Story: Sights and Sounds

I was there when a creation unfolded yesterday.

Pouring water echoed in the sanctuary, and when the font was filled, he leaned over it, slow and deliberate, and breathed.

A baby, a toddler, and a woman were baptized.

But I saw more.

I saw the ages of time replayed for all of us to remember.

We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water.
Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation.
Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage
in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus
received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy
Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death
and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.

(Baptismal Liturgy, Book of Common Prayer)

I was reminded of Genesis and Exodus and the Gospel stories.

And I marveled again at the repetition of water throughout the biblical narrative.

And I knew that creation, and the exodus from Egypt, and the baptism of Jesus should be included in our foundational stories.

What do you find in the creation account that repeats itself in scripture …

Last year I grabbed a trio of words.

Water.

Light.

Breath of life.

I returned to the storytelling training from my time in the preschool department of Bible Study Fellowship.

There I was encouraged to study each passage for words to define, dialogue to highlight, and descriptions to showcase. Our leader, Ms. Sherry, called them the “Three D’s.”

And so I encourage you to tell your stories with extreme care.

But let there be sights and sounds, and perhaps a bowl of water to touch in your classroom …

How do you bring the stories to life?

 

 

“All of his stories are true”

Don’t confuse this with story time –

Though I have always loved a good one. But this is not quite dad spinning a good ole tale before bedtime. Mine was the best at it. Mine had his own renditions of classics, such as The Three Bears, and I made an appearance in each. Such belly laughs would ensue, no matter how well I knew what was coming in the telling, that mom would holler a reprimand to settle down.

You can and should enjoy giggles in Sunday School, too.

But explain and remind your children that these are special stories.

  • Hold up a Bible. Ask them, “What is this?” An entire conversation may begin with this one question. One Sunday the first correct answer I received was “a chapter book.” And boy is it. It’s likely the largest chapter book that any child will hear.

 

  • Hold up a Picture Book Bible. Why? Because you will probably use one during the Sunday School year. They are not the same. One contains some of the stories from the other. Only some. And, one has pictures. (Please, oh please, use one with good pictures.) “Look at the these pictures. Were they taken with a camera?” Explain that the pictures are someone’s drawings, not the real thing.

 

  • Hold up a child’s story book. You think that any book will do, but be careful. As in, do not hold up a book about Santa or the Easter Bunny – you wouldn’t have those such books in your classroom, would you – because you are about to be sure that they know the difference between true and not true. And, just trust me. You do not want to make this more difficult than it need be. Cinderella or SpongeBob will do just fine and neither will squelch any childhood magic that some parent is trying to maintain. Just be sure that they hear that the stories that you’ll be talking about each week are not made up; they really happened.

 

You start with some semblance of these reminders every time you meet. 

I sometimes use a finger play that goes like this –

I open my bible,  (make open book hands)

and listen to God.  (cup hand behind ear)

He tells me what I should do.   (point finger up, to “heaven/God”)

I know that He loves me.   (cross arms over chest like giving a hug)

He hears when I pray.   (prayer hands)

And all of his stories are true.   (point finger and shake as if giving command)

And then you read or tell a good story, staying true to the text but adding some fun.

What Picture Book Bibles do you use …