This Sunday: January 10th

Welcome back to Ordinary Time! That’s the green time between Christmas (white with star) and Lent (where purple starts).

From Pinterest
From Pinterest

It is a time of growing. Like green trees and grass.

Here is what we will learn this week.

Beulah Land: Jesus in the Temple

  • Memory Verse: And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52
  • Summary: This Sunday your child will hear the story of young Jesus going to the temple with his parents. It is told in a way that ties together Old Testament Covenant stories with the Christmas story. It also serves as a bridge leading us to hear the Gospel stories of “grown-up” Jesus (which begin next week!). You can find the passage in Luke 2:41-52.
  • I Wonder… : if Jesus stayed behind on purpose or if it was an accident? why the teachers were so amazed with Jesus’s answers? if you have ever been lost and found?
  • Additional Follow-up: It’s interesting to think about Jesus as a child!  He would have grown up hearing Old Testament stories from Mary and Joseph, not unlike your children. One suggestion Beulah Land suggests is to draw a picture of Mary and Joseph telling Jesus these stories! Here’s an example from their curriculum.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 3.56.25 PM copy

Godly Play I & II: Parable of the Good Shepherd

  • Memory Verse: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11
  • Summary: This Sunday we begin stories about Jesus’ ministry. Over the next few months, your child will learn about his parables and miracles. We will begin with The Parable of the Good Shepherd, a story Jesus gives us about a shepherd who leads, protects, finds and rescues his sheep. This is a different sort of parable in that Jesus also makes the declaration; “I am the Good Shepherd.” I’ve chosen to lead with this one for several reasons, including that it pulls together Psalm 23, John 10, Matthew 18, Luke 15 (and our Communion lesson!) in a way that helps link the Old Testament with the New. It helps form the grid through which the kids begin to filter this set of Scripture stories by naming who this amazing man is.
  • I Wonder…:  if you have ever been in a dangerous place? have felt good grass and tasted fresh water? who these sheep could really be?
  • Additional Follow-up: There really are so many neat things you could do to re-tell this story at home. You could make sheep and a pen (or set up stuffed animals in the roles). You could draw pictures of the story. You could read Psalm 23 and wonder together about what “valley of the shadow of death” might be for humans. How can God’s rod and staff comfort us? That’s a wonder filled thought! You could even look up pictures of sheep and shepherds online. For older kids, use a concordance to see how many times shepherd/sheep are mentioned in the bible and read those passages together. How are they connected?
From Godly Play Resources
From Godly Play Resources

Advent Sunday: December 13

Don’t try to explain the Incarnation to me! It is further from being explainable than the furthest star in the furthest galaxy. It is love, God’s limitless love enfleshing that love in the form of a human being, Jesus, the Christ, fully human and fully divine. – Madeline L’Engle

Beulah Land: Operation No More Tears

  • Memory Verse:  You shall go out in joy and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the hills will burst into song and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
  • Summary: We are continuing to build anticipation for the arrival of the Christ Child! This week, they are learning about Isaiah, prophet to Judah, and what he foretold of the Savior. The story is called Operation No More Tears. It combines several summaries of chapters in Isaiah, including 9 and 55. We will continue to see a pregnant Mary get closer and closer to Bethlehem in our Advent spiral.

    This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.
    This is from A Holy Experience. We use one that is very similar.
  • I Wonder… : what Isaiah’s name means? what a prophet is? what message Isaiah had for God’s people? what about for us?
  • At home: Read at Isaiah 9 together say the names of Christ. Try to memorize them or the memory verse from this week.

Godly Play I & II: Advent Prophets

  • Memory Verse: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people! For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
  • Summary: We are continuing to prepare for the Mystery of Christmas through Advent stories. This week’s lesson draws attention to the shepherds out in the field on the night of Christ’s birth.
From the Wonder Circle Blog
  • I Wonder…: what the shepherds thought when they saw angels? what they felt? what you would do if you were a shepherd?
  • Additional Follow-up: Some interesting footnotes from The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible: Shepherds were unable to keep ceremonial law due to their line of work. They were a despised class and were considered unreliable — to the extent of not having permission to testify in court. What an odd group to witness such miracles! What an irrational group for the Lamb of God to come close to! Another interesting thing to note is that Scripture uses the word “host” as a military term designating an army…yet the angelic “host” that appears to the Shepherds is announcing peace. Wonder what that could mean? HERE is a link to blank comic strips. Maybe you and your child can create a comic of the shepherds and angels?

