Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Now this is a target fluency

Video was no longer available - there are lots online - quite complex; e.g. this one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pictures of the picnic

From Collages
Here are some pictures of our morning. Enjoy. Also a set of individual ones.

From 2010-06-20

Friday, June 18, 2010

Catch the foxes - a new game for children

I have created a game for Sunday - description here. I will bring the props. If anyone has any cuddly stuffed foxes - bring them along too.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Music for the Shema

In case anyone needs it, the music for the shema is here. I will be back to Sunday School next week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Holy Spittle Batman

There - does that get your attention! We began a study of Mark's gospel today with the Dawn Treaders. Bob set out an outline in Latin as a game to note how many sections there might be in a gospel. Mark has about 118 out of 365 total divisions of the fourfold gospel as note by Kurt Aland in his parallel gospels. You can see all the breakdowns of the texts here. Our lesson of course did not go that far this morning but the children did see a far distant horizon and a rich set of possibilities.

We concentrated for 20-25 minutes on the healing of the deaf man with a speech impediment. Jesus takes 7 actions in this story and each action is visible - as they would have to be for a deaf man to hear them. So not Latin, not Hebrew, not Greek, not Aramaic, but sign language - seven significant actions
  • taking him aside from the multitude privately, - personal, one to one
  • he put his fingers into his ears, easy to see - pointing to the problem
  • and he spat - easy to see
  • and touched his tongue; - perhaps he spit into his own hand and touched the tongue with the spittle
  • and looking up to heaven, - here is the source
  • he sighed, - pray and listen to God's sigh also
  • and said to him, "Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened." - a visible language - say it EF-PHA-THA lip readable
 I encouraged the children to look for the ways that Our Lord will speak to them in their own personal language this week. I told them also to ask him for a hint.

We also discussed briefly the Messianic secret that is evident in the first half of the Gospel. Summary: personal prayer, real healing, and mystery. I told them we could from this first lesson spend much more time than 20 minutes examining the relationship of this short passage to the whole Scripture. I encouraged them to read the whole Gospel. Next week Ella will prepare chapter 1.

Reference: Synopsis of the Four Gospels, Greek-English Edition of the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelium, Edited by Kurt Aland (6th edition) - available in the UVIC library.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ten choices from the Gospel of Mark

Here are 10 of the sections of Mark - a set of suggestions. Each student will prepare one for one selected week. (Note you can see all the parallel passages for the section in the other gospels by finding your chosen section on this post).

Ten choices in the Gospel of Mark
  1. Healing the deaf mute, Mark 7:31
  2. Preparation for ministry, Mark 1:1 – 1:13
  3. Calling disciples, Mark 1:16
  4. Jesus and Family, Mark 3:19
  5. Herod’s opinion and the death of John, Mark 6:14
  6. Walking Trees, Mark 8.22
  7. Peter’s confession and the transfiguration, Mark 8:27
  8. The Rich Young Man, Mark 10:17
  9. The fig tree, Mark 11:11
  10. The Son of David, Mark 12:28, 12:35

A focus on Mark for the next 10 weeks

Here is an outline of Mark's gospel. After reading Hebrew, Latin should be a cinch for you all. The links will take you to my Gospel Parallels pages. Fun to look at and puzzle over.

Section Title Mark Luke Matthew John

1 Prologus 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1

13 Ioannes Baptista praecursor Domini (Autumn 27) 1.2 3.1 3.1 1.19
16 Ioannes Christum evangelizat 1.7 3.15 3.11 1.24
18 Baptismus Jesu (March 28) 1.9 3.21 3.13 1.29
20 Tentatio 1.12 4.1 4.1

30 Iter in Galilaeam (May 28) 1.14a 4.14a 4.1 4.1
32 Ministerium in Galilaea 1.14b 4.14b 4.13 4.43
34 Vocatio discipulorum 1.16
35 In synagoga Capharnaum docet 1.21 4.31

