Monday, October 29, 2012

The Exile and the Return

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the Exile and Return, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, November 4.

Last week we shared the story of the ark and the temple, and talked about meeting God in a special place and honoring him with certain routines that both honored God and helped remind the worshipers of the sacredness of being close to God. 

At the end of the lesson, we read Solomon's prayer of dedication of the Temple, where he prays, "But God, will you really live here with us on earth? The whole sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you. Certainly this Temple that I built cannot contain you either..." This week, we think about this again as we learn about what happened when God's people were taken away from Jerusalem and its temple, which they had believed to be God's home.

Some themes to explore:
* Where do we find God? What if we suddenly have no temple or tabernacle or special routines or things to honor God? Can we still meet God?

*What do we do when we're very afraid, when bad things happen to us? What do we pray for? What does God want us to do?

*What does it mean to be homesick? What were God's people homesick for during the story? Were they homesick for God?
*What changes have you been through that have been hard or scary for you? What did you do? Who gave you help? What should we remember when those times come?

*What does it mean to be faithful? How is it different to be faithful in hard times versus in easy times?

Ideas for Your Give A Gift To God time:
Reproduce the story.
1. Children could make their own physical elements of the Godly Play story, with blue yarn for the rivers. (Or maybe they can think of another way to represent them.) Pieces of wood for the cities. Can they make a chain out of pipe cleaners or strips of paper? (While they do this, teachers can talk about what the chain means--what it means to be in exile.) What could they use to make the people of God?

2. Children could draw or paint with watercolors a scene from the story: the destruction of the temple, the sad journey away from Jerusalem, the happy rebuilding of the temple.
3. Older children could use markers to trace the path of God's people on a photocopied map. Could they make a map of their own? One for the class?
4. Children could use colored sand to make a desert scene.

Explore themes from the story.
1. Children could take a large sheet of paper, divide it down the center into 2 parts, label the left side Times We Are Sad Or Scared, and the other side What We Can Do. Then the children can draw or paint pictures to illustrate both sides.
2. Children could draw or paint or do a collage on the subject of Where and When I Meet God Today. Is it in nature? In church? At home reading the Bible? Being with friends? This could also be done as a class project on butcher paper (like a mural.)
3. What does it mean to be faithful?
Children could make a collage or drawing or mural showing what it means to be faithful to God. Does it mean coming to church and worshiping together? Bringing an offering? Praying? Trusting? What else?
4. Children could draw or write about a time they were homesick. What helped them get through it? What would God want us to do when we feel homesick?
Some great verses to get children thinking:

“We sat down and cried by the rivers of Babylon when
we remembered Zion. How can we sing the song of the
Lord in a strange land?”
(Psalm 137:1, 4)

“Praise the Lord, all nations! Praise Him all people! For
His loving-kindness toward us is great. And the truth of
the Lord lasts forever. Praise the Lord.”
(Psalm 117)

Thanks for all you do!
Love, Becky

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Ark and the Temple

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the Ark and the Temple, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 28.

For a girl who could spend days moving furniture and little people around a dollhouse, I simply adore this lesson! I also love it because it explores the idea of God's abiding presence and helps us question exactly where God is. Where can we meet God? If it is in a church or temple, how do we keep that space sacred? If God truly meets us everywhere, anywhere, then what does that say about the sacredness of the space we occupy in our everyday lives? Which makes me think of a favorite song of mine, but that's another story. (Go here, if you want a treat!)

This story works wonderfully as a continuation of the story from a few weeks ago, The Ark and the Tent. Before, the people took the tent with them as they traveled, and learned that God goes with them wherever they go. Now, the people have settled and learn that God is not only present during times of transition but in ordinary times of daily life.

Another interesting theme to address is the idea of the usefulness of things in the worship of God. When the ark and the commandments were taken during battle and they didn't physically have them in the tent, were they really lost? When King David returned them, dancing into Jerusalem, what was he really celebrating?

