Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Genesis 22 for kids?

Somebody asked about teaching Genesis 22 to children – the story about God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. Not sure what age range you’d use this with. If it’s in the curriculum or part of the liturgy, go ahead and give it a try.

Try pretending or role playing. What the children do with the story will depend on their ages but it would give you a chance to see how different ages interact with the story.

You could read the story aloud from scripture and pause to let the kids act it out as you go or read the whole story all the way through and then let the children re-enact it. If you have older kids it might be interesting to divide your group into 2 or more groups and see what parts of the story each group focuses on. Give them a prep time limit and a performance time limit.

Not sure how young you’d go with this. If kids are too young to actually interact with each other pick some part of the story – walking up a mountain with dad to do something scary, finding a sheep in the thicket. I’d suggest read, pause, act, read, pause, act. Start with the simplest form for the youngest an include more of the details as you work with older groups or just read it verbatim. Up to you. Kids will process what they can process.

Who are the characters? God, Abraham, Isaac, a donkey, 2 servants, lamb, angel, descendants?

What are the words that the children need to know and understand?

Do you want costumes or will you pretend?

Do you need props or can you just pretend? I would suggest pretending this one up until mid-late elementary school because of the knife, ropes, and nature of the experience given today’s culture. I want to think that the more freedom most children have to use their own imaginations the more apt they will be to process the story in a way that feels safe for them.

Where does it take place? How will you show it? How does place affect the story?

Are these questions you have to answer before class or are these questions that the kids can answer?

As age appropriate:
When your story is done see where the discussion goes. Ask how did ________ feel about God? About Abraham? About Isaac? About the sheep? About the donkey? Or ask: how would you feel if you were {pick a character]?

What do you think {pick a character] was thinking? How do you think [pick a character] thought about God at the beginning of the story? How do you think they felt about God at the end? If you have older kids, ask them why.

Add a craft and desert-y snack if you want.

I’m guessing you will learn something about the story, you will learn something about God, and you will learn lots about your children.

Here’s an aside, I never really thought about it before. God promised a lamb but the creature caught in the thicket was a ram. Is that significant?

Guess Abraham wasn’t picky.

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