November 2, 2014: Lesson 5 - The Exodus
In this week’s Godly Play lesson, the story of the Exodus gave us another way of understanding how God’s people experience His elusive presence, and how we continue to use ancient biblical stories to sustain us when we feel lost or far from God.
The story includes difficult imagery: the People of God suffering from famine in Canaan, enslavement at the hands Pharaoh, death of eldest sons. Danger, fear, oppression and death are heavy topics for any of us, let alone the youngest among us. But during the “Wondering” segment of the lesson, a truly remarkable thing happened: The kids were able to see past the scary and intense images of the Exodus and reflect on the heart of the story – our ability to listen for and hear God’s voice even when it seems like it’s not there.
There is a passage in the storytelling narrative that is suggestive of Moses’ conversation with God and his resultant ability to part the Red Sea. It reads, “God came so close to Moses, and Moses came so close to God that he knew how to take the people through the water into freedom”. When asked, “I wonder what part of the story you liked best?” one child said, “When he parted the water. Because God is above us, God is below us, God is inside of us and God is outside of us. He’s all around us”. To that, a younger learner responded, “But you can’t see God!”. Others jumped in, adding that the People of God were our ancestors, and because of that, everything that happened to them, by default, happened to us. This fantastic theological discussion about understanding God in our midst started among children ages 4-7! Awesome! I felt so privileged to be part of that wondering, and to hear those voices bouncing ideas off each other about God’s eternal presence in our lives.
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.