This week I’ve aquired a variety of Play Mobil baskets so I thought we could do the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. It’s a story we know well, but I’m always amazed at how playing a story allows us to explore it and how it relates to us in new ways.
Having set out a piece of green felt on a small table, I began the story with my 3 year old, and my 5 year old joined in half way through. The story telling wasn’t perfect by any means. Not even all of it in the right order. That’s fine with me. Sometimes I read the story direct from the Bible but this time I wanted to focus on getting our random Play Mobil cast to ‘act’ the story.
I included some questions as we went along, some content questions like ‘Do you know the names of Jesus disciples?” “How many baskets did they fill with left overs?” And some wondering questions, things I actually do wonder about, like “I wonder what the child want to do with their food?” “I wonder how long it took to get all the people to sit down in groups.”
I shouldn’t have been surprised when my girls insisted the child with lunch was a girl. They know in the Bible it’s a boy, but I think this play approach allowed them to put themselves into that role, the child who met Jesus, the child who was central to Jesus’ miracle. A beautiful place to be.
Our vintage Play Mobil cast also included Robin Hood and Maid Marion and their band of (merry?!) children. Again, play allows us to bring who we like into the story. I wonder if there were other local ‘heros’ or ‘bandits’ in that crowd? How would others have felt about being put into groups to eat with such people?
And as we played, I was struck by there being 12 baskets and 12 disciples – almost like Jesus arranged for there to be a way for His closest friends to be part of the miracle. And I wondered: What did they do with all those left overs?!