I have the joy of teaching the 2 and 3 year olds in Bible class every Sunday. I have always loved teaching this age group most of all, perhaps because it is the first thing I ever taught, my introduction into my life calling. This past Sunday I had six sweet kiddos. No one was crying and no one had a potty accident...two signs that it was a going to be a good day! As we began class, I sang a song about getting ready to go to worship on Sunday. The children were looking at the flipchart pictures and singing along to their own music. One picture in the flipchart was of several people walking into the church building and greeting their friends. A little girl in the picture had a Bible under her arm. One of my two year old girls pointed to the Bible and adamently declared, "That's a gun." I hesitated at first. Did she really just call the Bible a gun? Then she repeated it several times. I explained that it was really a Bible. The people in the pictures are taking their Bibles to worship God. She never acknowledged that it was indeed a Bible. It blew me away to think how quickly the idea of a gun came to her mind. This story has stuck with me this week because I think of my own two year old. To Miriam any book at all can be a Bible. (She's been carrying around a German dictionary for months, claiming it's a Bible!) The Bible is so familiar to her. I wonder how familiar it is to the other girl in my class?
This story hurts my heart as I wonder about her home and her experiences. It also reminds me of the the time I sat in an apartment holding a two year while he watched a horror film. No one who lived there seemed to be concerened about what he was absorbing. I feel so ready to march for world peace when I think of these children. What kind of world have we created for them? How are we making the world better, more peaceful? And, of course, it also reinforces my passion to teach even these very little ones to love the Bible. We're going to keep singing about our Bibles, holding them, patting them, hugging them, and learning stories from them. Stories about Jesus, the good shepherd, the peacemaker, the one who turns swords into plowshares.