Saturday, 24 April 2010

Children's Church Question

I'm preparing lessons for next month's children's church teacher. We're just finishing up the gospels and, by the end of the month, we'll be starting Acts. I write the lessons myself, then find and photocopy colouring pages, and finally I look for illustrations (and this month I'm also going to get the flannel board stuff ready, but usually someone else does that for me). On the last Sunday of each month I get the stuff back from that month's teacher, replace the old lessons with new ones, check supplies, and turn it all over to the next teacher. Then, unless there are problems, I ignore the whole thing for a month (well, sometimes I ask the teacher how things are going, but mostly I can let them handle things themselves).

Today I've been finding illustrations for next month. I have the "Ultimate Bible Picture Collection!" with "8000 royalty-free Bible pictures in 375 folders on DVD" to help me, so it's pretty easy to find whatever we need (although sometimes I need to wade through some bad pictures (like the pictures of God, a lot of wimpy, baby angels, and one where it looks like Jesus is wearing glasses)). Some of the pictures are also freaky and might give my kids nightmares. Still, there's usually something good (although I used a picture from the file labeled "Amos" once for Jeremiah).

When it comes to pictures of Jesus, I have some hesitations. I don't want them getting into their heads, "That's what Jesus looks like," when there's no real way to know, especially since they can go from there to "That's what God looks like," and that can't be right. I actually talked to one of the elders about the problems of using pictures of Jesus. What we agreed was that they already see pictures that claim to be Jesus, so not using them is pointless. It's also very hard to find illustrations for the Gospels that don't have Jesus! What I've been doing (and the elder agrees with this) is using many different pictures of Jesus (the makers of the DVD pulled pictures from a lot of sources, like old story Bibles) so there is no actual "Jesus" being portrayed and they have less chance to form set mental images. So Jesus has different clothes and different hair, he changes sizes, his beard gets longer and get the picture.

Here's my question: I use three different pictures that obviously came from three different sources for the lesson about the Road to Emmaus. Do you think the kids will notice that not only is Jesus different in every picture, but so are the two men?

Monday, 19 April 2010

A Conversation in Sunday School

Teacher: What are the "flaming arrows" that we face?

Student 1: Trials!

Teacher: Okay, but be specific; what type of trials?

Student 2: Oh...being stoned!

Student 1: No on gets stoned anymore.

Student 2: Oh yeah, it's illegal to get stoned now.

Teacher: You remember that when you're older.

They still don't know why I was laughing.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Written in Sidewalk Chalk

Dear Abbey
I will play
I have to go home now.
bye bye

(past some coloured squares and surrounded by pink hearts)

Dear Colton
I am sad you cud not play with me.
Love, Abbey

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Meeting

Today was day one of my work's annual "gather in all the directors and have a meeting/training time." It was the challenging, growth, out of our comfort zone day (tomorrow is 8 hours of meetings, and the main challenge will be staying awake and not dying from boredom).

Today was not as bad as I thought it might be. In fact, it had nothing on other training sessions, including last year's amazing race (a full day of things I'm not good at). All we had to do was sell water. Each team of 4 had 18 bottles of water to sell: 9 cheap brand and 9 premium brand. First we had to make a 1-minute commercial for each brand. They were filmed at the local TV station (and no, they won't be aired; in fact, they need to be destroyed to avoid ever being seen outside our company because we showed the brand names in the ads). Then we had to sell the water.

Selling was easy. One of the guys in the group called a friend at a comic book shop (the friend gives out water at some group gathering thing) and got him to buy the lot. In fact, it was a bit disappointing and slightly annoying because he did this without consulting the rest of us, so we had no input or chance to talk about different selling ideas; further, the guy went with the suggested retail price and rounded up; I was ready to sell for much more. Ah, well; it was easy and we made the second largest amount of money.

The commercials were fun. I did the cheap water commercial for our group. We decided to aim at families, so I was the tired, stressed, thirsty mom with a purse full of stuff that I had to pull out to get to the water. The guy in our group sold the premium brand water; he played the part of a Norwegian dragon slayer.

