Sunday, January 07, 2007

Teenage Sunday School: The Tabernacle and the Shadow of Heaven

I'm catching up on Sunday school lesson blogging. This is from several weeks ago. We had been studying the law of Moses and the uses of the law. Now we're turning to the bigger picture. Part of this lesson is to let the description of the Tabernacle do its job of whetting the appetite for the holy and beautiful, building desire for heaven, building the Christian desire to show some part of heaven on earth. Part of it is for enough background that they can understand the main theme of the letter to the Hebrews.
Read Exodus 25:31-40
1. Can you picture what is being described?
The lampstand for the tabernacle looked like a tree of gold with blossoms of flame. Let them think about how it looked for awhile until it's impressed on their mind. Got some comments about how lame and pathetic our church looks in comparison. Under the circumstances that's a welcome comment. Mention that we've been trying to encourage some of the artists in the church to contribute paintings or stained glasswork. Got some more comments -- a fairly savvy bunch of teenagers here -- about how our church was built by contractors for money and not by members for any better reason. I'm trying to lead them along towards considering how their talents are useful in service to God in the real world.

2. We've just talked about how beautiful it looked. Why was it built like this? Where did the idea come from?
The class is still learning that the answer to the questions is often found right in the text. I have them go re-read verse 40. This is made after a pattern shown to Moses by God.

3. If this is a pattern God showed Moses, then what does it look like, and what's it supposed to remind us of?
Heaven. (A few more gripes about how our church looks like a barn.

Read Exodus 26:30-37. Have them look for similarities between this and what was just read.
They picked up that beauty is in there again, and the pattern shown by God is there again.

Question: Some people say that the Bible is against artwork because of the Ten Commandments. Is God against artwork?
They pick up quickly that God is not against all artwork since some is commanded here, but that he is against making idols.

Read Exodus 30:22-38.
They were starting to appreciate that beauty and holiness are things to desire, things to want, things that are good. When we got to the part in 30:29 about whatever touches it would be made holy, one of the teenagers commented that he wanted some.

Read Hebrews 8:5-7, Hebrews 9:11-12, Hebrews 9:23-24, Hebrews 10:1-2
Spent the remainder of the available time reviewing how the Tabernacle and furnishings and ceremonies of the Law of Moses were a shadow of the realities to come, of Christ, the true fulfillment. This theme will be picked up in fuller strength in the next lesson on the Temple.

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