Friday, May 22, 2009

Ascending Texts for Children

Whew, it's been a busy couple of weeks. Now I'm looking at incorporating Ascension into the beginning of the service then moving on to the selection of the replacement disciple. That means the children's story and Ascension text will come close to each other. How do we share texts like this with children, or adults for that matter?

Our tendency is to avoid such texts and yet we risk increasing the split that exists between religion and the balance of life? How about we talk honestly about how we read these texts. (The children aren't toddlers, they are elementary at least.)

Why not talk to them about what they imagine when they hear the story and how Jesus' isn't a "super hero" with cape. We could say when we hear the story we should read around it and see what else is there to learn. We can understand that people of different times experienced the events of Jesus' life differently than we do. The story is more than a set of physical facts. We can say that we dare not limit God's action in the world to that which we can understand.

Barbara Brown Taylor writes,
"Both science and religion have been guilty of using "God" as a synonym for "that which we do not understand." The danger in that is that science gets to determine how big God is, forcing God to retreat further and further into the regions of the unknown as science extends the boundaries of the known. Rather than invoking God only when natural explanations fail, it may make more sense to understand God as the God not of facts but of meaning."
So I will attempt to talk to the children about stories that give meaning to our understanding of who Jesus is. Perhaps they will have less trouble understanding than the adults.
We shall see how it comes out!

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