Editor's note:

As we approach Palm Sunday, my mind inevitably turns to Sunday School and teaching Kindergarten. I am on sabbatical now, but for seven years, I put up the same bulletin board collage: Happy, smiling Jesus seated upon a happy, smiling donkey as happy, smiling people waved their (I’m pretty sure) happy, smiling palm leaves in the air and lay their (I’m sticking with the theme) happy, smiling coats on the ground. Even the Roman soldiers stood by with a sort of absent-minded benevolence that amused me greatly. One year, early in, my husband came by the schoolroom and, surveying my work, remarked, “Sure, they all look happy now, but in less than a week they’re all gonna turn on him …” 

That wry statement drove home to me the great responsibility that falls upon the corps of (mostly) volunteers who feel called into Children’s Ministry. The Story is real, and reality is often filled with pain. How do we marry the sometimes brutal stories of history with the nurturing of little souls? Nothing but ceaseless prayer and boundless love will carry us through to meet their needs. Renovaré Ministry Team member, Lacy Borgo, knows well the joys and perils of helping to incline young hearts toward Jesus. 

So, as I face a Palm Sunday without the traditional 8 AM scouring of Fred Meyer for palm branches, I would like to share this piece from Lacy with you about discovering unexpected ways to pray with children. They need it, of course; but, their teachers do, too. 

—Justine Olawsky

I’m not sure who learned the most. Really I’m sure, but let me have my dignity for just a moment.

It was the first day of deer hunting season so I knew the church would be nearly vacant. I was right.  As I was gathering my wits for the Preschool Sunday School class, Benny meandered in, head hung low, frown draped across his face.

I mustered up a jolly, “Hello.”

And Benny shot back, “Guess it’s just me and you.”

This room is familiar to him and so am I. I see him every week.

“Well Benny, should we start by talking with God.”

“No,” he said, “I don’t know how.”

“Talking to God is just like talking to me. You can do it anytime or anywhere…. Bla, bla, bla…”

(Benny had long since tuned me out and began playing with the glue and the glitter. Frankly I had tuned me out. Talking about prayer is like talking about eating ice cream or riding a roller coaster, words pale in comparison to the real thing.)

Finally, I quit talking and watched Benny. He had opened the Beginners Bible to the story of Noah. “Read this to me he said.”

So I did.

“Let’s make some art,” he said.

So we did.

We found every color of glitter and paint we could imagine. We made the most sparkly rainbow ever. The best detail was the angel beside the rainbow, a big beautiful brown angel with yellow wings and just behind the brown I could see kind eyes and a huge red smile.

I said, “Your angel, he’s smiling.”

“The angel is wearing God’s smile.” He said.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“He told me.” Benny said while adding a last splash of gold glitter.

I suppressed the urge for one more teaching lecture how listening to God is prayer, and how art can also be prayer.

Instead I picked up the green glitter and prayed.

This weekend break out the art supplies with your littlest people, maybe read a Bible story, or how about Psalm 150… then pray. Don’t use words…

Lacy Finn Borgo is the author of Life with God for Children. Find her current work on Good Dirt Families.

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