FAITH IN THE FAMILY
Diary of Jonathan, Son of King Saul
PRIVATE! NOT TO BE READ BY ANY PERSON
Father in bad mood again today. “Tormented by evil spirit!” Keep out of his way . . .
Still bad. Servants fetch lad from Bethlehem. Brown face. David. Plays the harp to Father. Great! The King feels better! We keep David on! . .
I get chatting to David. He’s about my age. Not shy! Looks after his father’s sheep. Asks me about my success in battle . . .
I talk to David again. Says he’s a warrior, too – he’s killed lions and bears with his hands. Really? But I like him – and so does Father! . .
Crisis! The Philistines threaten our army. Their champion Goliath looking for fight. Nine feet tall . . . INCREDIBLE! DAVID KILLED GOLIATH WITH SLING AND STONE! THE LORD IS WITH OUR YOUNG SHEPHERD!
David is here to stay! I love this guy! We make solemn pact – friends for life. Give him my sword, etc, as sign . . .
Yes! Father gives David high rank in army. Deserves it. Popular with the men – and the ladies!! BUT Father uneasy again. Feels God not with him as before. Horrible bursts of anger . . .
Father truly disturbed today. Wants me to kill David! Why? I warn David to keep away. I speak up for him. Remind Father of all D has done for us. Why kill innocent man, etc? Dad promises D is safe. Feel reassured . . .
David leads our army to victory again! Am I jealous? NO – because I know God is with him . . .
Strange – David says King trying to kill him. “What is his crime?” he asks. Know this cannot be true. Father would have told me. David says he’s keeping me in dark because of our friendship. We make a plan. David to hide in archery field while I confront King. If he means D no harm, I’ll go out later and shoot three arrows at target. Then shout to my boy, “Go fetch my arrows. They are on this side of you. Bring them here.” But if father does mean him harm, I’ll shout, “Look, the arrows are beyond you.” That’s D’s sign to flee . . .
I’m trembling. Angry. Spoke to King who flew into rage. Accused me of siding with David, giving him my future throne. “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” I asked. The King hurled his spear at me.
I saw his eyes, full of hate. Now I see, he means to kill David. It’s shameful. Call for my bow . . .
* * *
Feel numb. David is gone. We wept. Thank God he went in peace. We once swore friendship to each other and to each other’s families and we won’t forget that – whatever happens.
Pause for thought: They say that you can never have enough friends. The supposed diary extract above tells the story of the strong relationship between David and Jonathan – an unbroken friendship.
As parents, we want our children to find good friends and also to be a good friend to others. How can we help them to do so? Take time to think back to your own school days. How did great friendships come about and how have you managed to keep them going? Be prepared to pass on these stories.
It’s also great to model being a good friend by communicating our thinking. For example, “I’m meeting Sue for a coffee today – she’s been feeling a bit down recently. Maybe I can cheer her up.” “Ben’s got a job interview tomorrow, so I’m sending him a text to say I’m thinking of him.” We can also model speaking well of our friends, rather than running them down.
It’s interesting that David and Jonathan make a serious promise of friendship before God. It’s a decision they make and stick to, not something that comes and goes according to how they feel – or abandon when the going gets tough.
If children understand the true meaning of friendship, they can better understand the friendship that God offers to us.
David and Jonathan: Read the diary extract above together about the friendship between these two young men. Wonder about it as follows:
- I wonder why the King wanted to kill David
- I wonder who was a good friend in this story
- I wonder what you think makes someone a good friend
Pizza Party: Invite new school friends round to make pizzas together! You could buy some ready-made bases (or make your own dough) and prepare some tomato sauce in advance by heating tinned tomatoes with a dessertspoon of tomato puree and a pinch of oregano or mixed herbs.
Provide a variety of toppings for your friends to choose from, for example:
Tuna pizza: black olives, capers, tinned tuna fish, sliced onion
Spicy sausage pizza: chopped ham, sliced spicy sausage, sliced pepperoni, grated
Courgette pizza: sliced courgette, sliced mushroom, sliced onion, gated cheese
Lay circles of dough (about 13cm/5 in diameter) on a greased baking tray. Spread the sauce over the bases, leaving a small margin. Add the toppings and bake until bases are golden brown (approx 15-20 mins at 220 C/425 F/ Gas mark 7).
Friendship bracelets: You will need rectangles of white paper, about A5 size; pencils; crayons or felt-tipped pens; sticky tape; scissors
(Each piece of paper makes three bracelets)
Fold the rectangle of paper in half, short edges together, and then in half again (in the same direction). With the short end of the folded paper towards you, draw a circle (for a face or head shape) near the top of the paper. Connect each circle to the long edges of the paper with two lines (rather like a narrow watch strap). Repeat in the middle and bottom.
Cut out each bracelet, taking care not to cut along the folds of the ‘straps’. Open them out and decorate them with your friends. You could draw your own face and those of three friends. Or you could decorate them with pictures of David and Jonathan and some items from the story!
Help each other to fasten them around your wrists with tape. You could even make a long chain of everyone in your class or Sunday Club and hang it up on the wall!
A good friend . . .
Write this heading on a big piece of paper and leave it pinned or taped where family members can write their ideas. For example:
- Always wants the best for you
- Tries to understand you . . .
- Never . . .
‘Friends’ scrapbook: Why not keep a diary, scrapbook or photo album of all the things you do with your friends this year. Write some notes to remind yourself in the future of all the things you are doing together now. Send paper birthday cards and tell your friends how much you appreciate them – or thank them for their support in the past. If you take a good photo of a group of friends, perhaps you could buy a ‘friends’ frame for it and give as a birthday present.
Bedtime meditation: Remind children that when God made the world, he wanted to be good friends with us. Chat quietly about all the things he did for us (giving us plenty of food, a beautiful world, trusting us to look after his world, etc). Ask children to close their eyes and use their imaginations as they listen, answering the questions in silence . . .
(Speak slowly and quietly) Imagine you’re standing in a beautiful garden with God. He smiles at you and asks you to walk with him through his garden. As you walk, he seems to match his steps with yours, so that he is always by your side. The sun’s just setting. What colour are the clouds? He points out some trees with fruit on them. What kind of fruit hangs on the branches? Now you come down to some water. Is it a lake, or a river? Is the water flowing fast or still? What reflections can you see in the water? A bird flies down to the water’s edge. What’s it like? Now God beckons and a horse comes trotting up to make friends with you.
You walk on together and God asks you about your day. What do you tell him? You chat together happily – what are you chatting about?
Now you are both quiet, but it doesn’t matter at all because you feel quite at ease – with a good friend you can be happy whether you are talking or just being quiet together.
Prayer time: Thank God for particular friends or ask him to help us find friends. Ask how we can give them support. Thank God for sending Jesus to be our friend forever.