Sunday, January 7, 2007

Lesson 15: And the Walls Come A-Crumblin' Down

Today, our class went really well. The kids seemed a bit tired, but they were well-behaved, in that they participated in the class discussion, read when asked to, and didn't just stand up and wander around the room. I guess JC was right about the weird holiday energy being part of the issue the past few weeks. We decided to do the Book of Joshua, in one session. It's a pretty basic story, especially if you skip the nineteen repetitions of the land allocations (which we're going to do with maps next week anyway, before we get into Ruth).

We began the lesson by doing a clapping game. JC clapped a rhythm, and the rest of us clapped it back to him. After a few rounds of that, when everyone seemed to be following along pretty well, he asked Joshua to lead. Joshua was really bashful at first. "I can't think of anything!" he groaned. When he finally clapped a little rhythm for us, it was a bit fast, and the other kids weren't really ready, so no one got it right. "Do you want to do another one?" I asked him. Again, the bashful face, the creeping down in his chair. "It's hard to be the leader all of a sudden, isn't it?" He nodded. "That's how Joshua in the Bible felt, when Moses died and he had to lead the children of Israel."

We talked about Joshua's miraculously dry Jordan crossing, and told the story about Rahab, which none of them had heard (I guess little kids' classes avoid words like "harlot"). Lachlan and Amanda seemed relieved that there was finally a story about a woman--it's been a while since we've discussed any of the Bible's heroines. The kids' eyes grew wide when we explained exactly what it meant to live in a walled city. I think they must have previously imagined garden walls or something. When they learned that these were walls so big that Rahab lived in them, they could hardly believe it.

"And Joshua knocked those big walls down?" Lachlan asked.
"With God's help," JC said.

We didn't discuss the things adult classes often do, as far as Rahab was concerned. We left alone the question of whether she was a prostitute or an innkeeper, and none of them read carefully enough to ask us what a prostitute is, assuming they didn't know--thank God for that, as I didn't feel like explaining. We also didn't talk about how Rahab lied, which is the big moral dilemma in adult classes. Instead, we talked about how she was clever, how she had tricked the spies' persuers. We also pointed out the amazing power of God, even at this early point in the story. Rahab told the spies that everyone in town was freaked out because God was getting a reputation. Also, God lead them to the one person in town who would hide them, give them the information they needed, and help them escape.

The kids knew the rest of the story, where the walls actually fall down. It's been made into a Veggie Tales episode, after all.

I did totally blow their minds with the whole Joshua=Yeshua=Jesus thing, though. It's tough to explain, how "Jesus" is the English pronunciation of the Latin translation of our Savior's Hebrew name. Once they got that, JC added that Joshua of the Old Testament actually had another name. "'Hoshea' was what his parents named him. It means 'salvation.' Moses gave him a different name, 'Yeshua,' which means, 'the LORD saves,' which is why Jesus has that name." Joshua (our student) whined, "I don't want three names!" We told him that was okay, because he just had one, the one his parents gave him.

After the name discussion, there was sort of a slow denoument, which I can't spell. We would have started with the maps, as we had that kind of time at the end of class, but some of our students are newer, and I had forgotten that they didn't have maps started already. We need to make copies for them before next week. Instead, we talked with the kids for a while. We told them about how we thought that the Book of Joshua would make a great video game--lots of action--and then we actually found a (very old, for the original NES) video game of it. They all thought that was really funny.

Amanda said, apropos of nothing, "How was the earth made? I asked my teacher at school, and he didn't know." The bell rang right then, so JC told her we would talk about it next time.
We told them we would put together a question box, so they could ask things as they thought of them, and we would try to address all their questions. They also seemed to like that idea. All in all, a very sucessful class period.

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