Monday, May 23, 2016

A Child's Image of God

Children's images of God fascinate me. I learn so much from them. 

Below is a picture that a 5-year-old drew of Jesus in Response Time at church yesterday. Our story in children's church was about the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and not directly about Jesus. This child may have drawn a picture of Jesus, because we had talked about the Holy Spirit and how we didn't have a picture to show the children of this member of the Trinity, but rather examples from nature that tell us what the Spirit is like. 

That's one of the aspects of Godly Play that I truly cherish. The children get to choose what they want to draw or create without the pressure to do something based on the day's lesson. There is room to explore with the Spirit's leading without having to "produce" something. 

Perhaps this five-year-old was trying to work out a concrete picture for herself what God is like. In any case, she drew a picture of a very joyful Jesus dancing among the flowers and butterflies. No strict or harsh religious figures here. Someone who is approachable that she would like to play with. 

Frieder Harz, a German pastor and religious educator, writes about how faith in children often begins with a sense of security and safety. Being in a parents' arms, where she or he is safe, loved and cherished, is the early "language of faith" that babies and toddlers soak up. Being valued by the church family and taken seriously build upon these early experiences. 

I am thankful that the message this child is getting from her parents and her church family is one of a loving, grace-oriented God. May this beautiful image stay with her all of her life. 

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