Tuesday’s session on Moses and the Exodus event was a very enriching experience! Unfortunately, we had 2 students absent, including the one who asked the great question last week about whether or not God was doing bad things by sending the plagues upon the Egyptians. I had hoped she would be present to benefit from our further exploration of the topic.
We started by giving the kids a quiz on the first 3 commandments which required them to actually write out those commandments in full. 6 of the 7 got all 3 correct (give or take a word here or there) and one student missed 1 of the commandments. In all, I’d say that we’re off to a good start in having the kids take all 10 Commandments to heart.
We then prepared the kids to go over to church for adoration. We talked about the meaning of the word adoration and I drew a picture of a monstrance on the board and we talked about the meaning of the word (by comparing it to the word demonstrate – to show). I emphasized that this was time to spend in conversation with Jesus.
The kids were very well behaved and we walked them to the foot of the sanctuary, showed them to kneel (genuflect on both knees) before the Blessed Sacrament, and then allowed them to find any pew of their choice within one section of the church where they sat or knelt in silence for 10 minutes. 2 other classes entered the church during that time and about a half dozen parishioners were also present. Before we left, I took them up to the altar to see the monstrance up close and then, when we got back to the room, we talked about the meaning of the symbols built into its decoration.
Upon returning, we reviewed the first 8 questions of the Prince of Egypt Video Discussion Guide and we took time to emphasize the name that God revealed to Moses (I am who am / YHWH / Yawheh) and they were particularly interested in this mysterious revelation of God.
We then took up the question of whether or not God was doing bad things by punishing the Egyptians. I introduced the notion of “righteous anger” and we talked about situations in which anger is a good thing. I explained that, if one of them were being bullied at school, and another friend stood by without doing anything, they would be hurt and upset. However, if that friend got angry and intervened, we would know that they were a true friend. We then emphasized that God was acting on behalf of the powerless, that Pharaoh was guilty of a serious sin – the enslavement of other humans, and that God provided 9 opportunities for Pharaoh to repent before unleashing the worst of the plagues – the death of the firstborn. In all, we can conclude that God’s anger was righteous, measured, and justified…that he is truly, “slow to anger.”
We then watched the remainder of The Prince of Egypt and the kids really enjoyed it. We paused at the moment when the Hebrew people are instructed to kill a lamb and to smear its blood on their doorposts so that the angel of death would pass over them. We talked about how we are saved by the blood of the Lamb of God – Jesus. When the video was over, we completed the rest of the questions on the Prince of Egypt Video Discussion Guide and in particular, spent time talking about the crossing of the Red Sea and the connection to the waters of baptism. It was a very rich discussion.
The kids were sent home with the assignment of learning the next 4 Commandments (4 through 7) which should be easy since they are so short.
Next week, the kids have Reconciliation so we will only have them in class for 10 minutes or so! Just enough time to give them a quiz on the first 7 commandments and wish them a Merry Christmas!