I had been excited for weeks! Finally, FINALLY - after 62 months and 7,000 days of Corona - we were going to have children’s church during our Sunday morning 10 o’clock service! And I was the teacher for the four- and five-year-old class! Pardon me while I do a little dance.
Everything would be different, but we could do it! We would have a story, make a craft, paint, and play a game, all while staying away from each other and not sharing ANYTHING! There would be sanitizing and cleaning throughout, but God would help us! Ideas were spinning through my mind. We would need extra activities because our snack time had been eliminated.
Our lesson was “Bread from Heaven” from Exodus 16 when God rained manna from heaven. It’s a wonderful story of God’s provision. My excitement grew as the day approached!
Naturally, on Sunday morning, all the kids were a little apprehensive; they’d just come out of home incarceration. What used to be familiar was now cloaked in masks and sanitizer. (I have to admit I was a little nervous, too.)
Each one of the kids was given a baggie of food pictures to color. A hamburger, French fries, broccoli, an ice cream cone, doughnuts, etc. were included. Their instructions were to only color the things they liked. They spread them out and got to work.
For storytime, there was no going to the rug. They pushed their pics to the side and we had it right where they sat. The story of food raining down from heaven is a delicious one for children. We all named food we would want to fall out of the sky. Easton yelled, “Taco Bell!” All of us agreed.
When told that the Israelites grumbled and complained to Moses about being hungry, each one of our kids vowed that they had never done that even once. (I was skeptical.) “I’m soooo hungry!” I moaned loudly. Still, they assured me they had never ever whined like that.
After the story, which Easton did not think was true at first, it was time to paint. Taylor, a college student and helper extraordinaire, passed out coloring sheets of people picking up baskets of manna. While their masterpieces dried, we went back to the food pictures. They finished, then glued them to a large paper that read, “God gives me food to eat!”
Glancing at the clock, there was still time left. We played Food Bingo several times and suddenly Wyatt burst out, “WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HAVE OUR SNACK?!” I was starving them with all the food pictures!
I reminded them that they would be leaving soon and we couldn’t have a snack because of STINKIN’ CORONA! (I don’t think I actually used the word ‘stinkin’ but it was implied.) Each one of them groaned and then we made little balls of manna with Playdough. We made worms, too, which were in the baskets of the Israelites who gathered too much!
We ended children’s church with several games of Doggy Doggy Where’s Your Bone and were getting started on Red Light/Green Light, which had absolutely no spiritual connection to manna.
Kids were picked up by parents who were socially distanced down the hall.
After the last one left, I had a little cry. (And maybe I will now, too.) It was precious and wonderful to have children back in church! I pictured Jesus saying, “The kids are back in My house!”
I’m soooo proud of the parents who brought their little ones! I’m already planning another lesson, but this one will NOT be food related!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org