Monday, November 9, 2009


The story of Noah and the Ark is often the subject of children's books, stories, etc., probably because of the "prettiness" of the rainbow, and the "cuteness" of the animals going into the ark two by two.  Parents undoubtedly also approve of the theme of obedience!

But, as our fourth graders learned last week, there is a lot more to the Noah story than that.  We do not have to believe that there was a great flood, and a man named Noah, and that he literally put every kind of animal, two by two into the ark.  (Sometimes feeling they need to take these stories literally challenges the faith of children starting about this age.)  We certainly may believe them word for word, but what is important is not the factual aspects of the story but what the story is telling us about God and man. 

Students reviewed the familiar story, and began to see that as in the story God washed away all the sinful people, in our own lives sin is washed away through the waters of baptism.  And as God protected the man Noah and his family, God protects us, too by placing us  - not in an ark - but in His Church.  Those animals?  The very prettiness of the arrangement - one of every kind/ two-by-two - signifies the way the God provides perfectly for all of our needs. 

Furthermore, the students heard the detail that there was just one entrance into the ark.  And when we read John 10:9, they heard Jesus proclaim: "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved."  So that one entrance has a meaning, too - as the story was told over and over years before our Savior came, it prepared God's people for this One Way.  Now, we can see clearly that the one entrance into the Church, and into Salvation is Jesus Christ. 

In this lesson the students watched a beautiful video of the Noah story, read Scripture, did a picture meditation (one of several we use from a book of Ignatian Exercises for children) and did this torn-paper artwork to help them cement these ideas into their minds. 

And - however you look at it - the lesson of obedience still holds!

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