While there are exceptions (and I would quickly say The Little Mermaid is one) most of the Disney princess tales celebrate virtue. Snow White is a beautiful, humble servant of all (even a scary collection of bachelor dwarves) and is contrasted with the vain and self-centered queen. Her downfall happens when she eats “forbidden fruit,” and is trapped in death until a prince comes to rescue her. Sleeping Beauty is a profound metaphor for the gospel. The princess is cursed, with death hanging over her head from the day she’s born. When death finally stings her, a prince must battle against the powers of hell to rescue her. Armed with the Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue, he fights his way to the princess and awakens her with true love’s kiss. Sound familiar? A bride enslaved to death, a warrior-king who battles the powers of hell?
Over the next seven months, Sojourn Kids will be studying the end of the New Testament from the conversion of Saul in the Book of Acts to the Book of Revelation. Our series with the kids will roughly follow the same schedule as Sojourn’s sermon series for our regular gatherings. We’re hoping that this format will encourage family conversations as families read and study the Bible stories and passages together. To aid in this goal, we’ll be printing a monthly guide called “Get in the Story” with daily devotionals that correspond with each children’s ministry lesson. Our prayer is that you will use this guide and it will encourage gospel conversations in your family. Please pick it up when you are in the children's area on Sunday.
Here is the schedule for June and July:
- June 6--Lesson 50: Saul Knocked to the Ground
- June 13--Lesson 51 The Gentiles were Converted
- June 20--Lesson 52: The Fruit of the Spirit
- June 27--Lesson 53: Paul's Work in Ephesus
- July 4—Lesson 54: Spiritual Gifts
- July 11—Lesson 55: Love
- July 18—Lesson 56: A New Creation
- July 25—Lesson 57: God Loves a Cheerful Giver
The art of storytelling gives children a basic framework for understanding truth as well as the courage to live and tell about it. This week, I'm posting six important things to know about great stories! Here is #5 and #6:
5. Stories inspire hope by giving us a “peek” at the end. Despair is not just a sin theologically—because it assumes that the grand story is about us. It’s also a mistake because it assumes we know the end of the story. Michelle Anthony has recently written, “We often don’t tell our kids about the end of the story… Maybe we think it’s too bloody or too intense, or maybe we don’t understand it all, but in reality it makes Jesus the kind of hero worth living and dying for. Knowing that Christ is the ultimate victor gives each one of us [kids included] the courage to walk with Him on the journey.” For kids, knowledge of darkness is sometimes intuitive, but they need to be told that darkness can be defeated. Perhaps, G.K. Chesterton said it best: “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.” When we are reading Revelation and we see the king and the white horse and the dragon thrown into the pit, we can step lighter and smile wider. Peeking at the end makes us optimistic. As the old hymn says, “Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”
6. The hope we glean from knowing the larger story (and even smaller ones) inspires us to step into others’ stories with courage and love. Since we know how the story ends, we can “rejoice that our names are written” by persevering through trial and stepping out in love. This doesn’t just mean talking about heaven but also bringing heaven here—pushing back the effects of the fall and casting rays of hope into the middle of the pain, the sickness, and the sorrow. Knowing how our own stories are intertwined with the story of God gives us courage to tell our own stories to those who need inspiration. Having hope inspires us to shape the stories of others.