“This is Jerusalem”, I said, and drew the lines in the sand to represent the walls of the city, “and here is the temple, where the people believed they needed to go to find God”. Then came a soft “I wonder why they wanted to put God in…. a box.” I know I responded with a “hum” and a raised eyebrow, while continuing on with the introduction of The Exile and Return last Sunday. But as I continued with the story, another part of me was wondering what kind of images of the temple the children had in their minds – some saw the Ark and the Temple the previous Sunday. Would any of them actually be picturing those nice pieces of wood so beautifully cut and finished by the workers at Godly Play Resources? What is it like to be four? Perhaps at that age I was still peering through the perforated masonite back of our big radio at home, trying so hard to see the tiny orchestra or the tiny football players that were in there, somewhere. Another part of me was thinking about our human nature to want to put special things in special containers, and then… about just how interesting this comment was.
Later, as I continued… “The people had to do everything the soldiers told them to do…”
“That’s just like the Pharaoh!” said several in unison.
And at the end of the story, the child who wondered why they wanted to put God in a box, noticed how this story looks like another story… a story where God was everywhere! Hum…..
Something else was interesting, too! This group actually seemed more interested in the fact that the calendar color was going to change than that Christmas is coming. Now, no one actually said “I’m so glad that Advent is almost here” – but they were looking toward the story with the blue underlay to go with the blue on the calendar. They know that there is something in-between.