Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday School - fruit of the Spirit - joy

Today in Sunday School we’re looking at a fruit with special meaning for me: joy! (You know, the one that's juicy, like an orange.)

My life has been lived to the tune of something I learned as a child:
What is the chief end of man?
The chief end of man is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.
(Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.1)

Our daughter’s middle name is Joy. For 5 long and exciting years I wrote about the Puritan quest for enjoyment of God for my PhD. And I’m leading a seminar on enjoying God in a couple of months.

So I’m really looking forward to Sunday School. I want to tell the children that we can rejoice in God – be happy that we’re his children, on our way to heaven, with the wonderful job of telling others about Jesus – in bad times and in good.

Which is harder: to rejoice in God when your life is falling apart? Or to rejoice in God when everything is going well? I think they’re equally difficult. We so easily forget God when we’re consumed by despair, or absorbed in earthly pleasures.

So I’ve chosen a Bible passage about joy in good and bad times: Acts 16:16-40. It’s the story of Peter and Silas’ joy when they suffered for Christ in prison, and their joy over the salvation of the jailer and his family.

We’ll be using two backdrops: one a dark and gloomy dungeon, and one a comfortable light-filled home. We’ll be talking about how Paul was filled with joy in God in the darkest and happiest times of all.

May we all experience the “inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Pet. 1:8) which is ours in Jesus.

Here are Paul and Silas, looking for all the world like two Southern Baptists in business class. Well, at least they look happy, if also extremely comfortable in their cardboard stocks and nicely ironed shirts. I thought naked, blood-stained dolls might be a bit much.

And here is the jailer and his family, in their comfortable home. Again, not particularly first century! But at least it should be clear which is the "happy" and which the "sad" part of the story. And lots of joyful-looking dolls in both!!

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Hey, I recognise those dolls (and their furniture)!

Hope it went well.