Monday, November 25, 2013

Godly Play: The Prophets

On Sunday, I told the children the story called "The Prophets". This is an enrichment story for children who are familiar with the core stories in the Godly Play curriculum. They should definitely be familiar with "Exile and Return" before they hear this story or it won't make much sense to them. 

"The Prophets", like "Exile and Return", is an important story to tell before Advent. "Exile" gives the historical context in which the Jewish people understood the concept of a Messiah. And in the Advent story, we explain that on the first Sunday of Advent we remember the prophets. 

"The Prophets" focuses on who a prophet might be and what she or he does. It also gives an overview of the Old Testament prophets, focusing on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 minor prophets. 

Even though the kids today were familiar with Exile, they still had a hard time following the parts of the story dealing with the history of the Southern Kingdom, because the Godly Play story is told in segments explaining each prophet rather than chronologically. So, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were contemporaries, but the children had a hard time understanding this, because the story talks about the three Isaiahs first, then about Jeremiah and then Ezekiel. I basically had to tell the story twice, because right in the middle, everyone said, "I don't understand what's going on!" (The children were also generally pretty tired and antsy today, so I'm sure that played a part as well.)

One child also had a good laugh about Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones, envisioning zombies walking back to Jerusalem. During the Wondering, they voiced that their favorite thing about the prophets was that they came so close to God and God came so close to them that they understood what God wanted them to say or do. This led to a discussion about how prophets sometimes have to say things that other people don't want to hear. 

I like that this stories emphasizes that both little girls and little boys can grow up to be prophets. It also states that there are still prophets today. The last Wondering question is, "Do you think we have all the prophets we need?" One of the children today thought that we needed more of them. 

In our Response Time, one little girl recreated the map she had seen and drew the exiles being led away from Jerusalem. She also unrolled the Jeremiah scroll and began copying the verse in it. She intended to write verses from the other scrolls, but we didn't have enough time. 

An older boy started drawing Zeus and Ares from Greek mythology. This is the sort of thing that would have caused me to freak out years ago. I would have thought, "Is he confusing the real God with the myths? Is the angry image of Zeus what he thinks God is really like?" But having been taught by my GP experience not to make assumptions about what a child might be thinking, I gently asked what he was drawing. He had been learning about the myths in school and said, "I am so glad that God gives us a choice whether to worship him or not."