I didn’t post here in October …

My usual reason for posting is to put up The Sunday Paper’s “Editorial Page” for the season, and in October I took the Editorial Page (with her permission of course) off my daughter Margaret’s blog, “Living in God’s Love,” that she writes as part of her work as children’s ministries staffer for the Diocese of St. Albans in the Church of England.

I did, in fact, intend to write a nice little piece linking to Margaret’s blog, rather than pasting her post here, complete with the illustrations that are integral to it.  And then I got entangled in another project with a deadline, and it got away from me.

Here, then, is a link to her piece, and it is, in fact, quite timely, since it describes a classroom technique (which could be used for any scriptural story or faith concept) using the Annunciation story as an example.

Using works of art as a way of helping children enter imaginatively into the story

Here’s what you do.

Either during, or after, you tell the story, you show a few very different artistic interpretations of one of the key scenes. …

… I then asked them to think about how they would show the scene. To think about the questions we’d asked about the artists whose pictures we’d looked at, and ask themselves the same questions – what do I want the angel to look like? What images do I include? What colours? What is Mary’s expression like? I had provided a variety of multimedia materials for them to play with as they did this. …

Benefits of looking at different pictures of the same Bible story:

  1. It makes us think. When we look at one image, we tend to go, “oh, okay, that’s what it looked like, I’ll copy that,” and we don’t think, “maybe it looked different. Maybe Mary was scared. Maybe she was excited. Maybe she was both. Maybe the angel looked like a person with wings. Maybe it looked like a pillar of light. Maybe the room was dark.” It breaks our tendency to accept a pre-digested “default” version of the story.
  2. It shows us Christianity through time, and around the world. This is an opportunity to show artists of ethnicities outside Western European, artists who are women, portrayals of the Bible story set in different times and places, and much more.
  3. It gives us permission to experiment. If there’s no “one right way” to show the story, then that gives you freedom to try, and explore, and discover new things about the story and about God. And isn’t that the point?

Do go look at her post for yourself.  And please browse the rest of her blog; it’s full of great ideas!

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