36 Daimoniacus in synagoga 1.23 4.33

37 Socrus Petri 1.29 4.38

38 Sanationes sub vesperum 1.32 4.40

39 Jesus Capharnaum relinquit 1.35 4.42

40 Per Galilaeam praedicat 1.39 4.44 4.23
42 Sanatio leprosi 1.40 5.12

43 Sanatio paralytici 2.1 5.17

44 Vocatio Levi publicani 2.13 5.27

45 Quaestio ieiunii 2.18 5.33

46 Spicae sabbato vulsae (June 28 - Galilee) 2.23 6.1

47 Manus arida 3.1 6.6

48 Sanationes ad mare 3.7

49 Electio apostolorum 3.13 6.12


116 Incredulitas suorum 3.19

117 In quo eiiciat daemonia 3.22
118 Peccatum in Spiritum Sanctum 3.28
121 Mater et fratres Jesu 3.31
122 Parabola seminantis (December 28) 4.1 8.4 13.1
123 Quare in parabolis loquantor 4.10 8.9 13.10
124 Parabola seminantis explicatur 4.13 8.11 13.18
125 Qui habet aures audiente, audiat 4.21 8.16

126 Ultro semen fructificat 4.26

128 Parabola grani sinapis 4.30
130 Sine parabola non loquebatur 4.33
136 Tempestas sedata (December 28) 4.35 8.22

137 Daemoniaci Geraseni 5.1 8.26

138 Haemorrhoissa et filia Iairi 5.21 8.40

139 Propheta in patria 6.1
142 Missio apostolorum 6.6 9.1

143 Opinio Herodis et fama Jesu 6.14 9.7 14.1
144 Mors Baptistae (January/February 29) 6.17
145 Apostolorum reversio 6.30 9.10

146 Quinque milia saturantur (Passover April 18, 29) 6.32 9.10 14.13 6.1
147 Super mare ambulat 6.45
14.22 6.16
148 Sanationes in terra Genesar 6.53
14.34 6.22
150 Manibus non lotis manducare 7.1
151 Syrophoenissa 7.24
152 Epheththa: multi aegroti 7.31
153 Quattuor milia saturantur 8.1
154 Signum de caelo 8.11
155 Fermentum Pharisaeorum 8.14 12.1 16.5
156 Caecus paulatim sanatur 8.22

Section Title Mark Luke Matthew John

158 Confessio Petri 8.27 9.18 16.13 6.67
159 Prima passionis predictio 8.31 9.22 16.21
160 Qui vult venire post me 8.34 9.23 16.24
161 Transfiguratio 9.2 9.28 17.1
162 De Elia venturo 9.11
163 Puer lunaticus 9.14 9.37 17.14
164 Altera passionis predictio 9.30 9.43 17.22
166 Discipulorum ambitio 9.33 9.46 18.1
167 Monitio tolerantiae 9.38 9.49

168 De scandalis 9.42

251 Iter in Iudaeam 10.1
252 De matrimonio et virginitate 10.2
253 Benedictio parvulorum 10.13 18.15 19.13
254 Adulescens dives 10.17 18.18 19.16
255 Foramen acus; centuplum accipiet 10.23 18.24 19.23
262 Terti passionis praedictio (in via) 10.32 18.31 20.17
263 Mater filiorum Zebedaei 10.35
264 Bartimaeus vel duo caeci 10.46 18.35 20.29

269 Ingressus triumphalis in Jerusalem (Monday) 11.1 19.28 21.1 12.12
271 Jesus in Jerusalem, Bethaniam redit 11.11
272 Ficulnea maledicta 11.12
273 Purgatio templi 11.15 19.45

274 Insidiae pontificum et scribarum 11.18 19.47

275 Filculnea arefacta 11.20
276 De potestate Jesu et baptismo Ioannis 11.27 20.1 21.23
278 Vinitores mali 12.1 20.9 21.33
280 De censu Caesaris 12.13 20.20 22.15
281 De resurrectione mortuorum 12.18 20.27 22.23
282 Maximum et primum mandatum 12.28
283 Filius David? 12.35 20.41 22.41
284 Vae Pharisaeis et scribis 12.37 20.45 23.1
286 Quadrans viduae 12.41 21.1


