Saturday, May 14, 2016

Great Expectations?

A couple of Sundays ago during Response Time, I sat down next to 5-year-old Grace, who was staring at a blank sheet of paper.

"Sheila, what should I draw?" 

"I don't know, Grace. What do you want to draw?"

"I don't know." Sigh of frustration from Grace.

I then asked her if there was anything from the story this week (we'd just heard the Godly Play Baptism lesson) or the week before that wanted to pop into her picture. No. What about drawing something from her week that she didn't want to forget? That struck a chord, because she had just celebrated her birthday. She then began to draw the treasure hunt that she and her friends went on at the party. She carefully drew the playground, the tree that they passed by, and the sandbox where the treasure had been hidden, explaining the whole story to me as she drew. 

When she had finished, a question suddenly came to me. "Grace, do you think God ever invites us to go on a treasure hunt with him?" That question was met with laughter and a "What?!!"on her part. But then, we began to talk about how that might happen when God invites us to play with him. 

That conversation and those thoughts stayed with me over the next few days, and I found the imagery particularly fitting for this time leading up to Pentecost.

I continued this conversation with my children's workers at church a couple of days later. What is it that we loved as children about going on a treasure hunt? The thrill of running around and searching? Being together while on the hunt? The treasure itself? The suspense of what the treasure might be?

Jesus had his friends go on a treasure hunt that began on Easter Sunday. The following painting by French painter Eugene Burnand is a snapshot of this treasure hunt. It is of Peter and John rushing to the empty tomb on having heard Mary Magdelene's report that Jesus is somehow alive. 

I love the expressions on their faces: childlike, full of awe and expectation, agitated almost to the point of being a little frightened -  wanting to hope, but afraid of deep disappointment. So like children on a treasure hunt.

Then, over the next 40 days, he appeared to them at different times until he ascended to his Father. And just before he left, he told them to wait, because the real treasure was coming. 

Just like in the biblical story, we and the children are also on a treasure hunt together during this season of Pentecost.  But it's a slightly different story, our story woven into the fabric of God's narrative.

When was the last time we expected something new or unexpected from God? 

What would help us and the children to find the treasure?

And what might the treasure actually be?

I'll leave you with Ephesians 3:20 that God "is able to do exceedingly more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us."


  1. And also "no eyes has seen, no ear has heard"! - always ignites me with expectation!