Today was a pretty exciting day. Our story today was "The Flood and the Ark." It is brand new to the room this year thanks to a generous donation by one of our members. The kids noticed it on the shelf right away on the first day of the Sunday school and have been eagerly awaiting it's telling. Here are the words I used today to tell the story:
When God created everything, God said, "It is very good."
But people began to do bad things.
God decided to send a great flood of water to wash everything clean and make it new again.
The God saw a good family. The father was Noah. Noah came so close to God, and God came so close to Noah , that Noah knew what God wanted him to do. God wanted Noah to build a big boat called an ark.
As Noah and his family built the ark, animals came from all four corners of the earth. They came two by two to fill the ark.
Then it began to rain. Water came down from the heavens and up from the earth. It rained and rained...and soon the water covered everything.
But God did not forget the creatures of the ark. After forty days and forty nights the rain stopped. God sent a great wind to dry up the water.
Finally the ark came to rest upon the earth. The creatures began to come out of the ark. Noah and his family were so happy to be home again that they made an altar and gave thanks to God.
Suddenly, they saw a great bow in the sky, a bow of many colors. You can still see it today when there is rain and the sun is shining. We call it a rainbow. This rainbow was God's sign to say that God will never send such a flood again.
The creatures then went out into all the four corners of the earth and filled it up again with life.
I love this way this story is told in the Godly Play Curriculum. After reading through the lesson materials I went to look online for some videos of the story as I usually do when preparing to tell a new story. I found a few examples, but was disappointed to see that in all of them, the storytellers had added text beyond what is in the Godly Play version. Now on the one hand, Godly Play encourages storytellers to make the story their own, not to memorize it like a script but rather to simply work with it until one is comfortable enough to tell it from one's own heart. For whatever reason, though, in watching the videos for this presentation I noticed far more additional story elements being added to those present in curriculum than I have seen in other stories. Perhaps because it is such a well-known story, many feel the need to include pieces they are familiar with from other versions. One of the wondering questions we always ask at the end of our sacred stories is, "I wonder if we could leave anything out of this story and still have all we need." Personally, I think Jerome Berryman did a wonderful job of distilling this story down to it's essence. It is told so simply so that even our youngest members can access it, but none of the complexity of the story is lost.
Today during our wondering time after the story the one of the children wondered, "Was the rainbow God's promise to never send any flood or just a really big one like in this story?" When we wondered what might be the most important part of the story, one child offered, "When they people started to do bad things because if that wouldn't have happened, none of the rest of the story would have either." When asked where they saw themselves in the story some pointed to Noah's family and others to the animals when they were watching the rain from inside the boat.
Creative response time was a whirlwind of activity today. I have noticed that, unlike last year, this year the children this year have had no problem deciding what they would like to work on. Today the room burst with beautiful blue and green paintings of the floodwaters and multi-hued rainbows. May children continued working on their Garden of Eden works from last week as well. Several of our youngest members had a chance to use the paint boards for the first time today. It was wonderful to see them all working hard to find the rugs, paint boards, paints, water cups and the myriad of other materials needed for their work with very minimal assistance from the adults in the room.
I have to admit that I was so in the moment with today's story and creative response, that I completely forgot to take pictures. I finally remembered during our feast time and snapped a few. Though I'm sad I can't share more with you all visually today, I'm feeling very blessed and grateful for the focused and sacred time the children and I spent together today.
Below the pictures you can find some links to a parent-page for today's lesson as well as a couple of video versions of today's story from other storytellers. Also please head over to our News and Announcements page to see a list of upcoming stories and other important Sunday School dates. Next week we will have our first story that uses the Desert Box - another eagerly awaited element to the Godly Play room.
Until next week,
Click here to see a video of another storytellers version of today's story.
Click here for a second version of today's story.
Click here for a copy of the parent page which includes a story summary and picture of today's materials to foster conversation with your child about today's story.
Godly Play Team
Hannah Hannover, Minister to Children and Families and Genya Coffey, Christian Education Team Coordinator make up our current team of guides and storytellers. Both have attended workshops in order to receive certification from the Godly Play Foundation. They will take turns authoring the blog posts found here. Interested in joining the team? Be sure to let them know through the contact page.