Saturday Sisters: Sheep, Goats, Dorcas, and, oh yeah, Kindness

"God Gives Sharing"
  i hadn't thought i would share the VBS story here, as it's got fictional liberties taken with it (while remaining, in a larger sense, true  throughout), but there is so much here, both the real life story and the Bible story, that it needs to go here.
  In 2004, i was asked to do one of the Lesson Rooms for our VBS.  The way we did this was,
every lesson was given every night, to a single age level at a time, from 2/3 year olds to going into 5th graders.
  My story was to express "God Gives Sharing" through the parable of The Sheep and the Goats.

Yes, that was all.

  Figure out a story that worked for all those age levels from the parable, using any voice i wanted.
  i was given the assignment in like May.  Somehow i thought the parable alone wouldn't be very meaningful.
  Eventually i decided to frame it in the lives of Dorcas and her "son," Simon the Tanner, in Joppa.

Was Dorcas really the mother of Simon?

  Eh, it's not impossible.  But more likely not.  It was a story device, to get the story told.
  In my story, set several years before the events of Acts 9,  Dorcas is not yet a widow; i made up some name for her unseen husband.  Boom was Simon, who had had his bar mitzvah 3 years previously

How the lesson worked

  It began, of course, when the kids filed in to the room, decorated as our open-air roof.  i had them sit down on the floor and welcomed them.  With the older kids, i began with a 2sentence history of the noble city of Joppa, and introduced the possibilities of my husband and son joining us.
  Then i remember my manners.  They must be thirsty from their journey, and offer them a drink of cold water.
  And while supervising teachers passing out water, i i notice their scanty summer clothing.
A-a-a-a-a-a-a-h!  Good gracious child, where are your CLOTHES???

The kids got to wear Bible costumes, and enjoy cups of water, while

Boom and i, in our Simon & Dorcas personas, shared the story of Jesus.
  We told how Simon & his dad had been in Jerusalem for Pentecost three years ago.  They had been in Jerusalem that first Passover and Pentecost, the one in which Jesus was crucified & resurrected. They had heard Peter preach, and been among the first 3000 baptized.  They stayed in Jerusalem an extra month, sharing with the apostles, before returning home, and heard Matthew tell the parable of the sheep and goats.
 Here Boom and i kinda bantered (""We live in town now, but Mama grew up in the country.  She understands about sheep and goats.  I think she misses them."  "Now Simon!"  "Okay, okay.")
  We talked about the parable, and the practice of hospitality in our home ("Levi is always inviting guests in." "And Mama sews.  Not only does she take care of our family, but she takes care of anyone in town who needs clothes."  "Oh Simon."

Did the kids get anything out of all this?

  Well, it got simpler with every telling!  That may have worked out about right, since we got the kids in roughly reverse age order.
  With the preschoolers, i skipped the Dorcas story and simply showed drawings of a shepherd.  i said that if Jesus were here telling you stories, He would talk about things like puppies and sippy cups, but they didn't keep puppies and didn't have sippy cups, so He talked about what they knew.  Sheep and goats.
  My friend Lisa and her husband were leading one group of kids.  She said, when they debriefed the kids, at first they weren't too sure what the point was.  Then Lisa mentioned "kindness," and bells started going off.  Yes, kindness, and here's how we can be/are kind. . . .

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