Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Here's an interesting google search, "biblical jumping into the unknown."

Implications for children & faith? Sure! Fear at one end of the spectrum, adventure at the other. Real life & faith. Let's play with it. Let's explore.

So how do I search the scriptures to see what I can find? I wouldn't worry about "jump." Although it might be an interesting search. Jump makes me think of leap and leap makes me think of the stag in the Psalms and Song of Songs and there are probably other images of deer or surefooted creatures in dangerous-to-us places..

Deer aren't the bravest creatures on the planet but they live in the wilderness. You can search "unknown." "Wilderness" is another word I would search for. "Unknown."  "Dark," "Darkness," "Deep darkness." You could keep going with that.

You could also start thinking about stories about people in scripture wandering into the unknown or go back and look at words like "wander," "journey," "lost."

How about stories: Put yourself in the place of the people in the stories. Adam & Eve found themselves in the unknown (to them). God led Abraham & Sarah on a journey. When Noah re-emerged from the ark he didn't know what he was going to find. Rebecca didn't know what she would find at the end of her journey. Moses, Joseph, Caleb, Esther. Daniel. All had experience walking into the unknown-to-them. What other Bible stories can you think of where someone chose or was forced to wander or jump into the unknown... Remember how limited their experience was. They didn't have the global exposure we have today. I'll have to think a little harder to think of someone who JUMPED into the unknown. I know! David. Impulsive, passionate David and his adventure with Goliath. Anybody else you can think of?

You could do this kind of brainstorming with mid-elementary kids and older about most any topic. Makes them think. Ask open ended questions. Make it a game. Gives kids creative thinking tools they can draw on to kindle their faith in real life situations assuming they have a strong foundation of Bible stories up to that point. A good reason to lay deep Bible story foundations...

Who were these people? What did they face? Do I face situations like that? What did God do in that particular story for that particular person in the scriptures? How does it feed my faith in God? What should I remember?  Did God ever meet you in a situation like that? What did He do?

Have fun with this! There are closed questions (the questioner already knows the answers). It's good to have some specific stories in mind in case nobody can think of any. There are open questions (you ask a question and let the kids explore possibilities and implications, new-to-you observations)...be ready!

Maybe you can use this technique with younger kids, too. For younger kids, "Can you think of any Bible story where someone was afraid? Where someone was very brave? Where someone was sad?" Enjoy the journey. See where it takes you. I expect God will meet you and your kids there.

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