Monday, April 02, 2012

Talking with Kids about Talking Donkeys

As a kid's pastor I talk to children a fair bit. I enjoy the interaction (most of the time). I get some of the best quotes because children say some of the most epic of statements. There are these great moments were the kids and me we click and conversations happen, points are made, friendship is born, and life is good. However, there are times when that isn't what happens; there are times when the lesson don't go well...or as planned. Take this past Sunday morning for example.

It was the first service, there were four boys (two set of bothers oldest in grade two the youngest in primary). Since it was Palm Sunday I read Luke's account of Jesus' Triumphant Entry (Luke 19:28-40). I wanted to focus on Jesus' words "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!" I had a few rock activities planned. To lead into the games I asked the boys what happened in the story. There was a long silent pause filled with fidgeting till one boy said that there was a donkey. Someone else added that Jesus asked for a donkey to be brought to him so he could ride it. I asked what happened next and with loud exuberance one of the boys (who hadn't spoken yet) yelled out "THE DONKEY TALKED!"

The donkey did not talk.

I take a deep breath, look at him smile say there was a donkey but he did not talk. And asked what role did the donkey have in the story. I get a few answers, recap what they told me and try to get us the the praising God part by asked again, "So, what happened next?" I was again informed that the donkey talked. In my head I was think "no, that's Balaam's talking donkey found in the Old Testament" but since that had nothing to do with the lesson I re-read the Luke passage jumping to the actual people praise and Pharisees reaction. We talked about what happened: the people blessed Jesus, the Pharisees didn't like it, Jesus didn't tell the people to stop but said that if the people were quiet the rocks would cry out.

With the story finished, I began to get the boys prepared to go outside and collect rocks. When the youngest boy raised his hand and asked, "So, Pastor Liz, when did the donkey talk?"

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