I have always been in church. It’s what happens when one parent plays the piano, the other leads music, your grandparents clean the church, and your aunt does children’s ministry. If the doors were opened for church service or prayer meeting or some other event, we were there.
The other day, I found myself thinking back to my early years of Sunday School. It was a big year when we graduated out of the room with the low table and small, brightly colored, plastic bear chairs.
I remember the easels which held the flannelgraph board, you know – the storytelling system which used a flat board covered with flannel fabric. The Bible stories would unfold with pictures while each teacher would try to effortlessly place the picture on the easel in sequence and hoped it would stay up for the entire story without moving. In a perfect world, Noah’s ark would look like this:
Technology has changed so much of the way we now tell stories with videos replacing the need for flannel boards and pictures. I remember laughter squealing from a table of kids as the paper pictures would fall to the floor or spin upside down. It was a special Sunday lesson when your name was called to come and help place a picture up on the board.
The teaching of the Scriptures, need to start at a young age, when hearts are yet soft and malleable, eager to be taught. Paul reminded Timothy, a young man ready to go into ministry –
And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15, NIV)
It was in the telling of those Bible stories that we found ourselves being invited into God’s story, as the teacher would call us up to place the next frame on the board.
We need to learn how to be hands on, and hearts involved, in the story God unfolds around us every day. John knew the “hands on” method was the most effective means of learning in his own life as well –
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. (1 John 1:1, NIV)
John saw with his eyes. He touched with his hands. And the lessons burrowed deep into his heart and mind. Something occurs when we become engaged with The Story.
Not only do we absorb Him into our own lives.
We then proclaim Him to others as well.