08 June 2011

Circle of the Holy Eucharist - part three

As I've said already, I presented this lesson on the fly. The downside to this was leaving out some of Berryman's poetry, which I hope to include next time: [Holy Communion] helps us go where words and thinking alone cannot take us. ... This is a time to lift up our hearts, to give thanks and praise. What is beginning to happen is a great mystery. We remember the Last Supper of Jesus and the Twelve and then gradually we are there and it is here. ... Jesus is with us in the bread and wine and we are all together, all over the world, and with all who have lived and died in this huge family of families called the Church.

But the upside was that it was a very personal lesson, about our congregation.

At the end, I wondered which part was their favorite. The child who answered first was not the one who usually answers first. And she pointed to one of the photographs of her mother. 

I still have to work on letting their answers stand for themselves, and not suggesting interpretations, or rephrasing things for them, but I was glad to add or reply this time that one of the nice things about going to adult church would be worshiping together with their families. 

I didn't ask any other wondering questions. As I've said elsewhere, we did look briefly at the liturgical colors in the photos, but really, the children's attention had been exhausted. They were somewhat silly in the response time, and I think it was partly the need to relax after such a long and focussed lesson. It's probably a very good thing that our 3-year-old was absent that day! 

It's a long lesson, and there are no figures to move around, no sand to smooth out (I didn't even have the recommended green underlay). I really pushed my children to the limits of their attention span. But just as they'd begin to flag, there'd be another photograph featuring one of their parents or something else that would catch their attention again (or I'd sing another one of the responses, for example). Almost as soon as I'd finished, one child had a question. I don't think that's happened before in our classroom.

Before collecting the material, I had held up the table, the wine and the bread from the World Communion lesson to introduce the topic. And then, although I left out a lot of Berryman's phrasings, I did keep his idea of setting the scene with two episodes (much abridged) from the life of Christ - the beginning and end of his ministry: his reading Isaiah's prophecy in the synagogue of his hometown and his Last Supper with his friends. The first illustrates the first half of our service, the Liturgy of the Word, and the second illustrates the Liturgy of the Sacrament. On those cards, I used illustrations I had found on-line. This is what one artist thinks that might have looked like. Our children had not heard the first story before, but had heard the second, and I think enjoyed that feeling of "Oh, yes. I remember this!".

All throughout this lesson I felt that we saw connections and moved back and forth between the unfamiliar and the familiar. The Old Testament reading might be one of our Sacred Stories, like the story of the Ark and the Great Flood, or it might be the words of a prophet. Our choir usually sings the Psalm - look who's singing here in this picture. --It's Pappa! 

These were children aged four and five, who don't read yet, and they followed this Enrichment Lesson all the way through. They took it in, asked intelligent questions at the end, and seemed to enjoy it. I was so proud of them, and pleased for our congregation as a whole.


  1. I LOVE the cards! I especially like the smaller pictures with their suggestion of a connection to the larger one - the children can ponder those connections over and over as they use the cards. Very cool! It sounds like the lesson went well, and how sensitive of you to be thinking of and preparing the children for sitting through Church this summer.

  2. Thank you, Leslie! I was a little nervous about adding the small Godly Play pictures, so it's especially nice to hear your positive take on it.

  3. I like the godly play pictures included. LIke vandrver I think orange and gold are too close in colour and prefer white backgrounds for photos anyway.

    I think you did marvellously to keep the kids' attention for as long as you did. Thank goodness you didn't learn the poetry cos I think that would have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Singing refrains and keeping interst in the pictures was fab and I was really impressed how the kids linked what you said and what they saw with what they have learnt this year about liturgical colours and the church year (clock) too.

    WEll done everyone I say :)


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