Back at head office we watched all the commercials (and laughed a lot) and then voted on which one we thought was the best for each brand. To brag a little (hey, it's my blog), I not only received the majority of the votes for the cheap brand commercials (and the vote of the boss, his wife, and the director at the studio), but I also had the most votes overall. Our premium brand commercial also scored the most votes in its category, so we won the competition (did I mention that it was a competition? And there was a cash prize?).

Not a bad day at all!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

A Visit to the Synagogue

Today I bring you another World Religions field trip update, this time to the Synagogue. The day we went there was a bar mitzvah going on, which made it more interesting.

The service was primarily in Hebrew, and although the prayer book had both Hebrew and English, it was difficult to follow along as there was no way to track the Hebrew. Also, the Rabbi read (or recited) very quickly, although things were slower when the congregation joined in. For the most part, the readings and prayers were done in a sing-song type chant, sometimes more “sing” and sometimes more “chant.” The Rabbi did explain what was happening and what page to turn to in English; also, some of the prayers were in English, although they switched back to Hebrew for the prayers for Israel and the Israeli Liberation Federation. Matan, who was doing his Bar Mitzvah, also did a speech in English about his Mitzvah project as well as an explanation his Haftorah (since it was right before Purim, he read Samuel 15:2-34, about the Amalekites; he explained that the story means that we all need to kill the Amalekite within each of us “not all Amalekites are bullies, but all bullies are Amalekites”).

There was great respect shown for the Torah. It is kept in an ark behind a curtain and is covered in a velvet cloth. When it was brought out, it was carried down one side of the congregation and up the middle; when it was put away, it was carried down the other side and back up the middle. As the Torah passed, people reached out and touched it with their prayer books or the tassels of their prayer shawls (only a very few people touched with their fingertips); afterwards, the people kissed whatever had touched the Torah. After the reading, they held the scroll up and turned around; then certain people from the congregation came up to help cover it again. The reverence shown for the Torah made it seem like an idol, like they worshiped the object itself, to the point of not actually touching it. It is God’s words, but it is the words that are important rather than the scrolls.

After Matan read the first portion from the Torah, there was great joy in the congregation, with singing and clapping; the singing seemed to consist primarily of “Mazel Tov!” The Rabbi also threw candies at Matan to wish him a sweet life. After the reading of the Torah, Matan and the others from his Mitzvah class in some of the prayers.

The Shabbat service at the Synagogue was interesting, although sometimes hard to follow (some of the readings were transliterated so it was possible to follow along; for the rest, it helped to watch someone else to know when to turn the page). Many of the readings were familiar, especially the ones from the Psalms and the Levitical blessing. In form, it is much like a service at my own church, except with more Scripture being read and without hymns (although they do sing a lot of the readings). It is much longer, however; we left after two hours, when they started the announcements.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

He Is Risen!

See what a morning gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem
Folded the grave-clothes tomb filled with light
As the angels announce Christ is risen
See God's salvation plan
Wrought in love borne in pain paid in sacrifice
Fullfilled in Christ the Man
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead

See Mary weeping 'Where is He laid?'
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb
Hears a voice speaking calling her name
It's the Master the Lord raised to life again
The voice that spans the years
Speaking life stirring hope bringing peace to us
Will sound till He appears
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead

One with the Father Ancient of Days
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty
Honour and blessing glory and praise
To the King crowned with power and authority
And we are raised with Him
Death is dead love has won Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with Him
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead

Keith Getty; Stuart Townend

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A Conversation at Work

Student A: Is today Easter? Wait, what happened today?

Me: Today's Saturday. Nothing happened today.

Student A: Yeah, but didn't Jesus....oh, no, that's yesterday. Today He's dead.

Student B: He's not dead. He's alive.

Student A: Yeah, but He was dead today.

Student B: That was a long time ago. He's alive today.

Student A: No, I mean....

Me (to Student B): Yes, He's alive. (to Student A): You're confusing him. (to both students): Back to work.