Who would have thought that a 19th-century math concept could be used to teach modern-day children about prayer and forgiveness?
That’s exactly what my parish’s faith-formation coordinator, Pat Rodman, demonstrated to faith-formation students last month. And it really hit home the fact that when we pray to God for forgiveness, he always grants it, even if we ask to be pardoned for repeating the same offenses.
"It’s like God has amnesia," Pat explained, which is a very good thing indeed!
She shared with the children the parables of the unforgiving servant (the reading of March 5, Matthew 18:21-35) and the prodigal son (the reading of March 2, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32), which demonstrate how we should be willing to forgive others, as God always forgives us when we ask him. Then she followed up with a neat hands-on exercise.
She passed out strips of paper to the adults and kids alike and had us write "God’s forgiveness strip" on one side of the paper.
We then gave one end of the strip a half twist,
before taping the two ends together.
Next, we snipped a hole in the center of the strip and cut it in half lengthwise.
The end result was a still-connected loop of paper twice the size of the original.
In math, this is called a "möbius strip," Pat explained, and it was a great visual to help kids understand that God’s forgiveness is never-ending, just like the loop of paper has no end.
My sons, Joey (8) and John (6), really enjoyed this project. If you’re looking for a quick, easy and educational Lenten exercise to do with your kids or grandkids, consider trying it out!