their Bibles in looking up verses; show them how to use the Table of Contents to find Esther. )
Before beginning the video, talk about the differences between the Veggie Tale version and the Bible:
- there is a talent contest to select the new queen (in the Bible it is based on beauty)
- punishment is banishment to the Land of Perpetual Tickling (rather than death)
- peas want to smash king with a piano (assassins’ planned method not detailed in the Bible)
- Mordecai went straight to Esther to ask her to go to the King for help (rather than through her attendant — he was not allowed in the palace as he was wearing mourning clothes: sackcloth and ashes)
- everything was happily-ever-after after Esther told King Xerxes about Haman’s plot and he was banished (rather than the King’s decree permitting people to kill the Jews was still standing)
Tell the children: "While you’re watching the video...."
- notice what the king was like. Was he a nice guy or did he just do what he liked? Is he very bright or a good leader?
- think about what Haman wants. What was Haman willing to do to get what he wanted?
- see if you can figure out what Esther feels about King Xerxes and what he feels for her.
- notice the scribe (Larry the Cucumber) writing everything down. Why is this important?
Pass out wipes, popcorn and drinks.
Start the video. (Don’t dim the lights too much as you will be stopping frequently for brief discussion.)
This is a long video, so we are beginning when King Xerxes is selecting a new Queen (right after the lost puppy audition song). At the beginning of the movie, Esther had gone to her cousin Mordecai about how she could do the right thing when she saw a friend steal an apple — she was afraid to say anything. Mordecai had told her, "You never have to be afraid to do what’s right." Also, Haman dislikes Mordecai, who will not bow to him.
STOP after Haman posts the edict sending Mordecai’s family to the island of perpetual tickling.
Q Why did Haman say Mordecai and his family can’t be trusted? What was Haman’s real problem with Mordecai?
STOP the video after Mordecai’s speech: "I can’t tell you what to do....for such a time as this....you never have to be afraid to do what is right. I’ll pray for you. We’ll all pray for you."
Q What should Esther do? Why? Why doesn’t she want to do that?
Q What would you have told Esther if you had been there?
STOP the video after Esther says to King Xerxes, "I’d like you and Haman to come to dinner tonight." (The first time.)
Q Why didn’t Esther tell King Xerxes right then about the disaster facing her family?
Watch the video to the end.
"Any questions or comments about the video?"
Pulling it all together (closing discussion):
- What would you tell a friend who is afraid to speak up when she/he sees other people doing things that are wrong?
- Can you think of a time when you wanted to do what was right, but you were scared? What did you do?
- Is it easier to do what is right or what is popular?
- How can we let God help us do what is right?
Review the memory verse.
Divide the children into two teams. Have the teams line up facing each other across the room. Place a set of memory verse cards for each team face down on the floor; one card in front of each player. On "Go" have each team pick up their cards and try to rearrange themselves so that their cards are in the proper order to make the verse read correctly. If the team members are in the proper order and have finished first they win one point, but if they are incorrect the other team wins the point. Continue play for a period of time.
Have blank sheets of paper with the words to Esther’s song printed on them:
"The battle is not ours.
We look to God above
For He will guide us safely through
And guard us with his love.
I will not be afraid
I will not run and hide
For there is nothing I can’t face
When God is at my side."
Encourage children to design CD cover art for this song (using either vegetables or humans -- it does not need to be a scene from the movie, just something that goes with the meaning of the words) or write a few sentences reflecting on what these words mean to him/her.
God, help us have the courage to always stand up for what we believe. Amen.
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas:
- Instead of summarizing the Book of Esther as part of the scripture reading, have the children look at the section headings in their Bibles to get a feel for the story. (For example, "Queen Vashti deposed," "Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews."
- Do not keep score in the memory verse game.
- Show the children how you use the table of contents to find the Book of Esther and read the Bible out loud to them. (There may not be time for them to find it and read along, since it is a long movie.)
This lesson was written by Amy Crane (firstname.lastname@example.org) for River Community Church in Prairieville, Louisiana.
Copyright Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.
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