Sunday, October 12, 2008

Holy ground

At Sunday school today we had 15 children ranging from almost 2 to 13. The “Focus on the Family” curriculum we are using goes through different themes like “Jesus paid the price.” And the one we’re in now is something about faith; I forget the exact description. I don’t like the book we’re using very much. It seems to take a theme and try to fit a verse into that theme rather than looking at a larger passage of Scripture. It does have interesting illustrations, though.

This time we had a little trail on the floor sprinkled with potato starch. Each person had to try to walk along the trail and get to the end without getting powder all over their shoes and leaving footprints. All the kids tried, it from the smallest to the biggest. And no one could do it without leaving a footprint. It was humanly impossible.

Next, we had a dramatization of Moses taking his sandals off before the Lord’s presence in the burning bush. I think the kids had a little trouble making the jump from a trail of white powder to Moses taking off his sandals to our own clean (or dirty) hearts. But they seemed to get it in the end. Somehow it will all tie in with faith next week.

When I was in college, I was praying one time and saw a vision of someone (myself?) walking around with gum on his shoe. Once he stepped in it, it went around with him everywhere, and trying to clean it off did no good. As he walked in different places, he kept leaving a little bit of the stickiness behind.

No matter our age or level of knowledge, we’ve all felt the burden of sin. It follows us around everywhere. Maybe no one else knows about it, but we know it’s there, and the Lord certainly does, too. Just like we wouldn’t walk into a palace with bubblegum on our shoes, it feels shameful to come before the Lord or to His House with sin in our lives. Just as Moses fell to his feet in the Lord’s presence, so a glimpse of the Lord’s holiness shows us our tainted our lives really are. Next to the aroma of His presence, our lives give off a horrible stench.

We told the kids that they would have to wait until next week for the rest of the story. “Repent, repent,” the older ones whispered, and the younger ones copied them. I guess they know where our stories usually lead...

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
-2 Cor.7:1


4 comments:

  1. Да, интересно, что почтение к Богу выражается в разувании. Пример с жвачкой на ботинке - хорошая иллюстрация :)

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  2. I was quite interested in your view of this curriculum. I have come to the conclusion that this is the primary difference (or so I thought) between Catholic religious education and Protestant.

    In our texts they always start with the theme or concept to be explored, and then find supportive scriptures - usually a LOT of them! So the idea that Catholics don't study Scripture is not true - just that the Scriptures are used to illustrate basic themes rather than starting with a Scripture passage to see what it teaches. I do see some advantage to this - that is, it makes it easier to build on ideas from theme to theme, week to week and make connections. However, it does not give students the idea that out in the world on their own, they can turn to Scripture and explore what God has to say to them.

    Anyway - I love that "dust" illustration, but I don't quite see how it connects with Moses. What is the progress of ideas there?

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  3. Annie, I think the dust simply represents sin that keeps us from having a proper relationship from God. The example with Moses could be seen as a Old Covenant ritualistic cleansing which parallels the sacrificial cleansing of Christ's blood. But I honestly didn't look at the next lesson because it's my week off!

    It's interesting what you pointed out about Protestants and Catholics. In general Protestant churches I've been in have had a mix. Sermons can focus on something specific like joy, or they can just look at one passage of scripture. What is often frowned upon is taking verses out of context. Or maybe you are talking about exegesis vs eisegesis?

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