Friday, November 29, 2013

On Sunday School, Bleach, and Green Food Dye

I have the privilege of teaching the Children's Sunday School class at my church.  Notice I said the Children's Sunday School class.  One of the challenges of being a small congregation is the combining of a variety of ages in this class; however, it is also one of the blessings.  I've loved seeing the older kids help the younger ones in games or crafts, explain a story element that went over the young ones' heads or encourage them in recalling a story or verse.  It is very much a harkening back to the one-room schoolhouse days (or what homeschooling parents do every day).

I strongly believe that Sunday School should be fun.  I want that hour on Sunday morning to be something the kids look forward to each week; it helps to create their first impressions of fellowship in the body.  To that end, I try to have a craft, object lesson or game of some kind each week. Sometimes these elements are hits and sometimes they are strikeouts!  Even when I've struck out, the oldest of my group will invariably give me an understanding look and a weak, "It was kinda fun."  (This boy has a very kind heart.)

The class that has been the most memorable one for me this year is one that could have quickly become a fiery crash and burn!  We were discussing clean and unclean and the transition that occurs with Jesus.  In the Old Testament, if a person came in contact with something/someone unclean (dead, diseased, etc.), then the uncleanness would spread to them.  We were studying a particular passage in Ezra where the men had married pagan wives and were told to put them away.  This was a hard lesson for the kids to understand, so it was wonderful to show in the New Testament that cleanness conquers uncleanness in regards to marriage  (1 Corinthians 7:10-16).

We then saw how Jesus conquers all uncleanness in the story of an ill woman:
And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.  For she said to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well."  But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well."  And the woman was made well from that hour."  ~ Matthew 9:20-22
To make this clear to the class, I brought in water bottles filled with bleach and a box of food dyes.  We would put a drop or two in the bleach, shake, and watch the color disappear.  This was a hit!  The kids loved it!  We tried all the dye colors I had brought.  In my enthusiasm, I pushed the process a little and put several drops of green dye in with a "no matter how dark our sins..."  Shake and.... the green remained!  My fellow teacher (and mom of some of the kiddos) looked a me with widened eyes and a barely suppressed grin and began thinking of ways to bail me out!  Thankfully, with more vigorous shaking, even the heavy green dye was no match for the bleach.

What had begun as a lesson for kids became lessons for the teacher.  First, always try experiments first at home!  Second, sanctification seldom occurs quickly.  Like that green dye, some sin takes work to eradicate.  I'm fairly certain the teacher learned more than the children that morning.

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