Monday, November 8, 2010

The Ark and a Tent for God

I'm teaching children's church for the first time since the Noah's Ark incident. I've had a hiatus of what feels like years, and in the intervening time period no tiny faces have peered at me like I have a dog's head. I danced like a madman at my friend's wedding, and if I can handle that self-imposed public humiliation, being told I can't sing Sunday school songs should be kid's stuff, no pun intended. (Okay, it is. It always is.)

The little girl who drew a Shoggoth is something I'm convinced I made up. Little girls are made of sugar and spice, and are surely not robotic shells housing worms locked in Sisyphean labor.

pictured: not a little girl

I was exhausted by the wedding and another instructor was going on vacation, so we swapped weeks. I ended up with "The Ark and a Tent for God" instead of "The Ten Best Ways to Live", which is what the teacher's guide calls the Ten Commandments. Seems even the Old Testament is getting a PR spin these days.

For those of you wondering why I'm doing the Ark again, this is a more different Ark. The Bible has two Arks, and as far as I know they're never connected with one another. A key difference is that one holds an implausible amount of animals and the other melts Nazi faces.

internet law requires I put this here

Having looked at the lesson plan, I think the other instructor was leaving town to get out of teaching this one. "The Ark and a Tent for God" is a Byzantine walk through the ritual implements of nomadic Jewish religion, meant to demonstrate the prefiguring of Christ in the majesty of the mobile Tabernacle, as well as call attention to the disparities between a human and divine intercessor.

That's all wonderful, but how am I supposed to look these kids in the eyes and talk about the Table of Shewbread? What is a Shewbread? Is it pronounced "showbread" or "shoebread"? How many jokes about eating footwear will I endure if I get this wrong? Shewbread is also called "bread of the presence", which sounds like an item from World of Warcraft.

kid_icarus1988: need BotP?!? 10g in arim's deep

Furthermore, I'm pretty sure the lesson plan is a logic puzzle I'm not smart enough to figure out. It's like this:

The Ark goes in the west end of the desert box facing east. The Altar of Incense goes in front of the Ark, but not too close, because the Veil goes between them. The aforementioned Table of Shewbread goes on the north side. The Menorah goes opposite the Table of Shewbread on the south. Place the Tabernacle so that it encloses the Ark, the veil, and that it faces east. The Altar of Burnt Offerings goes outside the door, leaving room for the Laver. The Laver goes in front of the door. The tent goes around all that. The fence goes around the tent. Put everything back in the box in reverse order. Now, what color house does Mr. Green live in?

I don't know what any of those things look like, and I have to memorize that order exactly or the children will think Jesus is the sun again. I foresee myself holding tiny pieces of wood, silently cursing my now defunct year of Hebrew language training, little eyes boring into me.

Why can't we do it with Legos? When the lesson was over, I'd turn the Ark into the Ark and carry all the animals to safety.

this picture is all wrong

UPDATE: One attentive little girl was later able to draw the entire Tabernacle from memory. I'm choosing to credit her intellect rather than my teaching abilities, and I hope she solves the cold fusion problem before we reach oil depletion.


  1. mentioning lego, google. ark and lego. It exists. or even tabernacle/lego. It doesn't exist, but would have been nice.

  2. Can you pass the Turing test?