This Sunday: November 8th

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Jesus Story Book Bible’s The Terrible Lie

  • Memory Verse: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
  • Summary: This is the 2nd week of an 8-week break from our Beulah Land Curriculum. We are using the Jesus StoryBook Bible (JSB) in its place. Children will hear the story of Adam, Eve and the Fall this Sunday. Each week, the storyteller will read through the story once. Then the children will act out the story as the storyteller reads the account through a second time! We are practicing at church one way to engage your children with Scripture at home.
  • I Wonder… : what part of this story you like best? which part is most important?
  • At home: If you’d like to re-read this account at home, you can find it in the JSB pp. 27-37. You could also read it from another bible. You can act out the story or draw it. Sin and exile are heavy topics explored in this story. If you are curious about ways to talk about them at home, let me know!

Godly Play I: The Ark and the Tent

Isn't it interesting to see what the tabernacle looked like?!
The Tabernacle from Godly Play
  • Memory Verse: I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. Exodus 29:45
  • Summary: This week’s lesson focuses on the presence of God with the Israelites. Your children will discuss the way God commanded Moses and the Israelites to set up the tabernacle. As you may recall, the people were afraid to approach Mount Sinai. God would not leave his people, but He is also too holy to be addressed in an ordinary way. An important phrase repeated in this lesson is, God made a way for the people to come near.
  • I wonder…: what are ways we prepare to listen to God? how we prepare to hear from God on Sundays? how we get ready to listen for God everyday when we wake up? how God comes close to us?
  • Other followup: Use this time to practice getting ready! Identify something that helps you slow down so you can pray and listen. Maybe it’s a physical item you can hold. Maybe it’s a candle that you like to smell. Maybe you like to dim the lights. Your child might have something that helps them, too! Children LOVE routines and traditions. If you want to create your own Ark and Tent, do it out of play doh or like you would build a fort. Remember this story as we creep closer to Advent… God has made a way to be with His people.

Godly Play II: The Story of Abraham

The Story of Abraham
The Story of Abraham from Godly Play
  • Memory Verse: God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering. Genesis 22:8
  • Summary: This week, your child will hear an overview of the story of Abraham. This story highlights the birth of Isaac to barren Abraham and Sarah, God testing Abraham, and the promise of God to make Abraham into a great nation. You can find this account in Genesis 12:24- 25:11.
  • I Wonder…: why it took so long for Abraham to have a son? what it was like to hear that he needed to sacrifice his son? where else in the bible you’ve heard about a sacrifice of a son?
  • Additional Follow-up: Have you ever considered having an intentional time each week to talk with your children about faith? Kids often have an easier time paying attention when they can hold something in their hands or transition into a different environment intended for a particular purpose. I wonder what it would be like to create a pretend “campfire” in a room, find some time to be intentional about sitting around it and tell stories from Scripture? HERE is one you could make, though it doesn’t even have to be anything more than a wadded up blanket!

This Sunday: November 1

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Jesus Story Book Bible’s The Beginning

  • Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
  • Summary: This week we are starting an 8-week break from our Beulah Land Curriculum to utilize the Jesus StoryBook Bible (JSB). Children will hear the story of Creation read through once, then will act out the story as the storyteller reads the account through a second time!
  • I Wonder… : what part of this story you like best? which part is most important?
  • At home: You might not have felt figures at home, but the chances are high that you have a JSB! You can continue this lesson at home. Find this account in the JSB pp. 18-26. Re-read it at home. OR read it from another bible. Draw pictures of your child’s favorite part of creation.

Godly Play I: The Ten Best Ways

  • Memory Verse: Walk in all the ways that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33
  • Summary: Last week, we heard about the Exodus. This week we will turn our attention to when the Ten Commandments are given to the Israelites. The story begins with this line, “Now that the people are free, they can go anywhere they want to go and do anything they want to do. Where will they go now? What is the best way?” You can read the story at home in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:1-21.
  • I wonder…: why God gave the 10 Commandments? which is the most important? which is the hardest to follow? what happens when we don’t follow the best ways?
  • Other followup: The Ten Commandments raise some big concepts for little kids! What does it mean to break a marriage? Honor your parents? Keep the Sabbath holy? What happens when you don’t obey them? They’re big concepts for us adults, too! We are all constantly learning what it means to do these things in general and in particular. This is great fodder for conversation with your kids! Maybe pick a mealtime this week to eat together and talk about it as a family. Where do you see Jesus in the 10 Commandments? What about grace?

