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All Saints' Day
Make a collection of large pictures of a variety of animals. These could be posters, or the children could prepare their own. Alternatively, the children could make animal masks and parade in them.
Show the children the pictures of animals, or hold a parade with the children wearing their animal masks.
Identify the animals and discuss something about each one. If using masks, you could ask children to describe the animal characters they represent. Talk about how each animal is different and what skills, abilities and weaknesses they have. What can they do? What can't they do?
Talk about how each one of us is different:
- There are things we are good at doing (you could invite examples).
- There are other things we are not so good at doing - or being (you could invite more examples).
All Saints is a time when the Church remembers and celebrates not only famous saints (here you can use a couple of examples of well-known saints and what they did) but all people who have lived a special life for God.
None of the animals we met earlier could do everything. Neither can we. But we can learn from the countless people before us who learned to live in the way Jesus taught. Then we can do our best with the gifts and skills God has given us and respect other people's gifts and skills too.
Matthew 5: 1-12 (The Sermon on the Mount).
Jesus taught a very important lesson about how to be a saint in this reading. It shows you don't need to be showy or special to be a saint; just being aware of those around you and their needs already goes a long way towards being our best selves, the way God created us.
There are so many animals in your world, God. Thank you for them all, small and large. For furry cuddly animals that we have as pets, who like to be with us, who we can love and who make us feel safe and happy. For strong animals who help us. For beautiful animals. For tiny animals. For animals we do not understand. For animals we have never seen.
Help us to remember that they are all part of your creation, like us. Help us to live with them peacefully. And help us to live the life you want and be the sort of people that you want us to be.
O When the Saints Go Marching In