Fertile Question: To err is human to forgive divine?
Core Content Area Two:
Teachers before you start:
Read the Teacher Background on Contemporary theology regarding sin, Biblical criticism, forms of penance and on the authorship of the Pentateuch.
Stage of Inquiry:
How does an understanding of God influence the way a believer makes choices about good and evil? What are the monotheistic religions? What is the Pentateuch?
Possible learning Experiences:
Explore student understandings about the religious response to good and evil
Students are introduced to the definition of monotheism and the three monotheistic religious faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Students may need to revise their understandings about the organisation of the various religions by creating a class mind map using Bubbl.us or similar to show the various denominations or branches of each religion.
Students are reminded that the sacred texts of Christianity and Judaism have the first five books of the Old Testament in common. These are called the Pentateuch and the Torah respectively. Students recall stories from the Pentateuch that are about goodness, hope, evil, sin, forgiveness and justice.
What are key beliefs of the monotheistic religions? What do Christians believe about Jesus?
What did Jesus teach about forgiveness?
Access information about the importance of forgiveness in the lives of believers
Students investigate who wrote the Pentateuch by viewing this slideshow and by forming groups of five to complete an activity about the authorship of the Pentateuch and key themes of the Pentateuch about darkness, light, good, evil, forgiveness and justice.
View the short movie clip that describes some of the similarities between the three monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Students record in a three column chart beliefs about God that are described for each tradition in the movie clip. Use a three circle Venn diagram to chart the similarities and differences as outlined in the movie clip.
Students review the key Christian belief about Jesus as outlined in the movie clip and are reminded that Christians believe that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine (God) Students identify this belief as outlined in the Nicene Creed, in Scripture e.g. John 1:14. and in art e.g. The Nativity by Giovanni della Robbia. What symbols used in the sculpture suggest the divine nature of the infant Jesus? How might this belief that Jesus was both human and God (divine) affect the way Jesus' teachings and actions are seen by believers? Students write responses on a collaborative space such as Padlet and spend some time reading and reflecting on what others write.
The sacred scriptural texts of Christians include the Pentateuch, the remaining books of the Old Testament and the New Testament which records the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Students explore scriptural texts that reveal how Jesus is a light through the cracks in this world through his actions and teachings about sin, forgiveness, love and goodness and Christian understandings of the Paschal Mystery: Jesus' life, death and resurrection.
How might a Christian understand their obligation to forgive others in the light of Jesus teachings? Discuss this in the light of the fertile question for the learning byte.
Students discuss the secular meaning of the word penance and give examples of ways people make up for something they have done wrong. They review the ways school practices (for example the practice of restorative justice) reflect the teachings of Jesus. Students recall what they know about the Sacrament of Penance in the Catholic Church. They revise the use of the Sacrament of Penance in the Catholic Church as a way of healing relationships for believers with their God, with themselves and with each other.
Saying sorry,being sorry and asking for forgiveness during the Sacrament of Penance is demonstrated by believers when they pray an act of contrition. Students read an example of a prayer of contrition.
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help,
to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In His Name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
Students recall times when saying sorry and forgiving others affected the way they felt. Students construct sorry prayers or statements of their own which could be read in silence or added to a prayer space as part of a class reconciliation ritual.
Students are introduced to the three forms of penance in the Christian life and complete an activity on prayer, fasting and alms giving.
How do prayer, fasting and alms giving demonstrate core beliefs of Islam Judaism and Christianity?
Explore beliefs about God and the common practices in the three monotheistic traditions of prayer almsgiving and fasting in the lives of believers
Students form learning teams of three to investigate the ways in which prayer, alms giving and fasting are connected to beliefs about love, reconciliation and the option for the poor in the three monotheistic traditions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Each student chooses one faith tradition and conducts an inquiry into beliefs about God and how this is expressed through the practices of prayer, fasting and alms giving in the lives of believers.Students may choose a festival associated with the practices for example Ramadan, Yom Kippur and Lent to help focus their inquiry. Students record findings in a retrieval chart. A useful website as a starting point is the BBC Religion site. Other resources can be found in the Resources section. Students plan the presentation of their group findings.
Evaluate and reflect
Evaluate the learning that has occurred during the inquiry
Discuss as a class how forgiving and being forgiven shows something light and good about humanity.
Create a word wall either on paper or digitally using Padlet or similar, recording responses to the following:
Something new learnt from the inquiry
Something enjoyed from participating in the inquiry
Something to do differently in the next inquiry.