Godly Play II: The Great Family

  • Memory Verse: I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Genesis 22:17
  • Summary: This week, your child will be reacquainted with the “desert box”. Several lessons are given through this medium, as it is an important setting in Scripture. They will cover the story of Abraham & Sarah, the promise of God to Abraham (known as the Abrahamic Covenant in Reformed Theology), and Isaac & Rebekah. You can find this in Genesis 12-15, 24. One major theme repeated is the idea of the “great family” of God that includes Abraham, Jesus, you, and as many people as grains of sand in the desert.
  • I Wonder…: what God meant when he said there would be as many descendants as stars in the sky? who else is in the Great Family? what it was like Sarah and Abraham thought and felt when they learned they were going to have a baby when they were very old?
  • Additional Follow-up: Go outside and try to count the stars. Scoop up a handful of dirt and try to count the granules. Make a family tree. Can you trace the Christians in your family? Are you the first ones?

This Sunday: October 18

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Jonah
Memory Verse: I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” Jonah 2:9b
Summary: What a strange book this is! We have Jonah, a reluctant prophet, who is angry that God wants to extend grace to Israel’s enemies. When he refuses to share a message from God, Jonah is swallowed by a huge sea animal. He is left in the belly of the whale for three days to decide how he will respond to God’s judgment. When he is finally willing to take God’s message to Nineveh, the people repent. Rather than rejoicing, Jonah becomes angry and receives another experience in the hot desert sun to understand why God showed Nineveh mercy.
I Wonder… : what it is like to not want to do what God asks you to do? what it is like to run away from God? what it is like to be in the belly of a whale? if this story reminds you of any other stories?
Additional Follow-up: Play with water! Pretend to be swallowed by a whale. 

Godly Play I: The Great Family
Memory Verse: I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Genesis 22:17
Summary: This week, your child is introduced to the “desert box”. Several lessons are given through this medium, as it is an important setting in Scripture. They will cover the story of Abraham & Sarah, the promise of God to Abraham (known as the Abrahamic Covenant in Reformed Theology), and Isaac & Rebekah. You can find this in Genesis 12-15, 24. One major theme repeated is the idea of the “great family” of God that includes Abraham, Jesus, you, and as many people as grains of sand in the desert.
I Wonder…: what God meant when he told Abraham he would have as many descendants as stars in the sky? who all is in the Great Family? what is is like to think you will never have what you hoped for? to receive something you hoped for?
Additional Follow-up: Go outside and try and count the stars. Or get a handful of sand and try to count the individual grains. Make a family tree. Are there other Christians in your family? Are you the first set of believers?

Godly Play II: Falling Apart
Memory Verse: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15
Summary: Today your children will hear the story of the Fall of Man. Adam and Eve are in a garden where they enjoy God’s presence and his good gifts. But when they listen to the accuser and disobey God, everything falls apart. Find this story in Genesis 2-3.
I Wonder…: what made Adam and Eve want to eat the fruit God told them not to eat? what was most sad about everything falling apart? what part of the story is about you? what part is about God?

This Sunday: October 4

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Esther
Memory Verse: Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. Jeremiah 20:13
Summary: All of these Old Testament stories cover big themes, Esther included. During this lesson, children will learn that the Israelites were taken into exile and nearly extinct…that is until the Lord uses two of His people in an exciting rescue. This is a story one that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
I Wonder… : why Mordecai would not bow down to Haman? why the king listened to Haman’s plan to kill the Jews? how Esther came to be so brave? if this story reminds you of any other stories?
Additional Follow-up: Yep. I’m encouraging you to act out the story with your kids again. You can read the story while they kids do the motions. Who can be Haman or Mordecai? Have a Purim party. Purim is a holiday that Jewish people continue to celebrate. People often dress up as characters and role-play the story. When Haman walks out, people boo and hiss. Make and eat Hamantaschen.
Bonus:
 Esther takes place while the Israelites are in exile. They are far from home- the place where they worshiped God. Did they wonder if God was with them? While God is never mentioned in Esther, we see His providence and provision through the unfolding events of this book. I wonder if there are times in your life where God seems far away and silent? I wonder if events in your life have unfolded in such a way that they reveal the presence of God? I wonder if you see God’s presence in the lives of your children?

Godly Play I: Creation
Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Summary: Today’s story is about the creation. It is how we begin to trace the presence of God in our history. At the end of each day, we are reminded that God declared His creation “good”, and His human creations “very good”. You can find the story in Genesis 1:1-2:3
I Wonder…: what you like that God made? if there is something you don’t like in God’s creation? what God is most proud of creating? what we can know about the Creator by His creation?
Additional Follow-up: Go for a nature walk and point out trees or water. Ask what day God made those. Give a prayer of thanksgiving for those things.

