Welcome to the Godly Play story The Ark and the Temple, found in The Complete Guide to Godly Play, Volume 2. (The orange book.)
For a girl who could spend days moving furniture and little people around a dollhouse, I simply adore this lesson! I also love it because it explores the idea of God’s abiding presence and helps us question exactly where God is. Where can we meet God? If it is in a church or temple, how do we keep that space sacred? If God truly meets us everywhere, anywhere, then what does that say about the sacredness of the space we occupy in our everyday lives? Which makes me think of a favorite song of mine, but that’s another story. (Go here, if you want a treat!)
This story works wonderfully as a continuation of The Ark and the Tent, and then Ruth and David’s stories. Before, the people took the tent with them as they traveled, and learned that God goes with them wherever they go. Now, the people have settled and learn that God is not only present during times of transition but in ordinary times of daily life.
Another interesting theme to address is the idea of the usefulness of things in the worship of God. When the ark and the commandments were taken during battle and they didn’t physically have them in the tent, were they really lost? When King David returned them, dancing into Jerusalem, what was he really celebrating?
Another very important theme to cover is that there is no physical place that can contain God. I’ll have Solomon’s temple dedication prayer typed up and in your room by Wednesday night this week. If you’d like to make it into a scroll to read during the lesson, as the script suggests, feel free. I believe we have some dowel sticks in the resource room. Balling up the paper and staining it with tea makes it look older and makes for a more dramatic presentation, if you like.
One other thing I didn’t mention before was the idea of making/offering sacrifices. Do we still offer sacrifices to God today? What kinds of sacrifices would God love? What kinds are important and why?
I wonder if a trip to our own sanctuary might be interesting to the children, after they study the temple. What is alike and what is different? What kind of sacrifices do we still make? Is there a way we make ourselves more acceptable to God before entering?
Some activity ideas to help the children get started:
Pieces of the temple
A few of the classes began a few weeks ago making special parts of the temple/tent. You could continue that this week, and you could even set up the items in a temple of your own making. Kids could make an ark, the ten commandments, a table with 12 pieces of bread, a menorah, a laver, and an altar. (See all the ideas and photos here.)
Could we make edible versions of all these things? And then make an edible temple? See my Pinterest site here, for ways to do this.
Make a temple
Could we make a temple out of a shoe box? (There are several in the art resource room. Help yourself! ) Or maybe draw a temple? Make one out of Lego?
Make a scroll with Solomon’s Prayer
Depending on the age of the children, you could have them copy the prayer (or use a pre-printed version), ball it up and then smooth it out, dye it with tea, and attach dowel sticks.
Research and draw/paint a priest in Solomon’s temple
I’ve got a good book that illustrates the kinds of garments priests of that time wore. Some children might enjoy discovering that and reproducing it in some way.
Enjoy the story!
For more art ideas, check out my Pinterest page, here.