Another very important theme to cover is that there is no physical place that can contain God. I'll have Solomon's temple dedication prayer typed up and in your room by Wednesday night this week. If you'd like to make it into a scroll to read during the lesson, as the script suggests, feel free. I believe we have some dowel sticks in the resource room. Balling up the paper and staining it with tea makes it look older and makes for a more dramatic presentation, if you like.

One other thing I didn't mention last week was the idea of making/offering sacrifices. Do we still offer sacrifices to God today? What kinds of sacrifices would God love? What kinds are important and why?

Some activity ideas to add to your own...

Pieces of the temple
A few of the classes began last week making special parts of the temple/tent. You could continue that this week, and you could even set up the items in a temple of your own making.  Kids could make an ark, the ten commandments, a table with 12 pieces of bread, a menorah, a laver, and an altar. (See all the ideas and photos here.)

*Cindy has extra incense in the fifth grade room for your kids to experience if you'd like to. 
"Visit" the temple
I'll have a poster of the real thing (or what archeologists think it looked like) in the Activity Room for you to visit.
While you're there, could your class reenact the temple dedication?

Make a temple
Could we make a temple out of a shoe box? (I've got several, let me know if you want them.) Or maybe draw a temple? Make one out of lego? (There's plenty of lego in the activity room.) First grade teachers, you have big blue Rubbermaid containers of blocks in your room. This would be a great time to use them.

Make a scroll with Solomon's Prayer
Depending on the age of the children, you could have them copy the prayer (or use a preprinted version), ball it up and then smooth it out, dye it with tea, and attach dowel sticks.

Research and draw/paint a priest in Solomon's temple
I've got a good book that illustrates the kinds of garments priests of that time wore. Some children might enjoy discovering that and reproducing it in some way.

Have fun with the lesson, y'all! And please take photos if you want. I'll have a camera in the table drawer in the Activity Room.
Thank you for all you do!
Love, Becky

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Psalms

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to The Psalms, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 21, based on the book of Psalms. I've emailed you the story script, which includes the first part of the David story from last week, found in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall, p.81. If you are not a Sunday school teacher at FBC Greenville and would like a copy of the Psalms story script, just email me and I'd be happy to send it to you.

In the script, we use the first part of the David story and then explore the idea that the Psalms writers went to God with all kinds of different emotions. We discuss how we can pray to God when we feel afraid, happy, angry, peaceful, sad or worried, and joyful, or when we feel sorry for what we've done. With each different emotion, we share a Psalm (or 2 or 3) that the Psalm writers experienced and shared with God.

To share the Psalms, we're going to use a beautiful book, Psalms for Young Children, written by Marie-Helene Delval and illustrated by Arno. In this book, Ms. Delval has adapted the psalms for children in a way that is so easy to read and to relate to. I've purchased one for each class (except for 3rd grade, which already had a copy.) You'll find it in your story basket, which I left near your Bible bookcase. I put it there to remind you (and me) that you'll need the Bible Bookcase as you tell the story. (You'll take the Psalms book out and place it on the underlay in part of the story.
By the way, the Psalms in this book are shared in order (by number.) They're so short that I think you'll find it hard to stop reading them!

To help the children follow along with the different emotions we'll be discussing I've made emotion cards for each class. I'll share a photo soon- I just found out that the illustrations I thought were from creative commons weren't afterall, so I'm remaking them with licensed illustrations.

Older children might enjoy comparing the Psalms as written in the Bible with Marie Helene Delval's adaptations. They might like making their own adaptations as well. You might want to choose one Psalm to focus on, like #23 or 139.

The wondering questions are included in the story script.

