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Reflections - Questions
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 00:00 Eleanor Deckert
I love to prepare and plan and get ready. How can I illustrate the story or character or teaching with art, a song or skit? How can I take ink on paper and bring it to the children in such a way that is stays strong in their memory?
But, more than the singing, craft, reading or memory verse, the thing I like best of all are the questions!
Here are a few samples. Maybe you'd like the challenge of composing your own answers?
Some are vocabulary questions. It's easy enough to give a definition. One lad never heard the word “worship” and thought I said “war ship.” He also never heard the word “priest.” “Bible” and “Old Testament” and “New Testament” and “Scripture” and “Commandments” and even “prayer” are new words which need to be explained. The questions help children puzzle over new ideas and alert the teacher to misunderstandings that need clarification.
“God” is a pretty big idea if you aren't used to it. In one group there was a small child who looked alarmed and covered his mouth whenever I said “God” or “Jesus” or “Christ.” I couldn't figure out why he looked like there was danger? Then I realized, these are terms spoken in anger in his family and he is scared.
“So, is God like the President?” a resident south of the border asked. “Were there lots of gods at first and they had a battle the One God won?” This suggestion came from another boy who had read some mythology.
“What if Adam and Eve didn't eat the forbidden fruit?” and “Why didn't God stop them?”
When “Jesus” is the topic of a lesson, I can see in their eyes that their minds have to stretch. “Wait. Are there two gods? Or three? How can three be one and one be three?” Here's a question I have heard several times, “Why didn't Jesus get down off the cross?” often coupled with “Why did anyone want to kill Jesus?”
Factual questions are much easier to answer, “What are those letters over the cross 'INRI'? and the 'ΑΩ' what do those mean?” Statues and stained glass, symbols and rituals all need explanations. “Why did the artist paint that round, flat golden plate over his head?”
Sometimes the topic of church comes up. “Why are there so many churches?” and “Why do we have to be quiet in church?” or “What if you never get baptized?”
Heaven and Hell stimulate questions, too. “What if a person was really really really good, but they did one bad thing?” or the heart breaking “My Dad doesn't believe in God. Will he go to hell?”
You may be wondering what answers I give? First I always say, “Thank-you for asking. That is such an important question. In fact, that is one of the main questions everyone asks. I will tell you what I have learned, but it is important for you to keep asking and looking until you find an answer that makes sense to you.”
It is encouraging to remember this message from the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus spoke to his followers, “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” As if to emphasize the certainty of the promise he repeats, “For everyone who asks receives, and whoever seeks finds, and to whoever knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
No wonder they call the Gospel the Good News!
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