Last Sunday, Kids' Harbor returned after Christmas break.
Our story was Goliath and David. In that order.
How to make Goliath big? I sent Victor an image of Goliath and asked if he could use it to make the biggest one ever. It was Saturday when I emailed him. I wasn’t sure if he could make it happen on such short notice.
Maybe I should just put on a costume and do my best to be, well, big. Tom Nussbaum is big (and he already is there in Kindergarten Bible school). Or Anson Johnson. Or Kent Graham. Or Steve Knoner. Those guys are big. I’m not, though with Kindergartners, maybe I could pass for big. It’ll be okay. And I can make my voice big. I know how to shout.
None of us, though, are the nine feet plus that Goliath was. I would make do.
Sunday morning came and Victor walked right up to me. “Where do you want Goliath?” he asked.
I walked with him to the STARS room where he was serving, and he showed me what he had come up with. It was better than I had imagined when I emailed him the request. It was big. Thank you, Victor. Thank you!
I walked the few steps from his room to our Kindergarten room with Goliath. It was early enough that not too many people saw me. It’s hard to be inconspicuous when there’s an almost-life-size Goliath under your arm.
Teacher Lorraine started the story with Samuel annointing David as king, and then came the Philistines.
Victor had made an opening in the head where I could put my face and talk to the kids from as high up in the room as I could get. I stood on the piano bench, the two-dimensional Goliath as a sort of shield between me and the kids.
I issued Goliath’s challenge to the Kindergartner Israelites. It’s easy to talk big. Even as Kindergartners, I could see the effect on them. This kind of talk was not foreign to them.
They looked around. Who would fight such a big man? We explained that Goliath was even bigger in real life than the one we had.
Then Goliath began to make fun of these little people. I would squash whoever they brought forward. Stomp on him like he was an ant. It was surprisingly easy to get into character.
And not just for me. Some of the boys laughed. Girls too. Stomping ants can be fun. Yes, we all can be Goliaths who think we are, well, bigger, stronger, better and mightier, especially when we measure ourselves against one another.
Then Gavin stepped forward as David.
His brothers didn’t want him. They looked down on him. And Saul—the armor wouldn’t even fit.
I looked through the hole in Goliath’s head down at the children, each of them looking up with a certain amount of wonder. And David looking up in a sweet certainty.
"So you just want to send a little guy like this to fight me—am I some kind of doggy you want to hit with some sticks? I am going to make you into food for birds and wild animals to eat!" And yet, still, a surprisingly amount of empathy was building for Goliath.
Again, the kids laughed. Even in their humor, though, the scale was enough to help them see and imagine how scary it must have been. Even though we were having fun, Lorraine explained, how terrifying it was when it really happened.
We had fashioned a makeshift smooth stone out of tissue and white labels.
And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, slung it and (with Tom's help) the paper stone struck the Philistine on his forehead. Goliath fell on his face to the ground.
Kindergartners are great. Their imaginations alive, their joys and sorrows not yet obscured by the restraint that we learn over the years.
And then to end with a song:
The rock hit Goliath right in the head
The stone hit Goliath and knocked him dead.
Not with a spear or a lance or a sword,
But only with a sling,
But only with a sling,
But only with a sling
And the Word of the Lord!
A pretty good morning all the way around.
Just as the children were enthralled with our cut-out Goliath, we, too, like the big. We celebrate all sorts of Goliaths. And the little David goes unnoticed or forgotten by the rest of us, who fit so comfortably into the roles of selfish brothers or Saul-like kings. And then God does what needs to be done in ways that no human strategy can muster.
It’s good to be back with the Kindergartners discovering for what seems like the first time Bible truths and missionary stories. God's Word is alive!
It wasn’t the stone. It wasn’t even David, really. It was God himself who brought down Goliath.
Let’s worship and serve and celebrate him together.