Once a month I leave the worship service at Trinity United right after the children's hymn, and I go to Sunday School with the children. This gives me a chance to spend time with them, and to teach a lesson. Unless there is something special happening in the worship service, I spend about 20 minutes with the Sunday School, and then come back in to the worship service in order to offer the sermon. (This week there was no sermon, as the service was led by choir members. The theme was Trinity's Favourite Hymns, as chosen by a poll of the congregation, a few weeks before. If you are interested in the list of the congregation's favourite hymns, you can see it, as well as special prayers I wrote for the occasion by looking at my sermon blog. There is a link to it on this page.)
This Sunday I had the opportunity to teach the Gospel lesson from the weekly lectionary, which was Mark's story about James and John asking for places at the right and left hand sides of Jesus when he "came into his glory". (Mark 10:35-45) Earlier in the week I had told the story to Joel, our eight year old son, and asked him for advice about a game to go with the lesson.
Joel suggested "Hot Dog Tag". In this game, if you get tagged by the person who is "it", you have to lay down on the floor. You are stuck there, until other players respond to your cry "I need buns!", and lay down on your left and right, to complete a hot dog. The way we played on Sunday, the person who was tagged, and then freed by being "bunned" then became "it", and then began to chase the other players.
It was a lot of fun. Joel chose the game because of the aspect of the game that called for buns to go to the left and right side of the new "wiener". While we were playing, I realized that without the help of the "bunners", very soon all the players except the person who was "it" would be laying prone on the floor, and the fun of the game would be over.
I asked Joel if he had this in mind when he chose the game. He didn't, and I didn't see it until I played it with the kids. Built into this game was a lesson about the necessity of helping each other.
"But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all." (Mark 10:43-44)