Beginning on August 14th, Godly Play students will participate in several lessons that orient them to their time in the classroom sanctuary. These lessons may seem tedious to older children or to those who have been in the Godly Play environment for several years, but they are a vital re-centering of everyone’s expectations for the classroom sanctuary. These lessons focus on four ways to prepare ourselves to be with God (I’ve also included in italics the ways in which we explain these expectations):
*In the classroom sanctuary, we talk softly. This is a place to spend time talking and listening to God. We don’t want to interrupt someone else’s worship, so we use quiet words and peaceful language.
*In the classroom sanctuary, we walk peacefully. There is no reason to rush in this place. We can walk slowly and take our time. Outside, we can run and jump; here, we focus on other things.
*In the classroom sanctuary, we worship thoughtfully. This is a special time to spend thinking about God. We can remember the stories from the Bible, make artwork that helps us to better understand, and we can sing and listen to music to worship. We only have a short time in the classroom sanctuary, so we think carefully about how to spend it.
*In the classroom sanctuary, we feast together and pray. Jesus shared special meals with his friends and the grownups share a special meal together too in the “big church.” God has blessed us with so many beautiful fruits to enjoy; we get to share them together and pray as a family of believers.
In continuation of this lesson, teachers will refer back to these simple expectations again and again. Each Sunday, during “Circle Time” (the first few moments of their time together each week), the teacher reminds them that they are in a special place…. a place unlike their living room, school classroom, playground, backyard…. it is a special place meant for spending time with God… the classroom sanctuary.
I encourage you to discuss these topics with your child at home, especially on Sundays before they arrive at church. Developing a deeper and more consistent understanding of the sacredness of the sanctuary will enable them to build a healthy perspective on worship as they grow.