It was my turn to teach children’s church on Sunday. I love doing lessons about the seasons. Kids need to know that seasons don’t just happen-that God made them on purpose! This time I wanted to teach something about summer. I was making a Bingo game with pictures of things that have to do with this time of the year (i.e. sunglasses, kids swimming, flip flops, watermelon, a man in a chef’s hat grilling out, etc.). We would add in pictures from our Bible story.
I searched my children’s picture Bible (and prayed) to find just the right one. I was thinking something with water…like swimming. First, I saw the story of Noah and the ark. There was definitely lots of water in that one. But, it was too much water!
Next there was the story of Moses and the Red Sea. Lots of water in that story, but the only one’s swimming were Pharaoh’s army and they didn’t quite make it. Not a happy story for 4-6-year old’s on a Sunday morning.
Then, I found the true tale of Jonah and the big fish (or whale, as most of us learned it). He did actually go swimming but it was more like sinking and the big fish (or whale) ate him up. Nah. Not right, either.
Jesus chose fishermen to be His disciples. I had pictures of that. Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John were hauling in nets full of fish. You can fish in the summer, and you can ride in a boat in the summer. I was close, but kept looking.
I scanned the entire children’s Bible again. There had to be just the right lesson…
…and then I found it! A lesson from the Bible about a swimming pool! I hadn’t even thought of it before! The children would love it!
In John 9, Jesus and His disciples came upon a man who had been blind his whole life. Our kiddies saw the picture of the man sitting on the ground with his eyes closed. They were surprised that the man had been blind since he was born and had never ever seen a flower, a rainbow, a dog or cat. (It’s a cool story. There’s spit and mud in it, so it’s right up the kids’ alley.)
Jesus bent down, spit in the dirt, made mud and rubbed it on the guy’s eyes. We talked about what the blind man must have been thinking. (What is this guy DOING?!) They loved that Jesus told him to go wash the mud off in the swimming pool at Siloam. (Technically, He said “pool” of Siloam, but we all know that “pool” really means “swimming pool”!) We had a picture of the blind man washing the mud off and it looked like a swimming pool to us. We all made big eyes like the no longer blind man had in the picture.
We reviewed the story one more time, then went to the table to play Summer Bingo. Each time they got four in a row they won $50 bills in play money with smiley faces and Bible verses on them. By the time we finished, everyone was loaded. I explained again and again that it wasn’t real money and that they could not go to Walmart to spend it.
Church was going longer than usual and we got word that decisions were being made-praise the Lord! One little girl had given her heart to Christ and a couple had made a recommitment.
I pulled out a watermelon craft I had tucked in my bag that morning for an emergency. The kids glued the pink and red half-moons to green paper for a slice of watermelon. They added black paper seeds and then a tag that read “God made the Seasons-Ecclesiastes 3:1”.
Annalise was almost finished with her watermelon craft. Leaning over the table, she asked, “Why are we making watermelons?” (She’s a smart girl and didn’t remember it from our lesson.)
I laughed out loud! That was a fair question. I’d never been asked why we were making a craft before. “Ummmm, because it’s fun and church is going longer than usual” didn’t seem like a good answer. I was stumped! I slowly answered, “Because God made it…” I was still thinking, “…and we eat it in the ….”
“Summer!” she yelled.
“That’s exactly right!” I said relieved.
Whew! That was a close one! But melon IS mentioned in the Bible-just so you know.
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.