And so...we are re-imagining Sunday School again at Faith Lutheran Church. Re-imaging how it can reflect the values of who we are and help learners of all ages know the welcome of Jesus and the peace of God in their lives. The school days of even our youngest children have increasingly become more full and require constant focused energy. I imagine a place on Sunday morning where they can slow down, are welcomed by name, encouraged to explore the world and be creative at their own pace. Surrounded by a culture that values achievement, I had been second guessing this idea of slowing down…until this afternoon. Now I am confident we are moving in the right direction.
I had invited the parents of our preschoolers-2nd graders to come and help prepare supplies for their child’s Sunday School class. A few moms came to help and one brought her preschool daughter, Maggie. We all had our work station, even Maggie. The adults were laminating game pieces and assembling kits of manipulatives and felt board stories. Maggie was the field tester! She checked out and tried just about everything. My confidence was growing as she played and chatted to herself, mixing and matching the supplies, using them in ways I had not thought of. It was a pure childhood moment watching her innate creativity, discovering new ways to play.
Then I brought out the altar complete with paten, chalice, and vase…all Maggie-sized. We dressed the altar in a green cloth and she put the sacred objects on the altar. We talked how it is just like the one that Pastor Jim stands behind in church. She nodded. She is in church every Sunday, so she knows.
Then she asked, “What goes on the plate? What goes in the cup?” I told her in church we put the bread on the plate and the wine in the cup. She nods. She knows because she is in church.
Then…she pulled up a small chair to the table, looked at me and said, “Come on. Let’s have the party.”
And there you have it. Faith. Church. Jesus.
Maggie showed me that we need to simply create a space of welcome with playful, creative and sacred objects and then let the children find themselves in God's story. That is the reason we come together each week, in worship and in learning, to hear the story and find our place in it. It is about transformation. God enters our life and we are changed – whether we are 3 or 83.
We are re-imaging Sunday School with all the Maggies in mind: slowing down, creating a culture of wonder and play, telling the stories of Jesus, and inviting each other to the party.
And so, as Maggie says, “Come on. Let’s have the party!”