November 16, 2014: Lesson 7 - The Ark and The Tent
In this week’s Godly Play lesson, the stories of Moses’ experiences with God continue through the telling of creation of the Tabernacle. The overarching theme is one of developing a holy, sacred space in which to meet God.
The actual biblical text reads like a massively detailed shopping list, delivered to the Israelites as a blueprint for creating the sacred space of the Tabernacle. They need to prepare it exactly as indicated or God will not be with them. I can almost hear the frantic back-and-forth among the Israelites: “I forgot the red dyed tanned ram’s skins – can we do without?” or, “I could only find yellow linen! Does it HAVE to be blue?”. No pressure. It’s only going to mean the difference between pleasing God and being his chosen people and the alternative. Gulp.
Oddly enough, it reminds me of how we sometimes approach Thanksgiving. We have expectations about what should be prepared, how and in what order. And what happens when things don’t go exactly as planned? The turkey takes longer than it should. The mashed potatoes get cold waiting for the turkey to finish. The pie doesn’t set up correctly. It can feel like a disaster as we get lost in the details, losing the thread of what’s really important: Being present with one another, attending to the sacred and holy in our ordinary lives and finding a space in which to honor God and each other.
I need to remember this Godly Play lesson as my family and I begin our Thanksgiving celebration next week. God very well may be in the details, and the effort given to the details may be a way to honor God. But in the end, creating that sacred space in our hearts and minds, in spite of the details, is what I think really pleases God, and each other.
I hope you all will feel encouraged to sit in on Godly Play from time to time and hear what St. Paul's budding theologians are coming up with!
Godly Play is a creative approach to Christian formation of children, and an important part of our family programming. Overhearing Godly Play is a blog series by Robin Taylor that puts Godly Play in a context we all can relate to. Robin is a member of St. Paul's Cathedral, and a contributor to various cathedral activities. She particularly enjoys learning more about Faith and God from a child's perspective.