Sunflower plants radiate hues of yellow against the backdrop of a crisp blue morning sky. A distinguishing feature of the brilliant yellow blossom, it follows the direction of the sun. How timely to use the sunflower as a theme for Sunday’s SCORE class. The children entered the room very enthusiastically eager to find their desk. On the white board was taped a brightly colored paper sunflower with the word JESUS printed in the center. One of the little girls noticed the flower immediately asked, “Can we make sunflowers?”
The bright yellow sunflower blossom on the white board served a dual purpose: to remind them of the warmth God’s presence, and to focus their energies at the center – JESUS. The little yellow blossom soon became the focal point; class had begun.
This year, one of our goals is to create spaces for the children to cultivate their relationship with Jesus. Several activities of this particular class drew upon their religious imagination. “Imagine the boy Jesus in your class, or sitting with you in the lunch room, or hanging out with you in the playground. What would it be like to be friends with Jesus?” Their enthusiastic responses clearly showed that an awareness of the presence of Jesus can be liken to the glorious sunflowers that adorn the landscapes. Oh, to nurture this world view 24/7 as they prepare for their first experience of Reconciliation and Eucharist.
Throughout this year of sacramental preparation, the children’s hearts and minds will be stretched as they grow in greater awareness of the many ways God’s love and mercy was manifested throughout Jesus’ earthly life. They will hear and reenact Gospel stories, sing songs, and engage in a variety of activities. In small and large groups they will discover and experience the many ways that God’s love is revealed in their relationships with you, their siblings, extended family, and with those with whom they encounter on the playground, the soccer field around the dining room table.
As your child’s primary catechist, what is your hope, your desire as your child prepares to encounter Jesus in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist? The little paper sunflower decorated in class is an expression of their uniqueness may it be a sacramental, a reminder for them, and for their family of the warmth and caring of God’s presence in their lives.