Inclusive Valentine’s Day Chapel Activity
Build inclusive community on Valentine’s Day with this chapel or class activity for elementary-aged students.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Activity Text: Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
- Hold up a single strand of yarn. (Use deep red if possible.) Ask students if they think it would be easy to break this string. Let someone try. (Note: It should be easy to break.)
- What about breaking two pieces of yarn together? (Use light red yarn if possible.) Get a volunteer to try breaking two pieces of yarn. It’s MUCH harder.
- As you hold up two strands of string, say something like this:
The Bible talks about friends being like these strings. Listen to these words from Ecclesiastes 4:
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
When I read those words, I thought about you guys. I thought about how you are friends with each other. I thought about how you pick each other up and look out for each other. I thought about how you are stronger when you are together. (Give a specific example about something you noticed in a way they helped the child with the disability AND try to give an example of the way the child with the disability helped another classmate. Then see if the children have any stories to share. Celebrate these things with them.)
The Bible says that pairing up and being together makes you stronger. Listen again. “Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.”
Today, I wanted to share with you a special treat. Not only did I want to thank you for being such good and strong friends with one another, I wanted to let you know the surprising way this Bible passage ends. God has been talking about two people and how two are stronger than one. But then, God adds this surprise. Listen very carefully and see if you catch the surprise. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”. Who heard the surprise? (Ask for responses, hopefully someone will notice that it’s the number three).
While I was reading this, I wondered what that third string is? (Show them the third string – I suggest using a pink, purple, or white one for this part ). Any ideas? (Ask the kids for their thoughts). Not only here but in other places as well, God promises that when we are together with other people who love Him, God is there in the middle of us. He twists himself with us (begin to twist the three strands; see note below*).
When you are together (keep twisting), God shows up and is part of what you are doing too. God is the third part of the cord. (Then complete the rope.) He is in the middle of what you do as friends together. Isn’t it amazing that your play and work together gets all twisted up with God? He loves to be in the middle of how you love and care for each other.
It’s getting so close to Valentine’s Day, and it’s a great time to remember how God twisted himself with us in another amazing way. It’s a gift of love. He sent down the cord of Jesus to be right in the middle of us! He knew that without Jesus, our cords could never mix with Him. But with Jesus and how He took away our sin, our cords can be mixed with God forever when we love Him and ask Him to be our Savior!
So, I wanted to give you a special Valentine’s treat – a way that you can remember our time together. While you can go home and make yourself one of these ropes and tell the story to your family, I also think it’s good to have a tasty rope – one you can eat and remember. (Pass out Nerd’s Ropes or licorice to everyone in the class.)
Thanks so much for being wonderful friends to each other! God is twisting a very fine friend rope right here at our school.
*Note about rope twisting:
Hold the ends of three pieces of yarn – each cut about 3 feet in length – together. Put one end in each hand. While one hand holds the yarn, the other hand starts to twist it by turning the pieces in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion. Make sure to always keep tension on the yarn or it won’t work. Twist it very tight. Then, in order to keep tension, grab the twisted yarn in the middle with your lips while you pull the six loose ends together in front of you. Keep the six strands in one hand and use the other hand to retrieve the folded portion of the yarn out of your lips. Then, release the tension by letting go of the folded end and keep tight hold of the six loose ends. Rub your hand up and down the braid that forms, and the kids will be amazed! If you wish to keep the braid, tie a knot on the end with the loose strands.
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Barbara J. Newman is the director of church services at All Belong and a special educator at Zeeland Christian School.