Sunday, March 2, 2014

I Stand All Amazed

This month's song is "I Stand All Amazed".  Teaching hymns can be tricky.  They often contain difficult vocabulary & concepts.  It's important to really break down the lyrics for the children to be sure they understand what they're singing about.

I recently held a training for the choristers in our stake at our Primary Leadership Training.  I assigned each of the choristers a song from this year's outline & asked them to share how they would teach it.  Below are Sister Grant's thoughts on "I Stand All Amazed".

These need to be slightly adapted depending on the age of the children.

1. This song is about the atonement of Jesus Christ. When we say "atonement," we are talking about Jesus' suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.

2. How many of you have ever broken an arm or leg, or hurt yourself in some way? (Most children will raise their hands, and a few will want to share their experiences, so it's important to keep things reined in at this point :) ).
3. When we sin, our spirit gets hurt, kind of like getting a broken arm or leg. But we can't make our spirit all better by ourselves. We need Jesus' help.
4. In the Garden and on the cross, in some way we don't completely understand, Jesus was able to take our sins and suffering upon himself. This means that when we repent (i.e., recognize our wrong, apologize, promise never to do it again), Jesus can take the hurt out of us and into himself, and he overcomes it--he makes it better. This is an amazing gift that Jesus has given us!
5. "I Stand All Amazed" is a song about being grateful for Jesus' atonement. There are some grown-up words that we can learn about so we understand this song better. (Each music leader could pick the words to focus on. Possibilities include amazed, confused, grace, proffers, and/or crucified.)
On another topic, a friend asked how to explain to children the scripture about the earth being "utterly wasted" if temple work isn't done (see D&C 138:47-48, also D&C 2). Here is the explanation I gave him. It occurred to me that this might be helpful for the month when we're teaching a family history song.
Before we came to earth, we lived with our Heavenly Father. While we were there, we made promises to help our family members. Some of our family members came to earth before us, when the gospel wasn't on the earth. It was very brave of them and they had many challenges because they didn't have the gospel.

We promised these family members that when we came to earth, we would help them get the blessings of the gospel. We would find out who they were, and we would go to the temple to be baptized for them and receive other gospel ordinances so they could be together forever as families.
Now we're on the earth. Do we remember our life with Heavenly Father? That's right, we don't. So how can we remember those promises we made to our family members before us? Well, Heavenly Father said in this scripture that he would put those promises in our hearts. So even if we don't remember them with our heads, we will feel them in our hearts. We will want to help our ancestors by going to the temple for them so they can have all the blessings of the gospel, and be together forever as families.
Did you know that when we do temple work for our family members who have died, we also make our own families stronger? Doing temple work for our families is so important! In fact, in this scripture, the Lord says that if we don't do it, the earth will be in really bad trouble by the time he comes back. (That would probably be enough for Junior Primary; for Senior Primary, we could talk more about the problems we see around us in the world because of the war on families.)