Teaching through Tradition
By Janna Christenson
MAKE THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING
I remember the day I realized I had taught the traditions of my Biblically based culture to be the focus of the few precious moments I had each week with my children rather than introducing them to the One who started all the traditions to remind us that He was right here with us…all the time.
It’s hard to not obsess on creating an exciting interactive experience for children. Attention spans are in 3 – 7 second sound bytes and finding the main thing to leave them with can get lost in the games, crafts and snacks. I’m learning after 30 years of teaching to make the main thing, the main thing and that is Yeshua. His opinion on whatever the topic is and how He can relate to us through that topic. Even Yeshua used parables and objects from the world He was living in to get His point across … BUT … He did it in such a way that the object or parable ceased to be the focus and His heart in the matter was revealed.
USING WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, WHEN
When Mom wants the child to respect Dad, she tries to convey WHO Dad is by sharing WHY He is asking the children to do WHAT, WHERE and WHEN. It’s a good method to follow when sharing any topic from Scripture.
Since we just enjoyed Shavuot, let’s use it as an example.
WHO: The players at the first Shavuot were God, Moses and recently released Slaves, learning how to be free for the first time in over 400 years.
WHAT: This is where the facts are laid out…Compare the weather patterns at Mt. Sinai with the what was happening in Acts 2. Shavuot is one of 3 Feasts that families were required to show up…must be pretty important. Results of the WHAT? People repented, cleaned up, washed themselves and their clothes and in Acts, repented, got cleaned up from the inside out and exchanged their sinful ways (dirty garments) for a whole new moral code/way of life (righteous robes)
WHY: This is always the juiciest question to answer. And the answer is ALWAYS rooted in His LOVE for you and me. His longing to have a close friendship with us. So close that it feels like marriage…the closest relationship on earth that we know of. Point out how God did whatever it took at Mt. Sinai to communicate to people who had been slaves that they now were unique, chosen, an example to all the nations surrounding them, special…these people had been treated as less than dirt, less valuable than an animal, certainly not special but expendable for over 400 years and this God had a plan uniquely designed just for them and an outline of how to live that new life as a free person. This God was super protective and wanted to make sure they weren’t set up for failure by outlining all the pitfalls they might encounter along the way including those tricky pagan cultures all around them that would want to sneak in and steal their hearts away from Him. Again…in Acts 2, the people were still reeling from Yeshua’s death. Several hundred (over 500 that we know of) had seen him after He rose from the dead but the masses probably thought He was just another “wanna be” Messiah who came for a bit and was no longer around. Rome was still in charge and life was edgy. Religious freedom was tolerated but the slightest error could get you in trouble either with the corrupt religious leaders of the day who were in cahoots with the Romans or with Rome itself. In the midst of all this, Yeshua sends the promised Ruach HaKodesh, right on time, to start a revolution. From within, just like He wants to do right now, today, with us.
WHERE: Mt. Sinai and then Jerusalem’s amazing temple Solomon built from the blueprint God gave his Dad, King David and now right here in this classroom in our hearts.
WHEN: see WHERE!
This is just a bare bones outline to start ideas flowing…but notice, the focus is introducing the character of Yeshua, the Ruach and the Father to our children.