St. Patrick’s Day can bring lots of understanding to your students about faith,due to its Christian background and fun symbols. This Sunday school object lesson introduces this background to your students.
Many people are not aware that St. Patrick wasn’t Irish! He was Italian! He was born into a noble Roman family in England around the year 385 A.D. during the time England was part of the Roman Empire. Patrick was captured as a young man by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland where he was a slave. After six years, he escaped to his native country where he became a priest. Wanting to share Christianity with the Irish people, he returned to Ireland where he spread word of Christ.
St. Patrick was known for using the shamrock to teach about the Holy Trinity – the Father, The son, and the Holy Spirit. Here are 2 St. Patrick’s Day activities to help students understand the difficult concept of three beings, one God.
Sunday School Object Lesson: Shamrocks Teach the Trinity
Sunday School Object Lesson Description:
Like St. Patrick, we will use a shamrock to help students understand the mystery of the Trinity – one God, three distinct beings.
Objects Needed: Shamrock
Lesson Preparation: Find a shamrock in your backyard or print one out
Sunday School Object Lesson Outline:
(Teacher prompts are in italics)
What color do we think of that has to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Green.
And what “green thing” do we often think of that has to do with St Patrick’s Day? Shamrock.
(Show your shamrock.)
Look at the shamrock. How many leaves does it have? Three.
They look very distinct to me. These leaves, they touch each other but aren’t attached to each other. They’re all sort of on their own. I don’t know why it is that someone would call these three leaves ONE THING. Can someone explain that to me? They’re attached at the stem.
But they’re still three distinct things. I have three flashlights in my garage, and they’re probably touching each other on the shelves. We don’t call them a flashrock. What’s the difference? I don’t get it. Be stubbornly confused. Let them argue it out with you.
Right now, I’m wearing a shirt, sweater, and pants. They’re all touching and they match well enough. We’re not calling them sham-clothing. What’s the difference? Start to “get it.”
Hm. Come to think of it”¦we do call what I’m wearing an “outfit.” Three distinct things, yet one thing. I guess it’s kind of like a cake! Aren’t there distinct things in a cake? Like flour, sugar, and eggs? Yet it’s ONE cake!
I’ve been playing with you, haven’t I? I actually understand very well. Shamrocks can actually help us understand God – three distinct beings. What three distinct beings make up “God?” Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In John 14:11, Jesus said, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.” Does he say he IS the father? No. He’s one being, and God is another.
In Luke 24:49, Jesus said, “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Did Jesus say he was the Holy Spirit? No.
How could Jesus send something and be something? He is distinct.
And yet in Christianity, we believe that there is only one God. It’s like this shamrock. There are three distinct leaves. They are like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet the shamrock is ONE THING. It isn’t three things. GOD is one thing as well.
Some people have said that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit get along so well that they would never disagree about anything. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a sister, brother, or even a friend that we were this close to??
There is a thing called a four-leaf clover. They’re rare here on earth, such that when you find one, some people think it means you’ll have a special day or week.
A four-leaf clover will be plentiful in heaven. That would symbolize the Father, Son, Holy Spirit”¦and YOU!
Bible Craft: Paper Plate Shamrocks
We will make paper plate shamrocks to remind us that the Trinity contains three distinct beings (like the leaves) but remains one God.
- Paper Plates, dessert size, 3 for each child
- 3 small paper plates
- Several sheets of green construction paper
- Green paint
- Paint brushes (fat ends work better) or sponges, one for each child
- Stick glue, paste, and/or Elmer’s liquid glue (see instructions below)
- Paper towels
- Have students paint the paper plates green. Encourage children to use thin strokes and not to “glop,” or the plates won’t dry quickly. If you see “globs” run a paper towel over them. The plates should dry almost immediately if there is no glopping.
- While they are drying, have students cut out a “stem” from the green construction paper. It should be approximately 2″ wide and 4″ long.
- Students should fold the stems in half lengthwise to give them strength.
- Staple the stems closed for them or have them use stick glue.
- When plates are dry or almost dry, have students cut a “V” out of one side of each, to give each leaf a clover shape.
- Help them attach the three leaves, one to the next, using stick glue. Keep the “V” on each plate to the outside. Note: If your stick glue isn’t very moist and plentiful, you may want to opt for Elmer’s white glue in the plastic bottle. Because the plates have a rim, it may take the latter, stronger glue to get them to stick.
- They should attach the stem using the same glue
- Have them write FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT on each leaf, and also on the top leaf, ONE GOD!
Will you be trying these St. Patrick’s Day activities with your students? Be sure to come back and tell us about it! And don’t forget to Follow Me on Twitter, where I will share more great Sunday school object lesson ideas!
Looking for more fun Sunday school object lessons? Check out our “28 Outstanding Object Lessons”!