The previous post mentioned Simply Simon: Gates & gorillas which got me thinking about a children’s talk I did a while back at church.
I’d been sitting in the playground at school waiting for my kids to come out of class and was again astonished by the range of ethnicities that spilled out of the classrooms when the bell went. (The same is true of the local kindergarten). This got me thinking about what the church teaches children about those who are new immigrants, and especially how to treat the new children at school who look and sound different from themselves. Is there an explicit connection between the ‘love your neighbour’ ethic from Sunday School to identifying that these new arrivals are now your neighbours.
To introduce the topic I bolted a Hot Wheels track with the loop and jump to the pulpit up front (an excellent use for a pulpit) and had the children race cars and trucks down the track. There was more than enough spills and excitement. Connected the track to the idea of dangerous journeys, and asked the kids to suggest others dangerous trips etc.
Then I asked them if they could remember a dangerous journey from the Bible about Jesus – aiming for Matt 2:13-18 – Jesus’ parents having to take him and flee the country because he was in danger of being killed. Talked a bit about how Jesus was like a refugee. They had to take a dangerous journey to a strange place (Egypt), and how he’d have grown up sounding and looking different from other kids around the place. And even the same when he returned home – he’d still be a bit different having come back from a strange place.
Can we see Jesus the refugee in the faces of the different ethnicities in our local community, and especially in the faces of the children. How many of them made dangerous and costly journeys to be here? Do we treat them as our neighbours, seeing Jesus the refugee and immigrant in them, even if we find it hard?