Godly Play II: The Holy Family
Memory Verse: For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Summary: The Holy Family is a story that the Godly Play Curriculum advises to use at the start of every liturgical season or story type change throughout the year. The story is a simple description of the nativity scene that focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, death and resurrection. Because of the centrality of Jesus to all Scripture, it is important that children are consistently brought back to Him through the yearly spiral. It is the lens through which we Christians observe everything else.
I Wonder…: what you can tell me about the Holy Family? who is the most important family member? why it is important to remember the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus even during Ordinary Time (the green time)? what this has to do with you and me?
Additional Follow-up: Draw a picture of today’s lesson. Have your child tell you about each participant. I encourage you to not quiz the children to make sure they have the right answers, but allow them to talk about their picture and wonder about why we would care to remember something we typically only see at Christmas or Easter.

This Sunday: September 27

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Elijah
Memory Verse: O, Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 1 Kings 18:36
Summary: This week’s story covers a lot of ground! Your kids will hear events from Elijah’s life such as being fed by ravens, battling prophets of Baal and meeting Elisha. The structure of this lesson is meant to “emphasize the sovereign will of God and inscrutable nature of the  Living God, who, unlike Baal, is not to be tamed, placated or charmed by superstitious rituals, but is interested only in unflinching loyalty and righteous deeds.” Once again, your children will see the desert appear, and witness the recurrent theme of a “holy journey…whose leader and guide  is the Lord of Hosts.”
I Wonder… : why the people grew lazy and careless? why they stopped following God’s laws? why Elijah went out to the desert and holy mountain? if you have ever heard the ‘still, small voice” of God? if this story reminds you of other stories? where you have heard about the desert before?
Additional Follow-up: Once again, I encourage re-reading the story and acting out roles. There are several parts of Elijah’s account that lend themselves to this. Have someone be the raven that brings food to hungry Elijah. Have another child whisper in a “still, small voice” that God is with Elijah.

Godly Play I: The Holy Family
Memory Verse: For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Summary: The Holy Family is a story that the Godly Play Curriculum advises to use at the start of every liturgical season or story type change throughout the year. The story is a simple description of the nativity scene that focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, death and resurrection. Because of the centrality of Jesus to all Scripture, it is important that children are consistently brought back to Him through the yearly spiral. It is the lens through which we Christians observe everything else.
I Wonder…: what you can tell me about the Holy Family? who is the most important family member? why it is important to remember the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus even during Ordinary Time (the green time)? what this has to do with you and me?
Additional Follow-up: Draw a picture of today’s lesson. Have your child tell you about each participant. I encourage you to not quiz the children to make sure they have the right answers, but allow them to talk about their picture and wonder about why we would care to remember something we typically only see at Christmas or Easter.

Godly Play II: The Holy Trinity
Memory Verse: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians13:14
Summary: We’ve got one of those VERY mysterious and full of WONDER synthesis stories this week–the Holy Trinity. Today several lessons are pulled together to emphasize the presence of the Godhead in Creation, life of Jesus. Baptism and Church. The storyteller will help children wonder about a Three-in-One Presence.
I Wonder…: how God can be one, but three? where you have talked about the Trinity before? what it means when we baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Additional Follow-up: There are many ways in which we try to explain the Trinity to children…apples and eggs are two that come to mind. Yet those are not able to really capture what we believe. Instead of trying to figure it out, wonder about it over the week. Pray and ask for understanding as well as the ability to rest in God’s truth.

This Sunday: September 20th

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: David
Memory Verse: David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…” 1 Samuel 17:45a
Summary: Today’s story is about David facing Goliath. The story contrasts the size and power of the boy David and the giant Goliath, with the even bigger strength of God.
I Wonder… : if David was afraid of the giant? if the giant was afraid of David? what it is like to trust in the Lord? if this is like any other story you’ve heard?
Additional Follow-up: Kids process information and learn via play. Stage a battle with toys between the Israelites and Philistines. Act it out. Pretend a tall tree is Goliath. Marvel and wonder together about the Lord, who can equip an average boy to defeat a giant. Find the site of the battle on a map.

Godly Play I & II: Paul’s Discoveries
Memory Verse: Choose a verse from Acts 9!
Summary: Our final New Testament lesson this semester is about Paul and the spread of Christianity. The story discusses the role of Holy Spirit in changing Paul from the inside out, then using him to spread the hope of Christ to early churches. It’s told in 7 stages (Leaving Tarsus, Study at the Temple, Conversion on the way to Damascus, Escape from Damascus, Letters to the New Churches).
I Wonder…: what Paul thought when He met Jesus as he traveled? if Paul was afraid? what is most important about Paul’s life? what part of the story is about you?
Additional Follow-up: Find a map of Paul’s missionary journeys. Wonder together over why Paul was willing to endure hardships to spread the hope of Christ.

