Monday, January 28, 2013

Godly Play: The Parable of the Leaven

My son has the flu, so we did not attend our church's brunch this week. Instead, I told both children "The Parable of the Leaven" at home. This parable is one of the core stories in the GP curriculum. It is also the shortest story of them all. Indeed, the text in the Bible is only one verse. As a result, it often gets dismissed by beginner storytellers. I remember thinking, "This is it?!" 

After the normal introduction about the gold box, how parables are gifts, and wondering about what the underlay might be,  comes this . . . 

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a woman who took three measure of flour . . . "

" . . . and mixed them together. She hid the leaven in the mixture . . . "

". . . which swelled up and was leavened all over."

"It got big and puffy like the bread you buy in the store."

But don't let the simplicity of this story throw you off. Precisely because it is so simple, there is a ton to wonder about and discuss. What is the leaven, really, in the parable and in life? Have you ever come close to a place where this happens, not just in the parable, but in life?

At our training in Holland, the Wondering after this particular story went on for what seemed like an eternity, because we all so fully immersed in it. In fact, we would have kept on, had our fellow trainee whose turn it was to train us not stepped in to lead us into the evaluation.

This story is also a difficult one to tell, again because it is so simple. You have to be internally okay with the language of silence and gracious in your movements. My colleague, Rachel, told this story in Holland, and I remember thinking, "I'm glad it's her and not me!" But she did an amazing job of not rushing the text or our responses, and the Wondering was some of the most thought-provoking that I've ever participated in. 

Yesterday, my son was under strict orders to only do silent wondering, since he was losing his voice. My daughter (who is 7) said a few things, but was eager to get to the Response Time, so our Wondering was a bit short. What was interesting was that she came back to the story at bedtime when she wondered what baking bread had to do with the Kingdom of Heaven? Would there only be one person in heaven and would she just be baking bread? (All this said with an irritated tone in her voice!) I reminded her that Jesus had said that his Kingdom was like this woman baking bread. I also reminded her that sometimes the door to the parable stays closed for a bit, but we can always come back again and someday it will open for us . . . 

Linked to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now

and Eco Kids' Tuesday at   Like Mama~Like Daughter and Organic Aspirations

and Waldorf Wednesday at Seasons of Joy

and Sharing Saturday at Crafty Moms Share


  1. Morning Miss Sheila,
    I saw this and thought that you might like it.
    Who knows, but I thought I'd pass it on (:
    I hope things are really well.
    Stay warm

    1. Those are beautiful pieces! Thanks for the link!

  2. I like this story and I love how you left your daughter to wonder some more, in a good way.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thanks for writing about this - about both the beauty of its simplicity and the difficulties.

  4. Thanks for reading along, ladies! Storyteller, I'd love to know if you have done this story and how it went.

  5. I am intriqued with the act of wondering.... Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids! I hope you will come link up with us again this week!!

  6. What a wonderful lesson!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!