Saturday, November 23, 2013


This post links to RAnn's Sunday Snippets
At about this time every year in Wednesday Sunday School, we finish the Old Testament. Before beginning the New, we learn and review some big-picture ways to envision the Two Testaments, such as:

1. The Bible is an iceberg; the small part, the NT, is easily seen. But it's supported by the less-obvious OT. Be aware of the whole iceberg, not just what sticks out.

2. The Bible roughly divides into books written before Jesus was born; and books written after he was born. But the whole thing is about Jesus.

3. Two women personify the Testaments and their separate, but related plotlines: Eve, who freely cooperated with the Devil; and Mary, who freely cooperated with God. Every year we do a skit of sorts with two girls and analyze some sacred art featuring these two women. I always refer to the break between the Testaments as an intermission, or a hinge, and I open and shut my held-up Bible at the titlepage of the NT to make the point.

So last week I was looking at the lesson plan and thinking about the Hinge Thing, and how my Bible, the book itself, doesn't really have a literal hinge, since it "hinges" at every page. Which gave me an idea. I bought a nice, heavy 4" hinge at the hardware store with a removable pin. I needed the pin to slide in and out easily, so I filed the thick part down around the top until it did so. This Wednesday when we got to the end of the OT, we did the Iceberg Bit as usual. But then:

"Hey y'all I need two girl volunteers! Me! You aren't a girl. I want real girls. Yes, you two real girls come on down! Daughter One, stand here, and [I give her a hinge leaf] hold this in your left hand, out where we can see it. It's the leaf of a door hinge. You're the Old Testament. Daughter Two, what are you? The New Testament. Yes, and hold this leaf in your right hand..... Well? Well what? Well, do something! This is a skit! [They try to align the two hinge leaves. It's hard without the pin.] Whassamatta wit' y'all? Can't you Testaments get together? They need the stick thing! Yes, they need the pin. [I bring it out and slide it into place.] There y'all go. So tell me about them now. They make the Bible! Yes. And what is the pin? It''s Jesus! Yes, genius, the pin is Jesus. What holds the the leaves together? The pin! And all three together make...a hinge. Yes. But if I take the pin so...then it doesn't work. Yes, so in Bible terms, the two Testaments hinge upon...Jesus. Yes. OK, let me have the leaves...but don't sit down yet! Class, tell me: this girl is the...Old Testament, yes and she's...the New. Yes. But they aren't just Testaments-  they're also two particular women in the Testaments....." And we segued into item 3.

Some teaching points:

1. This is better than my old way of just telling the kids Jesus forms the hinge between the Testaments. This new way the kids have to figure it out instead of being told.

2. It's better when they figure out an abstract concept through something physical than without something physical.

3. The hinge is like a book even though it didn't come up.

4. I could also have done this by simply pointing to a hinge on the door to the classroom. But it's better to have the kids physically participate; and it's better for them to see there is no hinge unless the pin holds the leaves together.