Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Make a Giant Fish for the Story of Jonah

Jonah and the giant fish is one of my favorite Bible stories to act out. You can do it without a lot of props - as long as you can make a big fish that the kids can get into. I have seen many different ways to make a fish- from a table covered with cloth to the doorway to a classroom decorated to look like the mouth of a fish. Here, I used a simple pop-up tent (one of the greatest investments I ever made - especially since my neighbor gave it to me for free years ago).

I took the pop-up tent and covered it with black tablecloths I have on hand. You could use plastic ones from the dollar store if you don't have these or dark sheets.

I made 2 giant eyes out of felt. The felt sticks to cloth, so if you do have sheets or tablecloths, it is easy to put together.

I made my original tongue out of red tissue paper. This time around, I added red wrapping paper we had on hand.

I made a tail by twisting a rectangular piece of black cloth and taping it to the wall with black duck tape. I hung "seaweed" inside of the fish - just green crepe paper taped to the tent seams.

For an added effect, I covered the wall directly behind the fish with blue paper and some fish we had left from Bible school.

DIY Giant Fish for Jonah from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

I wrote a simple drama based on the book of Jonah. You can access that here.

We added a ticket counter (the window in our unfinished stage) and signs for the "city gates" of Nineveh to create a little atmosphere. Here's the link for my signs.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The 2 Commandments that Everything Hinges On

I love it when complex truth gets distilled into pure simplicity. Jesus was a master at this. The Pharisees and religious leaders were always taking Jesus on, and he was always taking them down. In Matthew 22:34-40, those tricky Pharisees come to Jesus, and they pick a lawyer (go figure) to ask Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment in the Law?" I love Jesus' answer - especially when he gets to the end and he tells them, "All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Wow!

So just what does the word "hang" mean? Well, you could think of it as coat hooks on a wall and everything is suspended from them. OR, you could thing of the hinges that a door hangs on. Those hinges support the whole weight of the door, and it turns on those hinges. That's how important these two commandments are.

To demonstrate this, I used a door, of course. The two commandments are #1 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and #2 Love your neighbor as yourself. We put the words LOVE GOD on the door by the top hinge and LOVE PEOPLE on the door by the bottom hinge.

Hanging the Commandments from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.

To make it more interesting, I had printed up, cut apart and hid the 10 commandments. I hid them so well, we never found one of them. We let the kids each read the commandment they had found, and then we decided whether it went with the LOVE GOD hinge or the LOVE PEOPLE hinge. It was a simple way to help them see how each commandment related to one of these two principles.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Incarnational Relay Race

"If an alien in a titanium spaceship landed in New York would that be a big deal? Jesus, entirely alien from anything we know, landed on earth in Bethlehem" over 2000 years ago, and he didn't even use a spaceship. We call this the incarnation, and according to Alan Root who penned that quote, there is no bigger miracle than God visiting our planet in an earth-suit (so far anyway!).