For the past two Sundays, I’ve taught the older children’s class at church, and it has been a lot of fun. I really do enjoy it so much, though I must say that I feel my age quite muchly. The four children are interesting and I find them participant and eager to please. They’ve had the best of the best teachers in the years just prior to this, and I have big shoes to fill.
So yesterday morning, we had the old, old story of Jonah, and the teacher’s book suggests that you duck under a blanket to pretend you are in the boat. I got most of my stuff together that I wanted for the story in the morning before leaving home, but forgot the blanket. I did think briefly on the way to church that it may have been for the best. I don’t want things to get too out of hand, here. I’ve been taking the class to the basement, because there is more room, and I don’t need to be careful about noise or bumps or distractions. Wouldn’t you know, when I got down there yesterday morning, there was this big blanket all folded up, just waiting to be used.
I told the kids, “Our story today suggests we duck under a blanket for part of it. Do you all want to try it?”
Being eager to try anything, they all enthusiastically assented, and I decided to go ahead and give it a try. So we fetched the blanket and when Jonah got into the boat to go to Tarsish, we threw this blanket over our heads and we were off to the high seas. Of course, then the storm came up and the kids really got into that, rolling and bouncing in their seats under this blanket, making wind noises and having a good old time.
What a sight we were, and there wasn’t much protection against dishevelment! Just about then, Emily remembered that her hair was (probably) getting really messed up and started to make some noises to the effect that it might not look very good to have hair all messed up. Bethany looked a little thoughtful, but then said that she thought it wouldn’t matter too much, they can fix it after the story was over. But then Emily looked over and saw that Bethany has this big piece of hair down over her face, and ever the helpful one, she reached over in the middle of all the rocking and rolling to try to push it back and stabbed Bethany smack in the eye.
Suddenly there was great indignant outcry, and a whole lot of hollering, and Bethany was grabbing her eye and wailing and Emily was all concerned and almost crying herself because she didn’t mean to do it, of course. My poor boat almost sunk with all my Jonah’s in it! I finally got the crisis resolved (by then everyone was all out from under the blanket) and thought maybe I would just go on without the props. Oh, no. Everyone wanted back under, so up went the blanket again and under it we stayed until we threw Jonah overboard and the storm stopped immediately. And the blanket got dumped on an unceremonious heap upon the floor.
Whew! Was I relieved!!! (It was getting hot under there, anyhow.)
And then I thought about Jonah, in that wild ride in the fish’s stomach. I might be in for a wild ride myself! I just hope that instead of my wild ride being “away from God” like Jonah’s was, that it will be a wild ride with Jesus in my boat, that there will be peace in this storm, and that I and all my little Jonahs will come safely home.