Ideas for Your Give a Gift to God time:
1. Writing our own Psalms--Have children pick an emotion that they sometimes feel and write God a prayer or song that they might pray or sing while feeling that way.
2. Write a psalm showing how you feel today.
3. Illustrate a Psalm. Choose a psalm and illustrate it, like Arno did in Psalms for Young Children. (Any Psalm would be good. If you want, you could choose the psalm for the children, like #23 or 139.)
4. Write a psalm together as a class, and then let the children illustrate it individually or together.
5. Work out a tune that fits a psalm that you like. Or write your own to sing.
6. Make instruments to play while singing a psalm. You can find directions to make a simple tambourine here, and a lyre here.

I hope you enjoy the lesson! :)
Love, Becky

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Story of King David

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of King David, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 14, based on 1 Samuel 16-31, 2 Samuel and 1Kings 1-2. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.78-85.

This week's story is another one (like Ruth and Samuel) that fits nicely after the story of the ark and the tent. And it follows right into the next story on our schedule: the Psalms, (to be followed by the Ark and the Temple.)

Some of the story's themes which you might want to help the children think about:
1. We can come to God with all sorts of feelings (as in the Psalms---we'll explore this one more next week)
2.God can help us be brave enough to do what is right and needed.
3. Friendship is a gift from God.
4. God uses people, even with their faults.
5. God forgives our mistakes when we ask for forgiveness.

Ideas for the Make a Gift for God Time:
1. Children could reproduce the elements of the story in some way.
* Make a harp
*Make a crown for King David
*Make an ark of the covenant
*Make a parable box for the parable that Nathan told David (there is plenty of felt in the resource room)
*Make a drawing of Jerusalem- or a watercolor.

2. Children could paint symbols of David's life (shepherd's crook, bottle of incense, two friends, crown, ark, etc) on small stones. There are stones in the resource room.

3. Children can celebrate David's childhood by making David with the sheep. Go to the site here, for plenty of options for crafting sheep. (Scroll down to "sheep")

4. Children could sculpt a David and Goliath out of play clay.

5. The class could work on a mural of David's life with one long piece of butcher paper- assigning parts of his life to individual children to illustrate.

I hope these ideas help!
Love, Becky

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Story of Samuel

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of Samuel, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 7, based on 1 Samuel 1-28:3. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.72-77.
This week's story is another one (like Ruth) that fits nicely after the story of the ark and the tent. And it follows right into the next story on our schedule: the story of David.

The story of Samuel is also very interesting to children for a couple reasons: they relate to the idea of a child growing physically and in relationship with God and they think about how God communicates- and probably wish that God would call their names in an audible voice.
Themes you might want to help the children think about:
1.God answers prayer
2. You can serve God even as a child.
3.God plans to take care of you (if you want a memory verse, you could use Jeremiah 29:11)
4.God asks us to stand up for what is right, as Samuel did.
5.Obedience (Samuel obeyed God even though he was not happy about what the
people wanted-a king)

Ideas for the Make a Gift for God time:
1. Reproduce the story in some way- make pieces, such as the ark, a Baby Samuel, robes of different sizes, (showing how Samuel grew during his service in the temple), a sleeping mat, a crown

2. Children could make a life size drawing of themselves and caption it: I can serve God right now! This could be done by having another child trace around their body on butcher paper. They could draw clothes on their body or use fabric from the resource room. Maybe they could hold something in the drawing that gives a hint to how they can serve God right now.
 3. A collage or drawing of how children can serve God right now. Children could make these individually and then put them together as a class project. (Ways include how they treat others, through prayer, in worship at church, helping others...)
4. Children could think about how they might like to serve God in the future. How does a doctor or teacher or engineer or scientist serve God? They could explore this in a drawing or make a model with play clay.
5. Children could act out the story of Samuel hearing God's call and going to Eli--and the rest of the story as well. (Be sure to video!)
6. Hannah makes Samuel a new robe each year and brings it to him in the temple. Children could make a "robe" from a paper grocery bag as we often do with Joseph, as shown here. (Scroll down and see the girl modeling hers!)

I hope this helps! :)
Love, Becky