Maybe you should play with fire?

In Zimbabwe, families often share stories around a fire. These stories can re-tell proverbial fables or remind a family of forgotten history. In The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis once wrote:

“For in Calormen, storytelling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.”

For our activity this week, let’s work on our storytelling! Plan a night this week where you can gather around a fire (or use some old paper towel rolls and yellow construction paper to make a living room campfire, but don’t forget the marshmallows!). Have everyone who is able come ready to share a story. Here are some suggested ideas:

For Parents

    1. “Did I ever tell you about the day you were born?” 

    2. “Let me tell you about the time Uncle TJ lit the backyard on fire…” (or some story from your siblings growing up)

For Kids and Everyone:

    1. Retell a Bible story in a dramatic way (David and Goliath, Daniel & Lion’s Den, or Paul & Silas are good options). 

    2. Describe the earliest time you can remember saving up money for something. What was it, did you finally get it, and was it as good as you hoped?

        [for more storytelling ideas, here is a .pdf download with 500 prompts from the New York Times]

Living Room Fire = paper towel rolls + yellow construction paper (According to recent scientific studies, if marshmallows are present, it's a real campfire).

Living Room Fire = paper towel rolls + yellow construction paper (According to recent scientific studies, if marshmallows are present, it's a real campfire).

Devotional Thought to go along with activity: 

(to be read aloud as a family)

    Storytelling is the primary way God’s people have shared the good news. In Jesus’ day, less than 1 in 10 people could read, very few people owned any books, and certainly no one could google to find out information. You might be surprised to know that even those who could read, never read silently. In fact, the first instance we know of a person reading silently is in 397 AD when Augustine describes how strange it was that Ambrose could read without moving his lips. (Check out this article from Stanford about it).  That means that most people experienced Scripture and history through shared spoken stories. One person in the Bible put it this way, “What we have heard and learned, that which our ancestors have told us, we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts.” (Psalms 78: 3,4) We need to make time in our lives to retell the amazing stories of what God has done and continues to do in our lives.  The stories that we tell remind us who we are and how we fit into God’s story.

    When we first start learning to tell a story, it can be tough. We aren’t always sure what to say, or how to make it sound interesting. But it’s an important thing to practice. There are things that God is doing in your life that will never be heard if you don’t learn to share your story! Let me start tonight by telling you about the time…” [Finish with your own story or retell a Bible Story]