We are in the season of the year in which we learn about Jesus’ miracles and parables.
Parables are stories Jesus used to teach us about God and life in His Kingdom. They often confused, shocked and even angered hearers. In fact, Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew 10 that not all who hear the parables will understand or accept them. The passage falls (conveniently) between the Parable of the Sower and an explanation of the Parable of the Sower. Hm. I wonder what that’s about?!
Speaking of wonder, in Godly Play, stories utilize wondering questions as a way to help children explore Scripture. For parables, the questions help consider who the characters are, why the crowds followed Jesus, and what Jesus means when He makes obscure statements like “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.”
Here is an example of those questions:
- I wonder what this could really be?
- I wonder if (figures) have names?
- I wonder how (character) felt?
- I wonder if you have ever come close to a place like this?
- I wonder where this (particular) place could really be?
- I wonder where this whole place could really be?
Something you should also know about parable stories is that there is wondering before AND after the story.
We always start a parable with a bit of theology to help understand what a parable is.
- The story box is old and gold. A parable is old. It is valuable, like gold.
- They’re in a box like a present. Parables are gifts to us. We did not earn them. They were given to us.
- We always knock on the lid because parables have to open up to us! They are not always easy to understand! We must go back to them again and again so that we can understand. They are rich in meaning.
When the parable box finally opens, the children and storyteller wonder about what the colored underlay (sort of like the backdrop for the story set) could be. Is the green underlay a lily pad? If the yellow underlay a warm sun? This is a warmup for the kids! It helps them begin to wonder what the figures in the story might represent. It helps with focus and wondering after the story.
To see what parable your child is learning each week, please remember to check in each Sunday on this blog! There will be an explanation of the story, a memory verse for home and suggested questions for further exploration as a family.