287 Templum evertetur 13.1 21.5 24.1
288 Signa adventus Jesu et consummationis saeculi 13.3 21.7 24.3
289 Persecutiones futurae 13.9 21.12 24.9
290 Excidium Iudaeae 13.14 21.20 24.15
291 Pseudochristi et pseudoprophetae 13.21
292 Filii hominus adventus 13.24 21.25 24.29
293 Tempus adventus: parabola fici 13.28 21.29 24.32
294 Vigilate 13.33


305 Decretum mortis 14.1 22.1 26.1
306 Unctio Bethaniae 14.3
307 A Iuda proditur 14.10 22.7 26.14
308 Cena paschalis praeparatur 14.12 22.7 26.17
310 Proditorum indicat 14.18
26.21 13.21
311 Eucharistiam instituit (Thursday April 6) 14.22 22.15 26.26
315 Iter in montem Olivarum 14.26 22.31 26.30 13.36
330 Gethsemani 14.32 22.39 26.36 18.1
331 Tenetur 14.43 22.47 26.47 18.2
332 Coram synedrio 14.53 22.54 26.57 18.13
333 Negatio Petri 14.66
26.69 18.25
334 Pontio Pilato traditur 15.1 23.1 27.1 18.28
336 A Pilato interrogatur 15.2 23.2 27.11 18.29
339 Jesus an Barabbas 15.6 23.17 27.15 18.39
341 Condemnatur 15.15 23.24 27.24 19.16
342 Spinis coronatur 15.16
343 Via ad Golgotha 15.20 23.26 27.31 19.17
344 Crucifigitur (Friday, April 7, 30) 15.22 23.33 27.33 19.17
345 In cruce blasphematur 15.27 23.35 27.38
346 Duo latrones 15.32 23.39 27.44
347 Moritur 15.27 23.44 27.45 19.28
348 Stabant iuxta crucem 15.40 23.49 27.55
350 Sepelitur 15.42 23.50 27.57 19.38

352 Mulieres ad sepulchrum 16.1 24.1 28.1 20.1
358 Recumbentibus apparet 16.14

Section Title Mark Luke Matthew John

362 Marci conclusio brevior [brevior]

363 Marci conclusio longior 16.9

Number of Pericopae = 118
Sources: Synopsis of the Four Gospels, Greek-English Edition of the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelium, Edited by Kurt Aland (6th edition).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The unforgiving servant

Today I took the older class. I was not well prepared because I did not know I was to teach till 2 minutes prior to class. But fortunately, the older students are each preparing the lessons so most of what I had to do was listen and enable. One thing I notice about Christians - they are largely unaware of the Old Testament and don't notice if it used in the Service in passages they have learned to 'take for granted'. So I asked - how many of you heard the shema in church this morning that we have sung many times before (with this group not so many but a few times)?


But we read the summary of the law as part of the service order - and it is plain and simple a full quotation of Deuteronomy 6:4-5. So with these more inhibited older kids, I started with three blind mice to get them to sing a major third and then we sang the shema and pondered a little the instructions in Deuteronomy.

Following this we heard the reading of the parable of the unforgiving servant - it's a parable. The questions the student had prepared were difficult. Does the master give unconditional forgiveness? The other students were not so sure what unconditional meant. And I realized that such an abstraction misses the point of the action-consequence in the story. Well - much to learn from this. And it was good to see their own preparation.

I will teach again in two weeks - listening this morning was good preparation for me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Parables and stuff

As the children learn parables, we adults sometimes ask about whether this is a new form with Jesus. It isn't. Not only is it frequent in the 'Old Testament' but it is especially frequent in teaching from the Talmud. These two posts on Genesis Rabbah are particularly helpful in beginning to hear the voice of Jesus within the Jewish tradition.

A snippet of his interpretation:
In this kind of midrash, the close reader oscillates between the two narratives, coupling a sense that she is gaining an increasingly coherent grasp of the midrash with a continued awareness that there are loose ends that may resist all attempts to be tied up.
Note that it is a close reading that allows grasp. To achieve a close reading we must give up our preconceived understandings and stand with the teacher and text. There is then one Spirit who will form us inwardly.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Prodigal - week 2

This morning was quite special - with lovely coincidences and beautiful resolutions of what could be difficult deliberations. The younger group was very small - two drawers and painters - but the older group was busy doing stage settings of the prodigal son so I waited. Then two more students who had no introduction to Hebrew turned up for the younger group, so I went to their class and we sang the shema and I wrote the new children's names in Hebrew and gave them a beginning handout (they were aged 7 to 8).

