Before Godly Play storytellers begin a story presented in the desert box, we describe the desert. It is hot during the day, and very cold at night. The sand blows and it stings when it hits bare skin. People have to wear heavy protective clothing. There is little water or food. It is easy to become lost, and many people die. People don’t go there unless they have to!
Now, there is always at least one child in the circle who has visited grandparents who live in the desert, and who knows (from experience) that THEY have water and enough food to eat! But when we try to imagine that desert (or even lush, green Portland) without planes, cars, air-conditioning, and water to drink when ever we are thirsty, we can begin to imagine the thirst, the hunger, the pain, and the fatigue that was part of these desert experiences long ago.
On Sunday, we traveled across our desert box with the People of God in the Exodus story. Through out the Old Testament Sacred Stories, the People of God find God’s presence in some unknown , surprising, or unlikely places, and our young Godly Players found some good in an unlikely place too. As we wondered about the story – about children crying in their sleep because they were so hungry; their parents’ decision to leave to go to a new country, even though it meant crossing the desert, and the people being trapped in the new country by the Pharaoh – a couple of children commented that they did have food, even though they were trapped! They saw some good in the bad.Then of course, we all felt the joy of freedom when the people were lead safely through the water, “and Miriam led the dancing!” (No one wondered (aloud) whether they brought enough matzo!)
Freedom! Back to the wide open, beyond what we can imagine! This is how we will begin this next Sunday, with the presentation of The Ten Best Ways. Stay tuned.