Lent began early this year. We are already in the time of the color purple. Our Circle of the Church Year story tells us that we can have up to nine “green and growing Sundays” between Christmas and Lent, but this year, there were only six. Just imagine the look on the children’s faces this morning as they looked at our wall calendar and saw the arrow pointing to the sixth green Sunday after Christmas, where it was placed last Sunday, and today it looked like we needed to move the arrow four Sundays ahead! What? Why? This doesn’t make sense! These children know that we can’t just fast forward real time!
But it did make sense. What happened was easy to see with the movable, wooden Circle of the Church Year story. We simply took out those three green Sundays that we don’t have in our calendar this year and slid the blocks together. This year (which began with Advent) had Christmas and the six green growing Sundays connecting with today…The First Sunday in Lent. The six Sundays in Lent connect to Easter, which connects to the Season of Easter, which takes us to Pentecost and all of the remaining green growing Sundays (conveniently named the Sundays after Pentecost!) And here we discovered… a hole! A space! A space just big enough for those three green Sundays we took out!
But what could we do about our wall calendar? The green Sundays are glued on, so we can’t just pick them up. One child this morning suggested scraping them off with a knife. That probably would get them off, but then our calendar wouldn’t look very pretty! I suggested another possibility which might work: what if we covered those three green Sundays with felt the color of the background? Concluding that this effectively hid the unneeded Sundays, another child added “You camouflaged them!” All we needed to do now was add them to the Sundays after Pentecost, on this circle of glued down Sundays that had no “hole”, like the movable version had.
This is why there are now three green Sundays added where there was no room to add them…right before Advent. But it made sense! And all of this happened in a few minutes.
Now it was time for our story, The Mystery of Easter. This story deserves a separate post and that will come later this week. When, as we experienced today, a story (like The Mystery of Easter, not just the movable Circle of the Church Year story) helps explain the wall calendar, and the wall calendar helps explain a story, or any story helps explain another story…I am in awe of how these Godly Play tools can be used, by the children as well as grownups.