Then the older group were doing the older brother bit - and I had chosen to do psalm 133 with them. The scenes being over, I went to that class and we sang hineh ma tov. There are some very fine musicians in the older group quite uninhibited on trumpet or violin but not used to singing - so I asked them to dance as well and eventually got a little music and movement out of them.

The teacher told me that after I had left she had read the psalm with them in English and talked a little about the oil on Aaron's beard. She would like me to talk to them about the oil... Perhaps there will be more on this later as we learn the song. They learn the song, and we will explore the anointing in TNK.

And as for beautiful resolutions, see these posts on two powers and Psalms 90-91. Look particularly at the words dwelling place or habitation and beauty - palindromes in the Hebrew. Listen, do it, wait, hope, be. As the Lord says - I will be with him in trouble. One day I will share some of these psalms with the children.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


One class was doing the good Samaritan this morning and the older class the prodigal son. I began the class by asking the children aged 9 to 14 if any of them knew the meaning of prodigal. One answer came back 'bad'. When I suggested prodigious as  related, I was able to coax from them a sense of large, even recklessly overflowing. We then applied this 'definition' to the natural world with its abundant fruitfulness, even waste, in its prodigality.

The Hebrew I chose to illustrate prodigality of love (see the libretto for Britten's St Nicholas by Crozier) is Isaiah 49:15. My printer was not available so I handwrote the verse in reverse interlinear last night. It was colourful but a bit crooked. Handwriting Hebrew is a good exercise.  Here it is - Hashem is like a mother. (Green is for grammatical letters and the background brown showing the repeated word).
התשכח אשה עולה מרחם
hatishkàx )ishah `vulah méràxém
Does a woman forget her nursling from the womb
the child of her belly
גם־אלה תשכחנה
gàm)éleh tishkàxnah
even these may forget
ואנכי לא אשכחך
v)anoky lo) )eshkaxék 
but I, I will not forget you

There is a Hebrew parallel difficult to express in English because of the use of the infinitive for having compassion = the noun for womb. Salt for ever sacrifice! Don't believe rigidly any of my translations. I didn't point this out, but it seems to me that עולה מרחם is parallel to בן־בטנה. I did not get into the place of this promise in detail (the time of the exile - the complaint that God had abandoned his people) since I had but 5 minutes. That would apply to a different lesson - this is just on prodigality.

I did not go to the other class since they were already in session. Perhaps one class a week is all I can manage.

I could not find the libretto online but here is the critical verse: "O! he was the prodigal of love! a spendthrift in devotion to us all"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Dawn Treaders are launched

This morning we had two classes up and running both with a goodly quorum. Can one do five minutes a week with two classes?

The older class are doing parables for the next several weeks. Several of them have never had a lesson in Hebrew, so to give them just a little digging into the Old Testament, I chose Proverbs 1:6 as a verse to frame the sayings and I spelled out the word משלים (moshalim). Next week I will do more with Psalms - maybe psalm 78. The OT is full of parables, stories as parable, proverbs and dark sayings. Job, for example, is parable. Parable is not new in the NT.

In the younger class - aged 3 to 9 we sang the shema and they sang it beautifully. I am really impressed with these young voices.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Epiphany delayed

Today we did Epiphany and I got back to Sunday school after a six-week hiatus for a five minute Hebrew lesson. With several new children there I introduced the word Hallelujah as one Hebrew word that everyone would know. After my very short talk, the leader invited us to sing a Hallelujah to the tune and descant of 'Seek ye First'.

I used Psalm 117 as the introduction to this word because Psalm 117 invites all the world into the praises of the Psalter. See this post for the whole psalm. Our little wooden block book of the Psalter shows its name as תְהִלִּים Tehillim, prayers and praises. It is the largest book at 150 chapters but it contains the shortest chapter - Psalm 117.