Sunday, April 14, 2013

Godly Play: The Good Shepherd and the Worldwide Communion

Well, I'm back after a short pause from blogging. Sometimes you just have to take a break every now and then to find fresh inspiration.: )

This week at our church's bi-weekly brunch, we heard the story, "The Good Shepherd and the World Communion". I actually like the German title better: "Der Gute Hirte und die weltweit Einheit der Christen", which translates to "The Good Shepherd and the Worldwide Unity of Christians". This story is from the liturgical genre and connects the Parable of the Good Shepherd to the Eucharist (Communion or Lord's Supper, depending on which tradition you come from). The Eucharist, like the Lord's Prayer, is something that almost all Christians with few exceptions (although there are some) observe. Hence, my tendency to favor the German title. 

This is a story with little text. As an inexperienced Storyteller, I used to rush it, because I was uneasy with the silence. If you can learn to be content with the silence, the children will be attentive as well and enjoy the silence. 

The Good Shepherd leads his sheep out of the stall. They know his voice and follow him.

He goes before them to show them the way.

He leads them to green pastures.

This is the Good Shepherd's table.

This is the bread and wine of the Good Shepherd.

Sometimes people from all over the world come to the Good Shepherd's table. And the children come, too.

The text above is, of course, not the actual text. It's just enough to give you a taste of what the story is like and show you what the movement in the story is like. 

The image of the Good Shepherd seems to be an image that children are naturally drawn to. Berryman based his Good Shepherd stories on the work of Sophia Cavaletti (who developed Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the forerunner of Godly Play), who in her research repeatedly found that children were particularly interested in the idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I have found this to be true in my work as well. 

All of the children who heard the story today had heard the Parable of the Good Shepherd at least once before. Some have actually participated in Communion before. But interestingly enough, the children did not seem to make a direct connection between communion in the church and the Good Shepherd's table. One child, however, wondered if there was a connection between the Good Shepherd's table and the Passover feast (which she had been learning about in religion class at school). 

One of the questions in the Wondering was whether or not the people at the Good Shepherd's table were happy. That led to a lively discussion about whether or not we are always happy when we come to the table or when we leave. 

Here is a look at some of the creative work that we did afterwards.

One child wanted to hear the Parable of the Sower, so I told it to her. Then she pulled out the Second Creation story and put it together with the Good Shepherd and the World Communion. I would love to know the story that she was going through her head. 

Another child made wool pictures. 

Other children painted.

I am thrilled to have a child who is developmentally young enough for Montessori Practical Life activities. She is practicing "dry pouring" with lentils, an activity that encourages fine motor skills. 

This was one of our more harmonious Godly Play Sundays, and one in which I pondered again how much I love my job! 

Linked to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now


  1. I love this story! I especially love how the children were given the opportunity to reflect with the materials that definitely illustrate a prepared environment.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your feedback! It's especially valuable coming from an experienced Montessorian.