His Story

10 08 2011

One important lesson that can be emphasized with children is that we are not teaching history but His Story.  The story that we are presenting to children is a part of the Heilsgeschichte which is German for “Salvation History.”  This story that God has been at work on since the Fall of man continues right into today.

Csinos writes against breaking up God’s narrative.

This practice of chopping God’s narrative into pieces robs the wider story of its profound trans/formative influence.  Churches seeking to help children find their identities within their faith communities and traditions begin to put God’s sotry back together, explaining how God was at work from creation to the covenant, from the cross to consummation.  Furthermore, children can begin to understand that this isn’t just a story about other people  It’s their story and they can have a hand in shaping how it continues to unfold.  Churches can present the story in ways that encourage children to adopt it as their own and affirm with Brueggemann that “this is my story about me, and it is our story about us.”  Offering God’s story to children starts them down a good and fruitful path. (112)

I think that this is a very typical problem in the church and particularly in children’s ministry.  We will teach the children the story of David and Goliath (a wonderful story) and forget to include Heilsgeschichte in that story.  We forget to remind them of the salvation history that God is accomplishing through that story.  Salvation for the nation of Israel and eventually for all of humanity through Christ (through David’s line).

Or we’ll tell the story of Noah and the flood (another wonderful story) and forget to include that this was God’s means of providing salvation for Noah and eventually all of humanity through Noah through Christ.  We must remember the bigger story!  We must remember that as we tell biblical history, it is truly His Story of how God has been at work amongst his people for all time.

For the Action-Centered children, this is particularly helpful because they can then enact what they have learned and seek to continue that salvation story by going out and doing something to seek to expand God’s kingdom here on earth.

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One response

30 12 2011
MargieH

“this is my story about me, and it is our story about us…” Some of us may take it too much for granted. It’s one thing to be a child in a multi-generational Hebrew faith-based culture or even an established multi-generational Christian church community. More challenging for a “living in the moment” culture. The concept of being “born again” and adopted into the family of God -not just the immediate family of God but the historical family of God-requires some different and challenging thinking to accomplish that same sense of identity. It may be easier to accomplish with children than with grown-ups. The disciples & Paul all had that sense of identity…can’t think of a Gentile who would be a good example of this.

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