I have always been so drawn to Jesus' parables. I think I just love analogy and metaphor and the way they help me organize the world. So when Jesus says,
"The kingdom of God is like this . . "
"Actually it's like this . . ."
"No, try this . . ."
I just get it. It's how my mind works, too. You have to approach this concept, which is beyond human understanding, from every possible perspective. God is so good at that - meeting us in exactly the language and people and situations that we need at the time we need it. Translation, I guess.
I have been making these Godly Play parable boxes for the last few months. (I'm not going to explain the whole program, but here's my one-sentence treatment: Montessori religious education based on prepared environment and presentation of materials.) They are for presentation with our kids. You can order all the stuff here for seven billion dollars. I prefer to make what I can (mostly from felt), supplement with items from Hobby Lobby, and go from there. The great benefit to hand-crafting is that it helps me learn the presentations thoroughly.
There are six main parable boxes, and then a few enrichment ones I will work on next:
Clockwise from top left:
Parable of the Leaven
Parable of the Good Shepherd (this was the first one I made, and is very dear to me, as Jerome Berryman also started with this handmade material as the first thing he made for his newborn teaching method)
Parable of the Great Pearl (this is a kid favorite, with all the little items picked up from the dollhouse section at the craft store)
Parable of the Mustard Seed
Parable of the Good Samaritan (you can see my little wonderers in the picture, along with the Circle of the Church Year in the background. I loved making this one - all the additional texture from the burlap underlay, and I knit the little blanket that the Samaritan uses to cover the traveler from purple nubby silk yarn)
Parable of the Sower (this one is my favorite, I think. I love the ones with the little bitty birds)
I love telling these stories, and I love seeing all my gold boxes stacked up. The mysteries and the secrets they contain are fresh for me every time, too. As part of the introduction to each parable, I tell the group that sometimes we cannot enter into a parable, even if we feel ready. But if we keep asking questions, if we keep wondering . . . we will find a way in.