A stroke of genius, he called it. It was totally out of his range of experience and completely unexpected. But oh, the interesting results.
It was terribly short notice, but someone had to do it. Substituting for the teacher of the third grade Sunday School class on the holiday weekend was not on schedule for Alec.
The big smile was his way of establishing himself as the “one” for the “day.” Fifteen kids were already seated in the small classroom, and their chattering could be heard down the hall.
“Yes, girls and boys, I have here in my hands the most interesting book there is. What is it?” his voice was clear and deep. For being twenty-years old Alec knew how to sound like a man in authority.
Between frowns and smiles one chipper kid pronounced, “That’s the Bible. We hear about it every Sunday.”
“Ah, very good. And today you have a chance to show off for me. I will tell you a little story. But . . . “ he paused for emphasis. The children were totally paying attention at this point.
“Every time I say something that is incorrect you will speak out with the word that is right. See how often you all agree on what I’ve tried to trick you into . . . “ He nodded his head. “Now, not too loud, we don’t want to wake up the fourth and fifth graders next door in the event that they have been assigned to take a nap by Mrs. Sterling or Mr. Gruber.”
“Let’s do a practice, first. My name is Santa Claus . . . “
A chorus of voices spoke out. “No.” “It’s Alec.” “I don’t know, but you are not Santa Claus.”
“Excellent. OK. Here’s the Bible story, my version. It was long, long, long ago in the Garden of Eating . . . .”
“Eden!” the kids knew that one.
“There was the first man, Alexander and his wife, Amaryllis.”
“Adam and Eve.”
With a deepening of his voice Alec continued slowly, “It was an amazing day of discovery. Adam and Eve were the only people in the garden, but animals were there, some even coming up and holding still so they could be touched. Some made kind of loud sounds, others made more quiet sounds, like a little peep or quack or gong!”
“And after checking his watch Adam saw it was nearly time for . . . “
“God came to the garden to spend some time with his newly invented man and woman.”
“Not invented! Created.”
Yes, you see how the Sunday School class was paying attention, and were enjoying this unexpected challenge. Alec continued, telling about how God gave the man and the woman one rule. They didn’t have lots of rules to remember or talk about. One rule would let them demonstrate that they wanted to do what God said to do.
Everyone in the class had already heard about Creation, but several hadn’t known about the rule: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. God had pointed it out. And with a whole lot of yummy fruits to eat there was no growling stomachs for these two amazing people.
“OK. When I count to three, everyone call out the name of some kind of fruit or nuts.”
Anyone walking by and peeking in the door would see the whole group staring at this unusual substitute teacher and responding with smiles and giggles. Alec continued, stressing the simple one rule and the sneaky way the Devil got Eve’s attention and tricked her into asserting herself. She disobeyed God.
It was a good lesson for these children, and now Alec did have something to share with the adults at the Wednesday evening potluck. He grinned as he prayed “Thank You, Lord,” on the way home. + + +
by Elaine Hardt ©2017