This week I had the daunting task of teaching the whole metanarrative story of the Bible in under 25 minutes to our #kidmin students. Our theme for the weekend was restoration and we centered ourselves scripturally in Revelation 22:1-6.
1-5 Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age.
Don’t Put It Away on the Shelf
6-7 The Angel said to me, “These are dependable and accurate words, every one. The God and Master of the spirits of the prophets sent his Angel to show his servants what must take place, and soon. And tell them, ‘Yes, I’m on my way!’ Blessed be the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
I read the story to our kids while we took up offering from “My First Message” because we have a lot of 4-6 year olds that still bring their picture Bibles and I wanted to read to them from something that would be familiar to them. It went over well because many of them had this passage in their Bibles. They tended to group Revelation 21 and 22 together.
After reading that passage we dove right into the metanarrative of the Bible. Here is how I broke down the lesson.
Today we are going to learn a really big word.
That word is “restoration.”
Do any of you know what that means? (I paused and took some suggestions from the kids and some of them were close, but most of our older kids would define restoration with “restore” in it. They would say something like:
“It means that that God will restore something.”
(Back to teaching). Well, this morning I thought I better look up the definition of the word “restoration” so that I could explain it to you. The dictionary told me the following:
“A return of something to a former, original, normal, orunimpaired condition.”
That makes me think of something that God said about something he created. Do any of you know what God created and that
He said was Good?
Many of them shouted out that God said that about creation. After telling them that they were right I asked for a volunteer to come up and help me tell this giant story. I then handed them a 8.5×11 drawing of the creation symbol that Micheal Novelli used in his “Echo the Story” curriculum that is featured in his books “Shaped by the Story” and “Enter the Story.”
I then took out a ball of yarn and asked the kids if they knew what it was and of course they yelled back yarn and I told them they were correct, but for this week it was something else. This ball of yarn and the yarn that we would be using would represent “God’s ultimate plan of restoration.” The kids then asked why the yarn was in a bag to which I explained that the bag represented all the things in the stories that were to follow that cause God’s plan to fall just a little bit short. The bag would represent all the little sins that kept God’s plan of restoration from being completely fulfilled. The goal was to see how God’s plan would go from creation, which he called good to the new creation that we read about in Revelation 22.
“God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!” Genesis 1:31
Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. Rev. 22
I then took the string and wrapped it around the first child’s waist and explained that God’s plan started with something good and that his plan would continue into two very important people. The kids began yelling out “Adam and Eve.”
What happened to Adam and Eve?
Did they follow God’s direction, or did they do something they were not supposed to?
The kids began to shout out that they did not follow God’s way and I explained that the next symbol represented the separation that happened when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.
So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life. Gen. 3:23-24
I started to wrap the “plan” around the child that held up the “separation” symbol and asked whether or not Adam and Eve helped God’s plan for restoration, or if they had allowed sin to keep them from being with God.
The kids knew this was not what God had in store because we had read the end of the story (Rev. 22). The question I asked them is the key connecting question for the whole lesson.
Even though Adam and Eve fell short of God’s plan for restoration did God stop loving them?
They answered with no and we moved on to the next piece. I talked to them about how even though God made them leave the Garden he still had a plan for Adam and Eve and that was for them to multiply the earth with children.
I am going to pause the post here because I want to break up the reading for this lesson because it would be a lengthy post if I did not break it up. Even though the lesson is wordy we did manage to go through the whole restoration story in just over 26 minutes in both of our services. I also talked with many of our adult volunteers after their small group time and asked if the kids “got it” and many of them said that the explanation was clear which made me relieved because even during the lesson the question of whether or not I was clear enough to explain God’s plan to restore creation to something that is beyond “good.”
Look for part two tomorrow.
P.S. I had some great 30 Hour Famine glasses that helped as an ice breaker for the kids right of the bat. Many of them told me to go back to my regular glasses.