This Sunday

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Samuel
Memory Verse: 1 Samuel 3:10
Summary: Today’s story is about the birth and calling of Samuel to serve in the tabernacle and become a great prophet.
I Wonder… : why Hannah promised to take Samuel to the tent? if she wanted to? if Samuel wanted to? what it was like for Samuel to hear God call his name? if this story reminds you of any other stories.

Godly Play I & II: Mystery of Pentecost
Memory Verse: Acts 2:4
Summary: We are going back to the New Testament in our spiral curriculum since we weren’t able to finish these last Spring. This Sunday’s lesson is about Pentecost. This story begins with the Tower of Babel and shattering of a common language. It ends with the Holy Spirit descending on the early followers of Christ and the spread of Christianity.
I Wonder…: who the Holy Spirit is? what it means to have ‘tongues of fire’? what this story has to do with you? if you have ever come close to something like Pentecost?
Additional Followup: Fun Fact: Red is usually worn and used in decoration for Pentecost. Ask your child what color on the church calendar we use for Pentecost. If they’ve been in Godly Play before, they’ll know! Many denominations have historically viewed Pentecost as the birthday of the church. It’s the first recording we have of new believers in groups together, devoted to “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, breaking of bread and to prayer”. Read Acts 2 with your family and wonder what the early church was like. Give thanks that God sent Holy Spirit to help us.

The Godly Play Spiral

Godly Play refers to its curriculum as a spiral. Children enter the spiral as a three-year-old. Then, like a cone, the spiral’s circles move upward and outward as they ingest Scripture and are able to take in more of its meaning. This happens as children mature and achieve new developmental milestones. The curriculum aims to accomplish the long-term goal of equipping children with the ability to integrate God’s story in their lives. It is based on the Montessori tradition.

Google Images
Google Images

The youngest children (RMC’s 4-5 year olds) begin the Godly Play Spiral with “core stories” that are repeated as the child moves up and down the spiral. The goal for young children is to absorb the stories so they can build upon them as they age. A few examples of core stories are The Great Family (God’s Covenant with Abraham), The Exodus and The Prophets.

Core Story: Noah's Ark From Godly Play Website
Core Story: Noah’s Ark
Photo from Godly Play website

During the second stage (RMC’s  6-8 year olds), both core stories and “extension/ enrichment lessons” are taught. These lessons tend to be more detailed stories about characters from the bible. For example, a core story is The Exodus. Moses is certainly discussed in the story, but not in great detail. During the second stage of the spiral, children will receive a story about Moses, starting with him as a baby in a basket. When they go back through the spiral and hear The Exodus again, they will now have more information to contemplate and enrich what they know about Scripture.

Core Story: The Exodus- From Western Quarter Quakers Website
Core Story: The Exodus
                  Photo from Western Quarter Quakers Website

 

Enrichment Story: Moses- From Godly Play Site
Enrichment Story: Moses
Photo from Godly Play Website

The third stage (technically for 9-12 year olds, but we use some with our 6-9 year olds) includes what Godly Play calls “synthesis lessons”. Along with core stories and enrichment stories, older children begin to link stories from Scripture with one another. In a synthesis lesson, you might witness a child connecting the Parable of the Good Shepherd, with the story The Good Shepherd and Communion. Perhaps you will see a child form a link between the tabernacle, synagogue and church. Often stories are told side-by-side. As the older children circle back down and up the spiral, they will have even more fodder for understanding those core and extension/enrichment stories.

Core Story: The Good Shepherd and World Communion Photo from Godly Play Website
Core Story: The Good Shepherd & Communion Photo from Godly Play Website

 

Core Story: Parable of the Good Shepherd Photo from Youtube
Core Story: Parable of the Good Shepherd
Photo from Youtube

Sometimes parents (and occasionally the children!) will ask why they need to hear the same stories repeatedly. That is a great question! Don’t we adults ask that of our own study? The short answer is because those stories are important, vital even, to us.

The long answer has more to do with our beliefs as Christians about Scripture and how the Holy Spirit works through it to transform us. The goal of Godly Play, or really for any Christian studying Scripture, is not simply to acquire knowledge or become an expert in all things bible. The goal we have is for children to encounter Scripture, and therefore a good, loving God, and be changed more into Christ’s image as they spend a lifetime in study of it (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).